The recommendation aims to curb the virus's spread.
On Wednesday, a county in Maryland issued a new recommendation for grocery shopping during the pandemic—scheduling trips by shoppers' last names. The Calvert County Health Department made the suggestion for essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies to curb the spread of the virus, and it takes effect on Thursday, April 16.
The idea isn't unique to Maryland—Retailers like Walmart and Giant have been at the forefront of addressing the problematic conditions making social distancing difficult in public spaces, especially grocery stores. The department also asks citizens to limit their shopping to once every five days.
Here is the proposed schedule:
Last name starting with A-C shop on days ending with 0 and 5
Last name starting with D-G shop on days ending with 1 and 6
Last name starting with H-L shop on days ending with 2 and 7
Last name starting with M-R shop on days ending with 3 and 8
Last name starting with S-Z shop on days ending with 4 and 9
We all want to get back to our normal lives as soon as possible. Our actions make a difference. Sustaining those actions are the key to lowering our risk of infection and lifting social restrictions. We can’t speed up time, but we can dramatically slow the spread of the virus.— Cal. Co. Health Dept (@CalvertHealth) April 15, 2020
The health department also provided guidance on navigating public spaces safely during the pandemic, as reflected in orders mandated by the state government. Grocery stores need to sanitize shopping carts or provide cleaning wipes for customers entering the store. Customers and employees should wear face masks and maintain distances of six feet apart, especially in close contact areas like checkouts. According to the health department, stores should only have five people per 1,000 square feet.
This comes off the heels of Governor Larry Hogan's order issued Wednesday requiring citizens to wear face coverings in public spaces like grocery stores, pharmacies, and public transportation. The statewide order takes effect Saturday, April 18.
The health department hopes citizens will keep themselves and their neighbors safe by adhering to proper social distancing protocol.
"We all want to get back to our normal lives as soon as possible. Our actions make a difference. Sustaining those actions are the key to lowering our risk of infection and lifting social restrictions. We can’t speed up time, but we can dramatically slow the spread of the virus."
What do you think of Calvert County's response? Should other cities implement similar methods to curb the spread of COVID-19? Is it going too far? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments!