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Coronavirus in the UK: 17 things you need to know about food shopping in lockdown

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Kayleigh Dray
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Coronavirus in the UK: 17 home-truths y’all need to know about food shopping in lockdown

It’s time to redefine what “essential” means to you, and fast.

It’s amazing how quickly life can change, right? One minute you’re ignoring the terrifying coronavirus pandemic and flooding the UK’s parks like it’s a bank holiday, the next you’re confined to your home on lockdown.

That’s right: in order to slow the spread of Covid-19, and give the NHS a much-needed break, Boris Johnson has (without actually saying the word ‘lockdown’) put the UK on lockdown.

This means that you are now only allowed out of your house for the following reasons:

  • One form of exercise a day, such as walking, running or cycling – alone or with household members.
  • To provide care for a vulnerable person or to obtain medical care for themselves.
  • Travelling to and from work, if it is strictly necessary.
  • Shopping for necessities, as infrequently as possible.

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It’s that last one, though, which has really proven a stickler for many of us.

With that in mind, here’s a few things we’ve learned about shopping for groceries during a lockdown…

  • Whilst making your list, you need to redefine what “necessary” means to you

    As per lockdown rules, we’re only allowed out to shop for necessities… and very rarely at that. So get your priorities in order before you even think about grabbing your bag for life.

  • Because, remember, you are ONLY allowed out for NECESSITIES

    Consider a trip to your local shop or supermarket a very rare treat: a sort of once-a-week kinda deal. 

  • So once more with feeling? SHOP FOR NECESSITIES ONLY!!!

    It’s the law, folks. It’s there to save lives, ease the stress on our NHS and flatten the Covid-19 curve. So please, please don’t be a knob about this, OK?

  • The journey to the shops often feels… well, it feels really intense

    Mainly because, yeah, we’re pretending to be the hero of our own dystopian drama.

  • And it’s not all that easy to get into your local nowadays

    Some are operating a one-in, one-out policy. And some people are clamouring at the doors to get in before the stores even open. So, you know, queue respectfully (you gotta stay a good 2m away from everyone else, remember) and be patient. You’ll get there.

  • Once inside, you’ll be confronted with one of two scenes. This:

    Utter carnage.

  • Or this:

    Ah, organised bliss. 

  • Try to stick to your pre-written list…

    Don’t be like me. I always go with the intention of buying bread and milk, but usually come out clutching at least two oversized chocolate Easter eggs. And, sure, that’s delicious for a while, but I always regret it when it comes to making a sandwich or tea later on…

  • Prepare for disappointment

    They may not have the toilet roll and pasta you’re looking for. That’s OK. Look around for alternatives (or console yourselves with Easter eggs, I guess).

  • Don’t be greedy

    There’s enough hummus for everyone, mate. Calm down.

  • Remain calm

    You’re not on Supermarket Sweep, folks, and this is your one trip out per day. No need to go bananas.

  • Maybe take a moment and watch your neighbours try (and fail) to avoid gossiping

    As Stylist’s Megan Murray shares: “My favourite thing about my trip to Waitrose was watching the locals standing two metres apart, absolutely HATING that it’s getting in the way of their gossiping. 

    ‘You’ll never guess what!’ one shouted from afar, as she absent-mindedly edged closer to her pals and then suddenly reversed back again. It made my morning!”

    Hmm, maybe walkie-talkies are the way forward? Or… or phones? Just a thought.

  • Or why not try the ‘lucky dip’ game?

    Hey, if it’s good enough for Nicola, it’s good enough for us.

  • Or while away a few minutes watching the daily toilet paper dash

    Honestly, we’re buying stocks in toilet paper ASAP.

  • But always be smart

    Please, please be smart.

  • Check in with loved ones

    You can shop for vulnerable friends and family members, so long as you promise not to go inside their home. Just leave the bags on the doorstep and hightail it outta there.

  • And remember: everyone’s a curtain-twitcher nowadays

    … which means you should follow the rules (if you really needed another reason than, ‘it’ll save lives’).

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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