How to: shop and drop

Here is our best practice guidance for grocery drops during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please note this is a ‘clean’ shop/drop, not a sterile one. It is not possible under the circumstances to undertake a fully sterile shop. We strongly advise you to follow these guidelines to prevent virus spread.

Essential reminders

  • Whenever possible do NOT use public transport
  • Remember to disinfect your hands and/or use a fresh set of gloves every time you use your phone. (Here are How-to videos for correctly using gloves in Welsh and English)


  • Payment via Paypal or bank transfer is ideal. If the person cannot use online payment systems, ask them if they have a trusted friend or family member who could help/ pay on their behalf.
  • If using cash, tell the recipient to avoid paper £20 notes and to disinfect the cash before giving it to you in a sealed, disinfected zip-lock bag. Ask them to wipe down any notes with disinfectant or (very) diluted bleach and to rinse coins in warm water to which disinfectant/ a small quantity of bleach has been added.
  • You will need to quarantine any cash you receive (leaving in a sealed zip-lock bag in a disinfected area) for 48 hours following the grocery drop.
  • Disinfect/ wash your hands thoroughly in warm water with soap for 20 seconds after handling any cash – do not touch your face with your hands until you have done so.

Before you shop

  1. Get in contact with the recipient, confirm who you are and what they would like help with. Ask them what items they want, with as much specific detail as possible (e.g. brown or white bread).
  2. Ask for a delivery address.  
  3. Tell the recipient how the drop-off system will work (see below)
  4. Explain that the recipient can pay through Paypal, or by leaving cash in the place where the groceries will be dropped.

Clean shopping – if going straight from the shop to the recipient’s house. See further below for details of disinfecting at another location.

  1. Before you go to the shops, wash your hands in warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
  2. Disinfect 2 shopping bags with disinfectant wipes – inside and out – and place one inside the other, using the wipe to avoid hand contact. Place an extra disinfected weight at the bottom of the outer bag (so the inner one can be pulled out easily).
  3. Shop for the items. Take care to stay away from other shoppers and touch as few things as possible.
  4. After you pay, wipe down each item and place them into the inner bag one at a time, making sure they only touch the inside of the inner bag once they are disinfected.
  5. Once all shopping is in there, close the inner bag as best you can while still holding the wipe (so you don’t make hand contact with the inner bag).
  6. Contact the person with an ETA when you are on your way.

Clean drop-off

  1. As you approach the recipient’s house, call/text/etc them to open the door. When using gloves, do this before you put on (fresh) gloves, so that you don’t risk contaminating the gloves with any virus that may be on your phone. If they live in a block of flats or other building with a communal entrance accessed by a buzzer, call/text and ask them to buzz you in, rather than pressing the button.
  2.  Ask the recipient to back away from the door at least two meters, and put your bag on the floor immediately inside the doorway. Do not step through the door.
  3. Fold out the outer bag so the recipient doesn’t have to touch it. Don’t touch the inner bag.
  4. Back away two meters, let them get the items by picking up the inner bag and lifting it out of the outer bag and do not get closer than two meters. (Feel free to shout greetings! But don’t hug/hand off items in person/etc.)
  5. If picking up cash at this stage, do NOT take hand-to-hand payments. Pick the cash up wearing gloves and with sanitised hand. Ideally the cash will be in a sanitised zip-lock bag.
  6. When you get back, wash your hands and disinfect items you have used.
  7.  Well done!

Disinfecting the shopped goods at another location (eg. at home)

  1. Wash your hands and put on gloves. Then disinfect (can use diluted bleach) a surface in your house, having a “clean” and “dirty” area.
  2. You then put everything (2x carrier bags – or more if it’s a lot of items – and shopping) onto the dirty side. 
  3. Disinfect each carrier bag one at a time – inside and out and place in the “clean” area to dry.
  4. Once dry, place one bag inside the other.
  5. Place an extra disinfected weight at the bottom of the outer bag (so the inner one can be pulled out easily).
  6. Wipe each item of food thoroughly with disinfectant (all food must be in sealed packaging) and place into the inner bag one at a time – DO NOT PLACE THEM DOWN BEFORE PUTTING IN THE BAG.
  7. Using your disinfected wipe or cloth, close the inner bag (can just fold over) to protect the contents inside from the air.
  8. You can now take your gloves off and can carry the shopping via the outer bag handles.

This process has been developed in consultation with healthcare professionals, including an NHS nurse and a virologist. If you have any comments or additions to the process (that are backed by reputable sources) then please get in touch – we’re always keen to improve our methods in line with new information.

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