Do you wear a mask when you go grocery store shopping nowadays?
I recently joined BJ's Wholesale Club when they opened here in Michigan in November. I used to love browsing the aisles and seeing what deals they had, as well as clipping coupons on the app or using the paper coupons they sent us.
Yesterday, I stopped by for a second—I was there getting gas anyways (88 cents per gallon!) and I really just wanted to buy some Yasso Greek frozen yogurt bars and Tyson chicken, for easy meals. 90 percent of the people there were wearing masks, but I did see a few who were not ... which, honestly, as someone with a compromised immune system, made me a bit uncomfortable. It's why I've been trying to do Kroger or Target drive-up instead of going into stores, too.
Shopping isn't "fun" anymore. It's now get in, get what you need, and get out. Quickly. And you may have to wait in line to get in to the store, also: I believe stores here can currently only utilize 20-30 percent capacity, to comply with social distancing.
Today, Michigan's governor announced that it is now mandatory to wear face masks when out in public, not including if you are walking around outside or exercising. The order says:
"The new order will require people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces." (source: WXYZ.com)
WXYZ also says:
"Per [Governor] Whitmer, people won't have to wear face coverings when they're taking a walk in the neighborhood, but when they go to the grocery store, they should be wearing one. No one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask."
Recently, some companies, including snack and bakery companies, have started making masks and even hand sanitizer to distribute. Bedford Industries, a producer of twist ties, bendable components and closures for the baking and snack industries, has "transformed part of its production facilities to create, design, develop and manufacture a new face shield to protect N95 masks to assist front-line medical workers nationwide," according to their press release.
In addition, Carnivore Meat Company, in response to the shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) nationwide, has donated the use of its ultraviolet (UV) sterilization machine to sanitize and disinfect much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line medical and public service workers throughout Northeast Wisconsin.
However ... Americans still require groceries for themselves and their families. The Toluna COVID-19 barometer revealed that Americans aren't afraid to shop-in store—a whopping 70 percent are still going to the stores, instead of shopping online. And frozen foods (65 percent) continues to top Americans' grocery lists. (those pizza rolls are hard to resist ...)
When asked about how the coronavirus lockdown measures have affected their usual shopping habits, interestingly, it was found that 18-24 year olds are much more adventurous than older Americans when it comes to trying new products, as a result of not being able to access a product or service during the pandemic. I'm not in that age group, but I've had to buy other brands lately when my preferred private label brand or product of choice was out of stock—mostly with healthcare items, but also with random things like pizza crusts, for making homemade pizzas.
Americans still need their snacks, though, and for the foreseeable future, grocery stores will continue to be open to the public, as well as offering drive-up and delivery. It's just not quite the enjoyable pre-pandemic "experience" that it used to be.