Local News

Getting groceries via apps becomes more popular during coronavirus outbreak

Posted March 18, 2020 6:44 p.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2020 5:11 p.m. EDT

— Even in normal times, some people want to steer clear of grocery stores.

They pay for someone like James McKenney, a shopper for Shipt, to do their shopping.

In the coronavirus pandemic, things are not normal.

McKenney said has been three times busier than usual.

Some customers ask that he drop the shopping bags at their doors, “which is fine by me,” he said. “Keeps us both safe.”

McKenney said he and other Shipt shoppers wash their hands before and after every shopping trip.

Ben Chapman, a food safety expert at North Carolina State University, said food and food packaging are not likely culprits for infecting us with COVID-19.

“As we know right now, we have not identified either food or food packaging as a risk of transmission,” he said.

“Although it might be there, actually moving the virus off a package to my hand and then to my face has a really, really low likelihood,” he added.

Chapman advises washing all produce and washing your hands after handling food packaging, which he recommends during normal times.

One of McKenney’s customers, the Ford family in Cary, hasn’t left their house since Friday except for walks in the neighborhood.

“We’ve just been staying home and trying not to go to stores and keep our distances from people,” Crystal Ford said.

While Shipt orders are up, lots of items are out of stock.

“You couldn’t find chicken noodle if you tried,” McKenney said.

Shipt and Instacart have a $99 yearly membership fee, although you can sign up on a monthly basis for about $10 dollars.

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