coronavirus pandemic

You Might Want to Start Shopping for Thanksgiving Dinner Now

NBC 7 Responds talked with grocers about the best way to prep for a family feast during a pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

Thanksgiving dinner might look a little different this year, since people are being urged to stay home or self-quarantine after traveling for Thanksgiving. That's one reason grocers are expecting a surge of shoppers.

"People are still looking for a reason to celebrate, so I think Thanksgiving and Christmas will be really popular," said Ron Fong of the California Grocers Association.

Counties like San Diego are moving to the most-restrictive tier because of a rising number of coronavirus cases. That means the number of people in grocery stores is capped at 50 percent.

"If everybody comes in the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we're going to exceed our capacity," Fong said. "You will see people having to be monitored and wait their turn to get into the store. We want to avoid all of that."

That's why Fong said shoppers should make that list now and get as much of it as possible.

"The things that you can store, go get it this weekend." Fong said. "Be prepared. Do all that shopping in advance."

Shoppers can then pick up perishables the week of Thanksgiving and cut back on shopping times.

"It's a quick trip in and out of the grocery store," Fong said. "Our stores open at 7 a.m., and that is the perfect time to come in and do all of your nonperishable shopping before Thanksgiving."

Even if you plan out the menu now, it can help streamline the shopping process.

"It's going to be a more seamless process if you do a little bit of planning and a little bit of pre-buying," Fong said. "There are plenty of supplies. There is no need to overbuy."

To reduce the chances of catching COVID-19 in a grocery store, Fong has a few recommendations. For instance, don't touch all the produce by hand.

"Use the plastic bags there as a glove," Fong said. "Pick up what you need, invert it, put your goodies inside the bag, and off you go."

Fong also recommends looking at online ordering and pickup, as well as buying a frozen turkey that you can store.

"Have it delivered," Fong said. "Either to your car in the parking lot or delivered straight to your house."

Regardless of how you're spending the holidays, Fong said stores expect more people will be spending the day at home because of the pandemic.

"I think we're going to see a little bit of a surge of family togetherness back in the home," Fong said.

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