If you must go to the bank or grocery…

The usual places that we go to — store, grocery, bank, restaurant, drug store, beauty and barber shops, gym, airport, and seaport — are now places of danger, where we can possibly get infected with the coronavirus. Please remember and use these three basic principles to avoid getting the dreaded COVID-19: Refrain from touching any objects or surfaces; do not touch your face, mouth, nose, and eyes; and practice social distancing.

The best step is to stay home. If I need to go out from our house for whatever reason, to reduce my chances of getting the disease, this is what I will do.


I will have a face mask on—best is N95—before entering the bank or grocery. When I go to our bank, I will not push or open the glass door. I will signal or talk to the security guard to open it for me.

Then I will walk directly to the office of the assistant bank manager. Usually, I automatically take a seat in front of her. But this time, I will just stand in front of her at a distance of about one meter without touching or moving a chair. I will not touch any part of her table and avoid the usual customary hand-shaking.


When I am filling out the bank form for withdrawal or deposit, I will use my own pen and not the one from the bank (so remember to bring your own pen).

If I need to use the ATM for withdrawal or other services, the common way of pressing or clicking the logo for name, bank account number, and amount of money to withdraw is the tip of our right index finger.

To reduce the chances of getting droplets from the previous customer who used the machine, I will clean the screen with alcohol or disinfectant. Some banks now provide a bottle of alcohol on top of the machine. But if there is none, and I forgot to carry a bottle of alcohol or disinfectant, I will use my right flexed or bent index finger, the tip of which is touching the inside of my palm, while my right thumb is on top of my index finger. With this position, the most prominent part of my right hand becomes the second joint of the right index finger, and this is the one I will use to press or click at the necessary screen information.

Before you do your grocery, list all of the items you are buying. Buy only the most important you need for the coming week or two.

Before you get a grocery cart, take out your 70-percent alcohol or disinfectant and clean the handle.

Do not pick up any item that is not in your list, to save time.

When you fall in line at the cashier, make sure you are about six feet behind the person in front of you, and with the same distance from the one behind you.


Use your credit card if possible. However, request the staff that you yourself will swipe the card, while you let them enter the cost of your goods. You should be tearing the receipt from the machine, not the clerk. If paying by cash, use the exact amount as much as possible, so you don’t have to receive bills or coins as change.

Avoid going near another customer while searching for an item you need. When you meet a friend, practice social distancing and refrain from nonproductive chats.

If someone near you coughs or sneezes without a mask, move away at once from that person. The droplets can be airborne for a few hours.

The coronavirus is highly contagious. Stay home as much as possible. Keep healthy and be safe.

* * *

Leonardo Leonidas, MD, was assistant clinical professor in pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

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