Masked up and wearing gloves, Charlie Andrade checks out and talks with customers at his family’s Brier Grocery on Tuesday in Brier. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Masked up and wearing gloves, Charlie Andrade checks out and talks with customers at his family’s Brier Grocery on Tuesday in Brier. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Please, don’t squeeze the avocados — or the Charmin

Under supermarket COVID-19 rules, touch only what you buy. Stay in the right lane. Don’t be a cranky pants.

EVERETT — Please don’t squeeze the avocados. Or the Charmin.

And stay in your lane, dude.

The once casual act of grocery shopping is now a matter of life and bread.

The state Department of Health advises: “Shop with a list and like you mean business. The less time you are in there, the better.”

To ensure proper social distancing, stores now limit the number of people inside at a time and want you to keep moving. No more mulling over whether to spend 11 cents more on the name brand over the store label. Grab what you need.

Don’t touch items unnecessarily. That means not picking up apples, tomatoes and other produce to select that perfect one. Handpick with your eyes instead.

Safeway/Albertsons and QFC are among stores implementing one-way aisles to keep traffic moving and limit face-to-face interaction. Green arrows mark the floor for the correct way. Red markings warn those steering wayward carts.

Be patient. Be nice. Thank the store workers for being there. As one writer put it: Leave your “cranky pants” behind.

Costco recently started allowing priority access to healthcare workers and first responders to move to the front of any line to enter the warehouse.

Costco, as with many stores, has reduced hours, closing at 6:30 p.m. daily and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests everyone wear a mask and gloves in public. In some cities, it is mandatory that grocery workers and shoppers wear a mask or face covering.

This is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from those who are infected but don’t realize it because they aren’t showing symptoms.

Even with Plexiglas sneeze shields, grocery store workers on the frontlines are exposed to crowds of people every day. A growing number are getting infected. The Everett Trader Joe’s closed several days last week after more than one employee tested positive for COVID-19.

There is a fringe benefit to donning a mask and gloves while shopping: No worries about your makeup or nails. Or, for that matter, your hair. Nobody will recognize you anyway, now that you have a self-styled mullet like “Tiger King” Joe Exotic.

It’s OK to show up in your pajamas.

This makes it easier if you’re a senior or pregnant. Many stores have special pre-opening shopping hours for those at-risk. The catch is that you have to get up early.

For others, the health department suggests: “Shop at less popular times when the stores will be less crowded.”

Cleaning up

Stores have stepped up cleaning measures, disinfecting cart handles and frequently touched surfaces.

To minimize exposure, send a designated shopper. Leave the family at home. Look at it this way: This is your chance to get away from them. And vice-versa.

A new policy at Costco lets in only two people per membership. Think how much that will save your family, but make sure to send one with the wherewithal to get a 60-count box of Rice Krispies Treats.

Those are gold during Netflix binges.

Don’t hoard, but stock up. Limit the number of times you go to a grocery store to once a week or even less frequently, the health department says. Use sanitizer after handling money, and clean hands thoroughly when you get home.

Wash your reusable bag or leave it in the car. Some stores don’t allow them, and at those that do, customers who bring sacks from home must bag their own groceries.

Order online and get your groceries delivered to your car. QFC now has free pickup. Reserve a time a few days in advance. Spaces fill up fast.

The precautions are on both sides of the Plexiglas.

Walmart is sending infrared thermometers to take the temperature of workers at the start of shifts. The store will not take temperatures of customers.

Home Depot is distributing thermometers to stores for workers to perform health checks before clocking on.

Stores are hiring. Many have tacked on $2 an hour increases.

Rite Aid offers employees a 35% shopping discount.

Social distancing themselves from each other, customers Lynne Emmons (center) and Lisa Moen wait for fewer people inside before going into Brier Grocery on Tuesday in Brier. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Social distancing themselves from each other, customers Lynne Emmons (center) and Lisa Moen wait for fewer people inside before going into Brier Grocery on Tuesday in Brier. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Mom and pop shops

Brier Grocery got lucky selling two winning lottery tickets last year.

The luck continues, but in a different way.

The neighborhood market, 23607 Brier Road, relies on local trade and with people staying home it has kept business steady enough.

“A lot of our clientele don’t want to go to the big stores,” said Charlie Andrade, who works at the family-owned store. “People are trying to be active, they’re out walking around as opposed to driving around.”

Brier, population 6,300, is on the byroads with Mountlake Terrace to the west, Lynnwood to the north, Bothell to the east and Lake Forest Park to the south. For some people in the small community, the trip to the store is their only human contact with the outside world.

Andrade’s parents, Sunnie and Victor, bought the store in 1981. His dad passed away in 2018. Before COVID-19, he and his sister, Anna, worked part-time, and his mom and aunt ran the store. Now the younger generation puts in long hours.

“They are older and we don’t want them to be around the store as much. My cousin is picking up shifts for his mom,” Andrade said.

His mom didn’t even take a day off last July, when the store received a $122,000 bonus for selling a winning $12.2 million state Lotto ticket. A month later, a ticket sold by the store won the Hit 5 jackpot of $120,000. The store got $1,200.

His mom stayed at it. Only a pandemic slowed down her hours.

She installed a Plexiglas shield early on, “before the big stores did,” Andrade said.

The store does not offer curbside pickup or home delivery. Lottery tickets must be purchased in-person.

“The same people are still coming in every day for lottery tickets,” he said. “Every once in a while we get the stray guy who comes over here and says, ‘Hey, I hear you sold a winning lotto ticket.’ ”

With schools closed, more kids come in for candy and energy drinks.

“It’s more of a summer vibe,” Andrade said.

Andrea Brown:; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Everett Herald staff gather and talk in the newsroom after layoff announcements on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘This breaks my heart’: Over half of Everett Herald news staff laid off

A dozen journalists were handed walking papers Wednesday, in a wave of layoffs mandated by new owners, Carpenter Media Group.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.