At the start of the pandemic, many people had little choice but to order food and other pet essentials online. Now that restrictions have started easing up, many are considering returning to their normal routines by in-store shopping. 

Without a tried and tested vaccine, the pandemic is far from over. Even as lockdown is slowly being lifted and businesses are reopening, there is still risk to going to a local pet store. So the question is: should you start in-store shopping in pet stores?

Are Pet Stores Open?

Fortunately, the government recognizes that pet food and medicines are essential services. As such, many pet stores have remained open throughout the lockdown, often limited to curbside pickup.

We still suggest that you check for online announcements to confirm if your neighborhood store is up and running. While the government has allowed pet stores to open, the decision to do so still lies with the owner. 

Checking online is also helpful to know the precautions the pet store is imposing to limit the spread of the virus. For example, some may have a “no face mask, no service” policy. Others may strictly adopt the curbside pick-up model, where customers can order their items which will then be handed over to them by staff outside the store. 

Pet grooming was not available in many states during the first few weeks of the pandemic, but more and more pet stores have started offering this service again. Check the website or social media pages of the pet store you plan on visiting to see if grooming is available, and to understand the protocol they require customers to abide by.

Can You Shop Safely In An Open Pet Store?

While businesses and people are learning how to shop safely and taking precautions, the fact remains that the pandemic is still affecting many parts of the country. 

The degree of danger varies greatly between states. However, it is safe to say that any activity that brings you in proximity to other people carries an inherent risk.

 How to Shop Safely When In-Store Shopping

While the risk is always there, there are ways to minimize it. If you have little choice but to go out for your pet’s needs, you can shop safely in-store by taking the following precautions:

  1. Wear a mask. Make sure that the mask you are using offers protection against droplets from other people and is able to contain droplets released by you. Make sure that your mask covers both your mouth and nose! 

  2. Observe social distancing at all times. Maintain a distance of at least six feet from people, whether shopping inside or picking up your pet food outside at the curb. 

  3. Don’t touch items unless you plan to buy them. Studies show that the virus may live on surfaces. However, how long it remains infectious outside the host and on different kinds of surfaces is not yet clear. As a precaution, simply avoid touching anything that you don’t need to touch.

  4. Sanitize purchases before using them. Once you’ve returned home, make sure to wash your hands, and sanitize the item you bought. There are a number of ways to sanitize objects, but rinsing it with water and soap is a simple and effective way.

Alternatives to In-Store Shopping

Despite physical stores opening up, many people are still hesitant about in-store shopping when it comes to pet stores.

Open Farm allows you to shop at your comfort level. For those who prefer online shopping, you can order here. Rest assured that we follow strict sanitation procedures for deliveries of online purchases! 

Having items delivered involves less interaction with others as compared to going to a pet store. If your neighborhood pet store does not have an online shopping portal, you can call them to ask if you can order directly from the store and if they have delivery or curbside pick-up options. You can find and support your local independent pet store here.