Tips for Grocery Shopping during COVID-19 Pandemic

How to plan, prepare, and shop during the COVID-19 Pandemic

While you may feel anxious and uncertain about the pandemic, there is no need to panic and rush to purchase and stockpile supplies. Many of us are confused with how and when to grocery shop and what to buy.

Grocery stores are public spaces. If you have been asked to self-isolate or if you are feeling unwell, please stay home and avoid all public spaces.  If you have been asked to self-isolate, this means that you will need a friend, family member, neighbour, or delivery service to get your groceries for you until your isolation period is done.

There are several grocery stores and meal programs that will deliver foods to your home.  Please visit for more details.

If you are feeling well and have not traveled outside the country, you can shop at local stores.  You may also consider asking your older neighbour or relative if they would like help in getting groceries.

Remember, before and after grocery shopping, wash your hands and bring hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol if you have it.


Here is some advice on how to grocery shop. 

  1. There is no need to stockpile. Fortunately, in Canada our food supply chain is one of the strongest in the world.  In a statement put out by the Ontario government, they are committed to ensuring Ontarians can access healthy and nutritious foods.  There are no plans to stop the supply of products to meet food related needs.


  1. Practice normal grocery buying habits. If you normally go once a week then continue with this schedule.  If you go several times a week, you could plan to buy a week’s worth of food and supplies instead, to prevent having to go out in public more often.  Social distancing does not mean we cannot go to stores if we are feeling well. Reducing the amount of time we are in public spaces and in crowds is key.


  1. Go during non-peak times. If your schedule allows for it, shopping during off-peak times gives greater distance between you and other shoppers.  Shopping during off-peak hours when stores aren’t crowded further reduces your risk of exposure to viruses.  We’ve all become familiar with a term called social distancing. This is where you want to keep 2 meters away from others.


  1. You may consider disinfecting the grocery cart. Many businesses including grocery stores have ramped up their disinfecting procedures.  If you have a disinfectant wipe with you, it is good hygiene practice to clean the handle of the shopping cart.  When in public spaces, avoid touching your face, and sneeze and cough into your elbow.  As soon as you can, wash your hands.  Here is a resource to help keep you and your family healthy.


  1. Consider purchasing nourishing and less-perishable foods. Here are some suggested items:


Canned beans and lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, canned meat such as tuna and salmon

  • Nut butters and nuts
  • Pasta, quinoa, rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread
  • Soup Stock
  • Eggs
  • Margarine, Butter, cheese, and yogurt
  • Frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Longer lasting produce such as citrus fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, squash, onions
  • Meat like turkey, ground beef, chicken, fish
  • Tofu
  • Vinegars and Olive oil, canola oil
  • Spices like chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, dried oregano, dried tarragon.
  • Many of these items can be frozen.


  1. There is no need to stock up on bottled water. Municipal tap water is a safe source for water.


  1. Healthy eating gives you the nourishment your body needs. A healthy diet pattern that meets Canada’s Food Guide recommendations does not need additional vitamins and minerals or supplementation.


If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, visit our Chatham Kent Public Health’s website at or email