This Is How To Stay Safe While You’re Christmas Shopping
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – until you hit a busy shopping centre. Going out to buy Christmas presents can be quite stressful, especially since we’re still in a pandemic.
The government advice on preventing coronavirus now says people should take a lateral flow test before they enter “crowded indoor spaces” that day – including shopping centres.
If you do test positive, you should stay at home and isolate. This advice has changed as we head into party season, because there are concerns of rising Covid cases over the Christmas period.
Previously, the government stated that people should take two two lateral flow tests per week, rather than specific situations like being in crowded indoor spaces.
Some experts think Covid cases will spike after the new year. Professor Tim Spector, head of the Zoe Covid app study, says that Covid cases are set to stay “fairly flat” in the run up to Christmas, but likely to increase in the New Year.
“Cases might go up in younger people before Christmas, but it’s going to take a while before it gets to the older groups. And the young and the old will mix at Christmas,” he tells HuffPost UK. “That’s what will cause probably more [hospital] admissions. So I think it’s more about the admissions rate. That will probably go up after Christmas.”
Christmas is the time for us to meet our family and reconnect with friends. But we should also prioritise the safety of ourselves and the people around us. Here’s how we can keep safe this winter whilst on the hunt for Christmas presents – before we meet up with potentially more vulnerable relatives.
Wear your mask
Wearing a mask or face covering is not currently compulsory in England, though it is still mandated in most indoor public spaces in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
While not mandatory, the current mask guidance for England states: “You are expected and recommended to continue wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet. In particular, where the risk of transmission is likely to be greater.”
Trisha Greenhalgh, professor of primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, previously stressed to HuffPost that the pandemic is ongoing and we should be protecting ourselves accordingly – including by wearing a mask.
Shopping malls during the Christmas period are extremely packed. You can play your part by maintaining a safe distance from those around you. It can be difficult to socially distance when you’re an a packed indoor space, but where you can, try and maintain a two or one metre space with others.
Try Online Shopping
With so many shopping options online, you don’t physically have to go into shops anymore. In fact, according to a survey by personal finance startup Credit Karma, more of us prefer to shop online now. The study found that about 70% of Britons tend to buy online and using their mobile phones.
Shopping centres on a Saturday afternoon in the run up to the Christmas are likely to be extremely packed. If you can, try shopping during off-peak hours such as a Tuesday morning. If you’ve got annual leave that needs using up, put it to good use. You’ll be able to socially distance and avoid those hefty Christmas queues.
Book your vaccine and booster jab
By now, you’ve probably heard that getting your vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against coronavirus. Do not delay getting a jab – or your booster shot if you’re over 40 and eligible. The last day to get a booster and have full protection by Christmas is December 11.