Instead of scouring stores for toilet paper and anti-bacterial wipes, pasta and bread, here are five things you should be doing now and shopping for now, just in case stores close, you are quarantined or NYC is locked down.
These tips apply whether you are in NYC or anywhere else affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, which means everywhere.
Follow our new Coronavirus update hub, with all the intel you need to get through this safely.
Your cellphone may be the most contaminated thing you own.
You touch it in public after touching things other people have touched, maybe even touching your face, and then you bring it home and touch it there.
So clean it – ASAP.
Ditto the phones of your teenagers. Especially your teenagers, who have no idea how many germs their cellphones host.
- Also a good idea to clean your desktop and/or laptop keyboard.
Use a gentle wipe with a product that has 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
Apple recommends Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (if you can find them).
The C.D.C. says recommends any household disinfectant registered by the Environmental Protection Agency as effective.
Wear disposable gloves to clean, and wash your hands thoroughly after you’re done.
Because like your phone, reusable gloves might harbor virus particles, rendering them useless.
Before you clean your phone and your keeboard, update your apps, especially those for airlines and hotels, where the rules for changing or canceling planned travel are changing daily, and for news organizations you follow.
Get extra cash, just in case the stores remaining open stop accepting credit cards, or raise the limit amount for credit card purchases.
Remember that shopkeepers pay a fee to American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club or Square each time you swipe your card to buy something.
With customers down substantially, it could be the difference between staying in business and going out of business for small mom-and-pop businesses.
Let’s pay with cash whenever possible to keep small businesses in business in these difficult days.
Unless you are absolutely certain that you are immune from Coronavirus and that there is no chance whatsoever that you will be quarantined for any reason, it’s wise to get an advance supply of your necessary medications now.
Ask your physician to switch your medications to delivery by mail, so you don’t have to leave the house to go to the pharmacy.
It’s also a good idea to get an advance supply of the over-the-counter vitamins you rely on, as well as cough medicine.
Your pets will be quarantined with you, if you are quarantined.
Protect Fido and Fluffy from going hungry, since pet stores like Petco may be deemed “non-essential” stores by some cities and shut down.
Also get an extra 30-day supply of kitty litter and disposable doggy “poop” bags.
Long before there were anti-bacterial wipes and spray disinfectant, my mother and grandmother kept things clean and safe with plain old chlorine bleach on a sponge or cleaning cloth.
So can you.
Disinfect your damp sponge or cleaning cloth in the microwave. One minute should do the trick. Ninety seconds or two minutes if you don’t think one minute is enough.
Stock up on what still are called “root vegetables”, including turnips, parsnips and rutabagas.
They seem to last forever, unlike fresh veggies, which spoil quickly.
And they are important ingredients in soups and stocks, including chicken soup, which is the Number One non-medical treatment for the common cold and the flu.
We’ve given you five things to do now.
Your turn to tell us what you are doing now to prepare for a quarantine or shutdown.
Add your comment below.
Evelyn Kanter is a native New Yorker who has written for the NY Times, NY Daily News, NY Post, New York Magazine, and is a former on-air consumer for WCBS Newsradio 88 and WABC-TV Eyewitness News, where I specialized in consumer rights and money-saving tips.
Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.
Purchase autographed copies by emailing [email protected]