How to safely run errands during a pandemic

I get it: at some point, you need to leave your room to run essential errands. We’ve all got to do it. But before you head out the door, here’s what you need to know about the risk.

Low Risk

Low Risk – Contactless Delivery  

Getting your essential needs delivered right to your home or residence hall room puts you at the lowest risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.  

Order food for contactless delivery or try cooking a meal at home. Some businesses in the Winona community offer contactless delivery–mostly pizza and sandwich joints. 

You can also order essential needs online through Amazon or other stores. Winona businesses like Target, Hy-Vee, and Menards will deliver whatever right to your door. 

Pay for items virtually through an online shop or order. Before ordering food to be delivered, consider ordering food online and paying by card to make the most of your contactless delivery. 

Also use online banking whenever possible. Several banks and credit unions have apps that let you make transfers and deposit checks into your accounts. 

Get medications delivered to you by a pharmacy. Goltz, Winona Clinic, and Hy-Vee Pharmacies are all local Winona businesses that will deliver your medications to you. 

You may be wondering, what about getting gas? Well, you can’t order this online unfortunately. 

Pump gas into your car while wearing a mask. Remember to wipe down the pump button and handles and sanitize your hands before and after filling up your vehicle. It’s best to pay at the pump with a cardWash your hands once you return home, too.

Moderate Risk

Moderate Risk – Curbside Pick-Up & Drive Thru’s 

Pick up food from a restaurant or get food from a drive thru. Several businesses in the Winona area have adapted to COVID-19 by offering carry out meals. Call ahead to your favorite restaurants and order food to-go! 

You can also use curbside pick-up when shopping for essential needs. Super stores like Walmart, Target, and Hy-Vee have online ordering available to be picked up. Curbside pick-up can help you save money by filling up your online shopping cart and seeing the total before checking out. 

If you do need to pay for your essential needs in persontry using contactless forms of payment. Many credit cards now have contactless payment capabilities where you can just tap and go. Check with your bank to see what’s possible. Also remember to sanitize your hands before and after payment.  

Use pharmacy drive-thru’s to pick up your medications. Local pharmacies like Walgreens and Hy-Vee offer drive-thru prescription medication services. 

Use bank ATMs when you need to deposit or get cash. Carry disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer with you when going out for essential needs, so you’re able to disinfect the ATM machine and buttons and sanitize hands before and after use. Remember to wash your hands once you return to your home. 

Higher Risk

Higher Risk – Outdoor Dining & Shopping  

Many Winona restaurants offer outdoor dining options. Eating outdoors provides the most amount of air ventilation and space from others. In other words, it’s safer to eat physically distanced and away from others.  

Pro Tip: Support our local Winona businesses by ordering food for carryout and walking to the Leeve Park or Lake Winona for a delicious meal with a great view. 

Get some fresh produce from local farmers and businesses by attending the Winona Farmers Market every Saturday morning. With a large variety of produce and canned and baked goods, you’ll want to buy it all.  

Remember to wear a mask, bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to sanitize your hands after visiting each vendor, and a reusable bag to shop more sustainably during the pandemic. 

Highest Risk

Highest Risk – Indoor Dining & Shopping 

Sometimes, you’re not able to get all your essential needs from an online order or delivery.  

Eating indoors will put you at the highest risk compared to the other options above. The reason for this is because there will be several people sitting indoors, without masks on to eat their food, with minimal air ventilationfor longer periods of timesome meals may last up to an hour.  

Drinking indoors at a bar or attending a party will also put you at the highest risk. Alcohol is notoriously known for impairing judgement. Adapting to the new normlike wearing a mask and sanitizing your hands often becomes more difficult once you have some liquor in your system.  

If you need to go into a store to get your essential needs, remember to always wear a mask and keep it on for the entirety of your shopping trip. Wearing a mask is most effective when paired with effective hand washing or sanitizing, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and physical distancing 

Sanitize your hands before entering the store, disinfect your cart or shopping basket, and follow in-store signage directing the flow of traffic. Remember to sanitize your hands after payment and wash them when you return home.   

Pro Tip: If you want to be even more cautious, clean your car with a disinfectant spray once returning home and wipe down your groceries with a sanitizing wipe.

Another key factor in protecting yourself is limiting the amount and duration of interactions you have with others. Make a shopping list before you go to the store to decrease the amount of time spent there.   

Also try to limit your outings to only going to one store at a time–in other words, try to get all your essential needs from one store instead of stopping at multiple 

Paying in person with cash puts yourself at the highest risk compared to paying virtually or another form of contactless paymentor even paying with a card. This is because cash circulates more and travels faster than you may think.  

Always remember to sanitize your hands before and after paying with cash and getting change back. 

These tips are especially helpful if you are in isolation or quarantine.  

If you are isolating on- or off-campus, you need to get your essential needs virtually and for delivery. Follow the guidance in the low risk category.   

If you are quarantining, you can get your essential needs for delivery or pickup. If that’s not possible, follow the guidance from the higher risk categories on ways to keep yourself and others safe.  

Trust me, in the beginning of the pandemic none of us thought this deeply about the best ways for getting our essential needs. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing new methods to get your essentials while adapting to the new norms of shopping during a pandemic.

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Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson graduated in 2020 with a degree in Art: I-Design. As a student, she worked with the University Marketing & Communications team as a writer and photographer. She was hired after graduation to support public health communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.