(An empty meat counter at local store.)
Concerns about the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has confirmed that more of us are doing what we should have been doing all along — washing our hands thoroughly and more frequently; staying at home when sick; stocking up on food and supplies in case that stay becomes extended.
If you have been exposed to the COVID-19 or get sick from the virus, you are now asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. If you have travelled internationally, the government is requesting that people return to Canada immediately and then self-isolate for a two-week period. These moves requested by the Canadian government have led many people to panic shop as they wonder — could they manage for two weeks at home without a trip to the local grocery store.
Stocking up shouldn’t mean panic-buying cases of toilet paper at the nearest warehouse store. Common sense should tell you that retaining a reasonable supply of canned goods, dry goods and other supplies in your pantry for all kinds of emergencies is more logical.
One local businessman, Phil Sweetnam, told Stittsville Central, “on Thursday at 4:50 p.m. Brown’s YIG was very busy. There was a line-up at every cash register and the line for the self-serve checkout extended past the pharmacy. I spoke with one of the experienced employees and they said that they were never this busy, even at Christmas! When I arrived there were only 4 shopping carts available. When I left 10 minutes later there were none, and there was someone who was rather grateful to take my cart when I was leaving.”
A compensating factor is that Brown’s new Flash Food system that provides reasonable prices on soon-to-expire items allows for online payment. It saved Phil a lot of time using this service, and Brown’s will not have to dispose of as much out-of-date food.
It is important for the residents of our community to not hoard items not needed. You can spend a small fortune on N95 masks, for example, but those are better reserved for the health care workers treating patients who become sick. On-line companies are now monitoring those purchasing large quantities of antibacterial products and masks with an outright ban on those trying to do so. Don’t hoard for the sake of having these products and food goods on hand. This is both a waste of money and food. Think of others who may require the same products you are purchasing and the impact this may have on their lives.
You would be better to approach the situation by creating a two-week supply of food based on products and recipes that you know you will eat — start by using what you already have that is closer to its expiration date. Sit down and choose two-weeks’ of meals to prepare, including breakfast, lunch and dinner and don’t forget snacks. Do your shopping and store – the stores will continue to fill their shelves. Also keep broth, herbal teas, icy treats and electrolyte drinks on hand in case you do become ill. The alternative of restaurant meals is readily available, but can become costly in the long run.
Use this approach for all necessities – hand soap, disposable facial tissues, toilet paper, diapers, pet food and litter, household surface cleaner, laundry and dish detergent, and hygiene supplies. Keep at least a two-week supply on hand after figuring out how much your family may require.
Regularly check your prescription drug supply, and keep nonprescription drugs and medical supplies on hand. These can include pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, and vitamins.
We will get through this, hopefully healthy, but in the interim think of others by assisting those who are sick or infirmed and don’t forget to put aside a little bit extra that you can donate to the Stittsville Food Bank for those in need.
Make sure you thank our paramedics, fire fighters, police, nurses and doctors who are performing incredibly on the front lines as they interact with the public daily and, no doubt, are exposed to COVID-19.
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