This is how to keep yourself and others safe on a trip to the supermarket

Social distancing rules demand keeping your distance from others - but this can be tricky when you're out shopping for food and other supplies.

Luckily, there are easy ways you can keep yourself and others safe at supermarkets in order to minimise the risk of viral transmission. You should also follow any advice or guidelines set out by the supermarket you're visiting.

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Keep your distance

Wherever you go, whether it's to the supermarket, the pharmacy or for a daily walk, you should always maintain a distance of two metres between yourself and others - with the exception of other household members.

Some supermarkets have begun to use cones and markings on the floor, directing customers to stand two metres apart in queues outside shops and by tills. You should utilise these to maintain your distance.

Other businesses are limiting the number of people allowed in-store, so if you are waiting in a queue, be sure to remain two metres apart.

While shopping, wait your turn to pick items from the shelf. Avoid reaching over people or getting too close to them in the aisles.

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When you're paying for your shopping, you should also try to keep your distance from staff and pay with contactless. Many supermarkets now have a 'contactless only' rule and have put up physical barriers to keep staff and shoppers safe at tills.

Bring your own cleaning supplies, or utilise any offered in-store

You probably won't be able to avoid touching some things in-store, such as a pin pad or trolley.

If you have your own antibacterial wipes or hand gel, you can bring these along to the shop to wipe down something like a basket handle before touching it. After shopping, you can use the sanitiser to clean your hands before washing them thoroughly at home.

Many supermarkets have introduced their own cleaning regimes and are offering hand sanitiser in-store, so if you don't have your own, make use of this.

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When you get home from your trip, you should wash your hands thoroughly before touching anything else. Unless your hands are clean, you should not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

Shop alone

New guidance states that unless absolutely necessary - if you're a single parent, for instance - you should shop by yourself.

Shopping alone means there will be fewer people in the supermarket, making social distancing easier for everyone and reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Only pick up what you need or intend to buy

Only buying what you need is vitally important to ensure there's enough food for everyone and that shelves can stay stocked.

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As well as this, it's important to only physically handle the things you are purchasing, to avoid putting others in contact with the virus - you may be carrying it without knowing.

Respect dedicated shopping hours

If your local supermarket has implemented designated shopping hours for the elderly, vulnerable or NHS workers, it's important to respect these and avoid going to the supermarket during these times - they're designed to keep people safe.

If you are a vulnerable person yourself, try to use supermarket delivery services where possible. Some stores and companies are offering dedicated services for people who fall into this category.

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