People crowding grocery stores still need to practice social distancing


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Doctors warn that going out can not only put you in danger, but others too.  

All of the entertainment venues and a lot of small businesses are closed during this time.  But a lot of the big box grocery stores remain open for people to purchase essential items.  

But how can you really practice social distancing when everyone is going inside the same place?

“I had to come get some paper towels.  What I couldn’t get at Walmart I got over there at Aldi.  I came to [Bobby Jones] Walmart and I got some body wash for my husband because we’re running low,” said Donna Cook, of Augusta.

It was a packed parking lot at the Bobby Jones Walmart where shoppers such as Donna Cook flocked inside as safely as they could.

“I was doing the 6 foot.  I was hurrying up and getting my stuff because I have to be on the safe side,” she said.

Also full, the Kroger on Washington Road in National Hills.  One shopper there said she’s not the one constantly crowding up the aisles for no good reason.  Her mission was for a purpose.

“I’ve been locked in my house diligently for two weeks because the place I work at closed down,” said Brittany Neuciler.  “I got four kids and they ate everything in the house. So, I’m just here to stock up on essentials and go home.”

And some people purchased those needed items.  That’s understandable.  But we chatted with AUMC’s Dr. Philip Coule to see just what can happen when we all hit up the grocery store at the same time.

“I just patiently wait for someone to move before I go into that space. And if they are loitering there, I’ll even say excuse me can I just reach in here.  Most people are very respectful and back up and understand that you’re trying to keep that distance,” Dr. Coule said.

Dr. Coule also suggest cleaning your hands after touching self check out screens.  But he warns against just going to the store because you are bored. That unnecessary exposure can be dangerous to you as well as those around you. Someone carrying the virus can be infectious for one to two days before becoming ill.

“They feel fine today.  They go to the grocery store and if they aren’t careful, the elderly person that they coughed on or sneezed on, they next day they become ill, they’ve already infected that person who is very vulnerable,” he said.

So, if you need to go shopping, go.  Just take hand sanitizer.  And if you wear a mask, know that you need to do it properly and could be taking them away from the medical community.  Most importantly, be patient.

Neuciler said she is complying.

“I tried to give everyone their space and just waited,” she explained.  “I’ve got all the time in the world.  My job is shut down for another month.  If it takes me another 20 minutes inside to give people their space I’m cool with that.”

Dr. Coule said when you can, purchase your items online and then go and pick them up.  A lot of stores are offering that option.  Walmart, Kroger and even Walgreens where you can go through the drive thru pharmacy to purchase your items. 

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