CLEVELAND — While many places of business are closed throughout Ohio in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, grocery stores remain a hub of activity as an essential service.
But should you be taking extra precautions -- like wearing gloves -- while shopping at your local grocery store?
3News' senior health correspondent Monica Robins asked Dr. Elie Saade of University Hospitals for his expert advice.
"If you’re pushing your cart with gloves and then you put the gloves on your mouth, that doesn’t help, right?" Dr. Saade said. "The most important thing to remember is you should not touch your face. I know it’s difficult, but you really should not."
So are gloves necessary?
"Washing hands is very efficient," he continued. "Hand sanitizers are very efficient at killing the virus. I’m not saying do not wear gloves, but wearing gloves doesn’t help if you then touch your face.”
When returning home, it's also important to wash your hands after putting the groceries away and cleaning any surfaces -- like tables and counters -- where the products had made contact.
But what about those fresh fruits and vegetables you just bought? Are there any special precautions you should take with those un-packaged foods others may have handled at the store?
Dr. Shanu Agarwal of Summa Health said it's important -- as always -- to properly wash off all produce before it's consumed.
"They could transfer it if people who are buying the produce are not washing their produce before they’re eating it. I’m assuming most people are, and they definitely should be washing the produce."
The FDA cited the CDC earlier this week to note one of the the key safety precautions concerning coronavirus is keeping proper distances from others.
"To prevent spread of COVID-19, CDC is recommending individuals employ social distancing or maintaining approximately 6 feet from others, when possible," the FDA posted on their site. "In food production/processing facilities and retail food establishments, an evaluation should be made to identify and implement operational changes that increase employee separation."
Grocery stores in Northeast Ohio like Giant Eagle and Acme have added additional enhancements to help with that separation, including the installation of plastic barriers at checkout lines to physically distance cashiers from customers.
"The risk of an employee transmitting COVID-19 to another is dependent on distance between employees, the duration of the exposure and the effectiveness of employee hygiene practices and sanitation," FDA officials said. "When it’s impractical for employees in these settings to maintain social distancing, effective hygiene practices should be maintained to reduce the chance of spreading the virus."
If you really want to avoid going to the grocery store altogether, you can always do curbside pickup or have them delivered to your front door.