This is the best time to go grocery shopping to avoid catching COVID-19

  • With coronavirus infections surging across the U.S., avoiding large crowds when venturing outside is advisable whenever possible.
  • Google recently analyzed an avalanche of data and revealed when places like grocery stores and coffee shops are least crowded.
  • The worst time to go grocery shopping, according to Google, is Saturday afternoon from noon to 3 PM.

Given that we’re in the midst of the worst coronavirus outbreak we’ve seen since the pandemic began, a growing number of people are understandably limiting the amount of time they spend outside of the house. Still, the reality is that sometimes you need to brave the elements, venture outside, and pick up necessities like groceries. And sure, food delivery is an option for some, but it’s not an option for everyone for both economical and logistical reasons. On a related note, you might recall that Peapod shut down their Midwest delivery operations back in February.

If you find yourself needing to pick up some food, however, you might want to be smart about it. Of course, shopping with a mask is a no-brainer at this point. Indeed, almost every grocery chain in the country these days won’t even let you inside without a mask. Still, adhering to social distancing in a crowded grocery store can be challenging and, in some instances, completely out of your control.

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So what’s the solution? Well, you can plan your grocery excursion strategically and time it to get your shopping done outside of peak hours. To help with this endeavor, Google recently put some of its mapping data to good use and revealed the times when grocery store crowds are at their lowest and highest.

Google notes that it only analyzed data from March through October 2020 to focus on shopping habits during the pandemic. All told, Google found that the worst time to go grocery shopping is between 12 and 3 PM on Saturday afternoon. This time typically has the biggest crowds and increases the likelihood you might bump into someone with a positive coronavirus diagnosis. The best time to go grocery shopping, according to Google, is Monday morning at around 8 AM.

Grocery shopping aside, Google also analyzed the best and worst times to grab a cup of coffee, take a stroll in the park, and visit the pharmacy.

On the coffee front, you’re better off dropping by Starbucks or your favorite coffee shop of choice around 4 PM. Interestingly, Google found that Tuesday at 4 PM tends to be the least busy day of the week. The worst time to pick up coffee is Saturday at 10 AM.

If you’re looking to stretch your legs and go for a walk in a nearby park, Google found that parks are busiest on Saturday at 4 PM and least crowded at 7 AM any day during the week.

And if you need to pick up some medication from a local pharmacy, the busiest time of the week is Friday at 3 PM. Pharmacies are typically less busy on Monday at 9 AM.

The main takeaway here is that if you need to venture outside for anything during the pandemic, it’s smarter to head out as early in the day as possible.

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