Holiday Shopping In Stores Can Be Risky As Pandemic Continues

Your risk of catching the virus depends on the situation, but medical professionals want to remind everyone to be aware that COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly throughout the Northland.

DULUTH, Minn. – There might be the one gift you can’t find online, or maybe going to a store to purchase a gift is more convenient, but health experts are cautioning people to be aware of the COVID-19 risks when you are out among crowds.

Any time a person goes shopping in public settings, there is a chance you will encounter a person carrying the coronavirus.

Your risk of catching the virus depends on the situation, but medical professionals want to remind everyone to be aware that COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly throughout the Northland.

“I would assume you are infected and I would assume that everyone else you are around is also infected because many are asymptomatic. Not having symptoms is higher in younger people, but it’s definitely out there. You could be spreading the virus yourself or somebody is spreading to you,” said Dr. Cathy McCarty, the associate dean for research at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus.

Health experts say they are not discouraging shopping in stores, but promoting shopping at businesses with strong safety guidelines.

“Grocery stores have been doing this for a while where they have one way in the aisles and smaller stores, some are limiting the number of people coming in at a time,” said McCarty.

The Holiday Market at Dovetail Café and Marketplace in Duluth is one example of a socially distanced shopping experience.

Only four vendors are allowed each day, and only a certain number of people are permitted into the market at a time.

Many shoppers remain comfortable visiting stores.

A lot of them have changed their routines to stay as safe as possible when venturing out.

“Be intentional about it. Know what you want ahead of time. Respect other people’s and not going out just to meander and look. A space like Dovetails Cafe and Marketplace might be better than going to a large store like target, where everyone is meandering together,” said Jennifer Krussow, a shopper.

It is recommended to always maintain a six-foot distance from others during activities like shopping and to properly wear your mask.

Research has shown it is best to keep your face coverings over both your mouth and nose for better protection.

Health experts still recommend shopping online whenever possible to limit your potential exposure to COVID-19.

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