The holidays are just around the corner and one thing’s for sure: everybody’s going shopping. Even amidst the pandemic, stores are still stocking up their shelves and decorating their windows. Not to mention, they’re also offering deep discounts and special promotions to lure in customers. So, if you’re hitting the malls, then read on to get tips on how to stay safe and healthy while shopping.
Mask up – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that everyone wear a mask when going out especially in public and crowded areas. This mandate is based on research that shows various individuals can have COVID without showing any symptoms. So, whether you’re in Chicago, West Virginia, or wherever you might be, you should always wear your mask regardless of your risk factor.
Go early and shop smart – It’s better to go shopping early so you can get the best items at the store. If you’re a senior citizen, then you can check if the stores have senior hours so you can shop in a clean and less crowded space. You can also bring a paper list to avoid touching your phone repeatedly and possibly spreading germs on it.
PRO TIP: Organize your shopping list aisle by aisle using a store map or app. If possible, leave your children at home so you can shop faster and prevent them from getting exposed to the virus.
Bring sanitizers or disinfectant wipes – Several establishments have disinfectant wipes or wipe down their shopping carts for their customers. However, it’s still wise to bring your own wipes in case you need to disinfect the cart yourself. Don’t forget to sanitize your hands as you get back to your vehicle to go home.
Go cashless – You can use your credit card instead of paying cash but remember to use hand sanitizer after touching the pin pad. There are also mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay or if the store has its own payment app, then you can use it. Be sure to give the cashier or bagger enough space too for their safety. You can also use a cloth/ reusable bag but you must wash it after using it.
Observe social distancing – Always keep a 6-foot distance as best as you can in the aisles and at the register. Be aware of other shoppers and try to take the items you touch in the store.
Use gloves properly – If you decide to wear gloves, then dispose of them after use. Here is the proper way of removing gloves:
Grab the band at the wrist using your other hand and make sure that the gloved fingers don’t touch your skin.
Pull the glove up over your hand and fingers and turn it inside out as you remove it.
Wash your hands after removing the gloves. If you can’t find a sink, then use a hand sanitizer instead.
Many are still looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas even amidst the ongoing pandemic. In fact, there are some people who are already shopping for gifts. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you follow the health protocols then you can shop to your heart’s content.
Holiday Parking Safety Tips for Drivers
Focus on driving. Your main focus should be on parking lot safety, not finding a great parking spot.
Keep it moving. Follow traffic signs inside the parking lot and avoid sudden stops, which could get your vehicle rear-ended. If you do stop, scan for pedestrians and cars before you accelerate.
Park farther away.Areas close to the store are typically the most congested. Parking farther away will also decrease the odds that someone is waiting for your spot when you get to your vehicle. Just make sure the area is well-lit if you are shopping at night or early in the morning. In fact, the further you park from the store, the less likely you will find door dings and scratches on your vehicle from adjacent vehicles.
Back into spots.Backing out of a parking spot is difficult and can be dangerous, especially when you’re between two large vehicles. Each year, about 50 pedestrians are killed when drivers back up in parking lots and parking garages, according to the National Safety Council. Backing into a spot can make it easier and safer when it’s time to leave.
Avoid road rage. Incessant honking, yelling and spot stealing are all very aggravating but try not to let your emotions get the better of you. Don’t escalate a frustrating situation because you never know what the other driver will do. Be tolerant and forgiving and remember that the best “revenge” against someone who is driving aggressively is not to respond or engage.
Holiday Parking Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Make yourself visible.About 75% of pedestrian traffic fatalities occur when it’s dark outside, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wear bright clothing and walk in well-lit areas if you’re shopping early or at night. Before crossing in front of a vehicle, try to make eye contact with the driver so you know he or she can see you.
Ignore your phone.Keep your cellphone – and anything else that could be considered a distraction – in your pocket.
Pick safe spots.Walk on sidewalks and use crosswalks whenever possible. If you need to walk in the road, walk facing traffic. Do not dart across the street wherever you feel like it. Becoming a West Virginia pedestrian accident statistic is not on anyone’s list of things to do this Christmas!
The best gift you can give this Holiday Season is to look out for and care for others’ safety as well as your own personal safety!
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.