Shropshire Council

Safe shopping advice during the pandemic

Confused about the different information on how to shop safety during the Covid-19 pandemic? Our Health Protection and Trading Standards teams have put together a simple guide to help.

Grocery shopping

Don't go out if you're suffering symptoms of Covid-19 infection. Self-isolate and stay at home in accordance with NHS guidance.

Covid-19 is a respiratory illness and isn't transmitted through food. When you go out to undertake essential grocery shopping our top tips are:

  • Buy groceries infrequently. We encourage a maximum of one shop a week and try to go at quieter times. If possible, use online grocery deliveries or click and collect
  • Wash your hands when you leave home and immediately upon your return. This should be with soap and water for at least 20 seconds in accordance with NHS guidelines. If you have hand sanitiser take it with you, but this doesn't replace the need to wash your hands with soap and water. Gloves aren't necessary if you wash your hands
  • Wear a mask or face covering over your mouth and nose in enclosed spaces (such as shops, shopping centres and supermarkets, and when using public transport)
  • Always maintain the two-metre social distancing rule and don't touch your face
  • Try to only touch items you're going to purchase using one hand only
  • Pay by contactless methods where possible
  • It's not necessary to disinfect food or packaging when you get home but do remember to wash your hands
  • Smile (even when wearing a mask) - a random act of kindness always helps

For full details on how to shop safely the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has produced a detailed guide to safe shopping.

Takeaway food

Food takeaway businesses are permitted to trade. We've issued guidance to food takeaways in Shropshire to help them undertake this safely; however, you can do your bit too. Our top tips include:

  • Order online or by telephone and arrange delivery if possible.
  • Don't order food from a takeaway if you're suffering symptoms of Covid-19 infection.
  • Pay by card wherever possible.
  • Ensure social distancing takes place between you and food delivery staff at all times.
  • If it's necessary to go to a takeaway, comply with any rules in place. Maintain social distancing at all times with other customers and staff. It may be necessary to have staggered collection times. Avoid the use of cash if possible.
  • Check the food hygiene rating of the business.
  • Make any allergen requirements very clear when you order.

Online shopping

To promote staying at home and preventing non-essential travel, many people are purchasing more goods online. For some, this is a new experience. Here are our top tips to ensure that you stay safe whilst shopping:

  • Only buy from trusted traders to prevent falling victim to non-delivery scams. Look for a https:// secure connection on websites.
  • Know your rights. You have more rights when buying online. For most goods, there is a 14-day cooling off period from when you receive the goods.
  • Check terms of delivery as they are likely to be different during this time.
  • Check product reviews; however, don’t take them all to be genuine as fake reviews are out there. Be circumspect when considering the content of reviews.
  • Pay by credit card for extra protection when purchases are over £100.
  • Be wary of goods that may be unsafe or counterfeit.

More information is available from Which? and on our website.

Advice about how to resolve problems that occur as a result of shopping online, or to report concerns to Trading Standards about suspected illegal trading activities or unfair business practices, whether online or in business premises, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

For advice on food-related matters, or to report business closure rules or social distancing concerns taking place in Shropshire, contact Shropshire Council direct on 0345 678 9067 (option3) or by email to