Pandemic precautions – what to do if you have to leave the house

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many of us are having to rethink how we go about everyday activities such as going shopping, commuting to our place of work or keeping an appointment with our GP. Understandably, this is causing confusion and concern amongst many of our patients so we’ve pulled together a helpful guide for those of us who need to leave the house. 

In what circumstances can I leave my house?

As per the current government coronavirus guidance you should only leave home for the following reasons:

  1. Shopping for necessities such as food and medicine, as infrequently as possible. 
  2. For any medical need including donating blood, providing essential care to a vulnerable person or escaping from the risk of injury or harm.
  3. Exercising (e.g. a run, walk or cycle) once a day, either alone or with members of your household.
  4. Commuting for the purposes of work but only when it cannot be done from home.

Anything outside of these parameters could be considered as an infringement of the guidance and under new police powers, you may be liable to a fine. 

A guide to shopping during the pandemic

As the virus is spread through small cough droplets, going shopping and mixing with others could expose you to an increased risk of catching the virus. Bearing that in mind, here’s what you should do when you have to get your essentials during the pandemic.

  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds before leaving the house and after you’ve returned home. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
  2. As surfaces may be contaminated, avoid touching your face after using a shopping trolley/basket or touching packages and produce.
  3. When paying, use a contactless method if possible.
  4. Maintain a distance of at least 2 metres between you and other shoppers and staff.

Use online services where possible 

The government guidance asks us to leave our houses as infrequently as possible. This responsibility requires that we all review our everyday practices in order to reduce the risk of inadvertently spreading the coronavirus. One potential solution is to use online services which can deliver essential food and medicine to your door. Many supermarkets and an increasing number of local food businesses have a home delivery service; and Pharmacy2U can deliver your prescription medicines direct to your home for free.   

Phil Day By Phil Day Superintendent Pharmacist Published 20/04/2020