Tips for safer shopping during the holidays

For some folks, holiday shopping is just as important as baking homemade cookies, gathering with friends and family and giving presents. And while it’s true that COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, it doesn’t have to dampen the spirit of giving. If you follow a few tips to protect yourself and others, holiday shopping can still be safe and fun.  

“The general message is get vaccinated, wear a mask, keep your distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands,” says Dr. Thomas Jeanne, Deputy State Health Officer and Deputy State Epidemiologist with Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

  • When planning your shopping, remember that outdoors is generally safer than indoors, and outdoor markets are often flush with one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts. Opt for times when markets may be less crowded, allow for physical distancing with other shoppers, and wear a mask if it makes you feel more comfortable.  
  • Planning to shop indoors? Educate yourself before you go and make a decision based on your comfort level with the risk involved. Consider the size of the store or market, the size of the crowds, the ventilation of the space and shop during hours when the store is the least busy. Crowded places present a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.  
  • If you’re thinking about scoring some Black Friday deals, anticipate crowds and being around folks who may not be vaccinated and may not be wearing masks. In those situations, it’s exceedingly important to “know your risk,” says Dr. Jeanne. “And remember that in crowded spaces with a lot of people, even those wearing masks are at a significant risk.”
  • If you don’t feel comfortable shopping indoors or outdoors, online shopping is another option.