Coronavirus: Are Reusable Shopping Bags Safe?

Shopping bags

As we continue to battle the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19, The Doctors help answer a question that could impact your next trip to the grocery store: is it still safe to bring my reusable shopping bag?

Read: Coronavirus: Should You Clean Packages, Groceries, Take-Out Containers?

Some states and cities have banned the use of these types of bags along with certain grocery store chains in an effort to cut down on possible ways of transmitting the virus.

Marion Nestle, a food studies, nutrition and public health professor at NYU, explained why leaving your reusable bags at home could be safer for everyone, telling HuffPo, "The single greatest risk factor for COVID-19 is getting within breathing distance of someone who is carrying the virus. The next greatest is touching a surface they’ve touched recently. In this situation, the theoretical risk goes both ways. The grocery store runs the risk that your bag is contaminated and the checkout clerk will touch it, pick up the virus and pass it on. You run the risk that the checkout clerk is a carrier and touches the bag you take home. Wasting some bags seems like a small price to pay for peace of mind.”

Read: Is Take Out Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Reusable bags have also reportedly been shown to potentially carry a slew of different types of bacteria, including E. Coli and fecal matter. Now is a great time to give your bags a rest and a clean! HuffPo recommends wiping bags down with disinfectant wipes after each use or spraying with a solution of 4 teaspoons of unscented bleach for every 4 cups of water, or if you have fabric bags -- wash and dry at the hottest temperature available and consider adding bleach to the washing machine.

As always, practice social distancing while grocery shopping and make sure to properly wash and dry your hands after returning from the store and unpacking your goods.  

Get more helpful resources, tips, advice and news on coronavirus/COVID-19 from The Doctors.

*Stay informed on the latest information on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization and learn about prevention methods and what to do if you are infected.

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