Covid-19 Shopping: physical separation and safety issues

So went to Karinyup Shopping Centre today to visit my local pharmacy and Woolies. In the Centre itself I was the only person I saw, out of the many hundreds who were there, that was wearing a face mask and gloves. No-one at the stores I visited or passed by (including staff and customers) was wearing face masks or practicing safe social spacing.
Yes I got a lot of stares for wearing my safety gear but felt good within myself in that at least I wasn’t going to pass on or be infected with the Corona-virus by others there.

Has anyone else noticed this same lack of concern?

Do others here feel I shouldn’t be so concerned?

Interested in any responses as I thought the situation was BLOODY SERIOUS! :slight_smile:


Unless you have the virus, you are wasting your time with a mask. Depending on the type of mask you either have no protection or very time limited protection. A proper mask will offer protection for only a maximum of 20 minutes. Do you really need to be using one if you are healthy? Most likely not.

It is very easy to maintain clean hands with hand sanitiser when out and with proper hand washing with soap. Given Woolies and Coles have trolley wipes to clean handles, the gloves are overkill.

Social distancing is another issue altogether. I agree that too many just don’t care and are not aware of personal space, let alone keeping at least 1.5m away from others.


I feel you’re doing the right thing.
I have started wearing disposable gloves as I usually use the self-service checkout. And also trolley wipes dispensers are often empty.

I have too noticed that it is very hard to keep the safe distance from other shoppers, the aisle are usually not very wide, they can quickly get quite crowded while we’re concentrating on finding all the out of stock items.

They say the mask doesn’t really protect us, but it does protect others because even if people show no symptoms they might be contagious.


For many perhaps it is more a feel you are helping out or doing good. Perhaps some of us feel it adds protection.

Assuming you have the right type of mask and it is properly fitted. Note many masks are designed to stop ingress from the outside only, on exhaling many tend to leak around the edges or relieve through a valve in the mask. I do wonder if it is effective in many instances. Perhaps that is why we are being asked to self isolate if we might have the virus rather than permitted to go out wearing a mask.

Assuming as a mask wearer you throw the mask out every time you use one, how many might be needed to get through a week? Reusing a mask might make matters worse if there is virus accumulated on the mask.

It seems a massive waste of resources given the most common methods of public transmission.

Protective masks are most valuable for protection of our health care workers who are required to be in close contact with infested or potentially infected patients. Best practice requires they use a mask only once per contact.


At this stage, appropriate masks are only recommended for use by the general public if in the ‘at risk’ category, that is immuno-compromised, elderly, in aged care, in hospital, etc. As others have posted, the run of the mill masks are of no use, as they do not block the ingress of the virus. They are useful on the other hand for people with COVID-19 symptoms because the masks reduce the distance the virus travels from coughs and sneezes.

I was in a chemist yesterday, and they were selling useless two ply masks for $2 each. Not too many weeks ago, you could buy a pack of them for about $2.

The disposable gloves stop the viral contamination onto your hands. You do not catch the virus from your hands. It is spread from hand to face contact. AND, the problem is that people frequently unconsciously touch their faces.

If you have gloves on, and you pick up a virus on a glove and touch your face, it would now be on your face and on it’s way to infecting you. The way to stop it is to wash hands frequently, and use the trolley disinfectant wipes or paper towel and disinfectant @NayA mentioned. Leave the wipes/towels on the handle. That way, every time you return your hands to the handle you are re-cleaning your hands (assuming the wipe/towel is still moist). More importantly, if you touch your face, it is with clean hands.

At all the Woolies I have visited they have tape on the floor at checkouts etc to indicate safe spacing, so I am wondering why the Woolies at Karrinyup hasn’t done this. Perhaps you could ask the management there?

All up, the safest thing you can do is stay at home.

Hopefully, you will stay well.


Unless you have been tested you may be asymptomatic - A PS2 mask offers protection for 8 - 10 hours. Your assertions may harm people into complacency. Latest reports from China suggests masks protect people. NB Viruses get passed on to others because any time you breathe, cough or even speak, you expel tiny droplets. So, when a virus is reproducing in your respiratory tract, those droplets could contain viral particles.


Even if you have been tested and get a negative, that doesn’t mean you are safe. By using masks all the time you are wasting resources. Further, most people do not practise correct mask hygiene so it is again a waste of resources.

My suggestions? My suggestions are in accordance with WHO recommendations. Given current news out of China regarding how many cremation urns are being delivered to their undertakers there is great suspicions being confirmed that they haven’t been honest in their death recordings. I would be highly suspicious of their claims regarding masks.

Here is the link for WHO and feel free to take your claims up with them.

I’d also like to point out that we, as a nation, have been told not to go out unless absolutely necessary ie essential. Unless you are coughing (which means stay at home) the chances of spreading the virus practising proper social distancing and hand hygiene is greatly reduced. Depending on masks with poor mask hygiene is a greater complacency.

Please note, I am more than conscientious about this because I am immune compromised and, having studied sciences at high school and continuing to read and learn from current science, I am quite aware how viruses spread.


Some advice from CHOICE on the situation with face masks:


Some employers are mandating masks, even home made ones (with coffee filter papers inserted - unused, or … :slight_smile: bonus here is they could be recycled as wipes in the loo) where ‘social distancing’ is difficult. Extending this to non-workplace environments there are many places where maintaining space is almost impossible - one of my local supermarkets has aisles that are around 1200 mm wide for example and the local Australia Post Office seems to think the placement of tonnes of irrelevant items they display/sell in pedestals around the store is more important than customer welfare.

It does seem fairly clear that this is a supply issue. Countries close borders, states and territories close borders, police isolate regions and towns with 24x7 checkpoints, government mandated shutdown of everything deemed non-essential - one almost gets the impression it’s worth stopping this virus … Given the supply factor, the rate of spread and the numbers/timeline of non-symptomatic carriers I’d reckon wearing an old pair of y-fronts on ones head is probably better than nothing - laundered and back-to-front of course …


Our local LPO actually closed “until further notice” due to social distancing in store, but reopended a week or so later after rearranging the store using displays and counters as barriers, with “In” on the left side of the front door and “Out” on the other side.

My recommendation which I posted under another topic.

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Looks like this immune compromised individual will be reevaluating my mask wearing stance from nope to :+1:t2:.

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I had to go (cycling) to our nearest PO (26km away) this morning to send a parcel for my wife, and upon entering the PO, which is also a service station with fast food, realised that I had entered a parallel universe, where social distancing wasn’t a thing.
I had to squeeze through a queue with no gaps at the food/petrol counter to join the nearby PO queue, which runs at right angles to the one I went through. There was a woman sitting on the floor counting large envelopes in front of the narrow counter, so I was right next to her (but not quite having to lean over her!) to be served. There were quite a few people in the shop, with the front door closed (I managed to catch it with my foot, following others through it both ways), but the door would have been handled by large numbers of people. It is a calm, warm sunny day, so there was no good reason for it to be closed.
I didn’t spot any signs or hand sanitiser etc in there, but did take a small bar of soap with me, and washed my hands under an outside tap before leaving.
It’s no wonder the virus is spreading!


Yesterday I went shopping in Cessnock, a regional centre in NSW. NSW is the state hardest hit by COVID-19 and with the most stringent restrictions.

If what I saw is representative then, if it continues, the next contagion peak will be a doozy. All of the shopping centres were packed to the point that social distancing was not possible. People are getting complacent. I’m guessing that the Prime Minister’s messaging is cutting through, where the caution of the Premier isn’t.

My experience was not unique, it seems:

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This is pretty much how I felt on Saturday:

Today wasn’t quite so bad, but people are still being less careful than they were.

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In case of a pandemic, we want to minimise contact with others but ensure we have enough provisions to survive our isolation. There’s talk of empty shelves in supermarkets around the country, people are especially stocking up on toilet paper.

At the moment I’m self-isolating, on antibiotics for a chest infection. After seeing my doctor, a few days ago, I went in the supermarket and got enough food to last about a week without shopping: long life milk, crackers, tinned food, tissues, veggies to make a lot of soup and freeze it. So I do sympathise with storing up. Or is it panic buying :thinking:


Interestingly, whilst I was at our local shopping centre at Mt Sheridan yesterday, it was quite busy but I noted that I was the only person with a full shopping trolley as I was doing the weekly $70 shop to get a FlyBuys $50 credit.

My trolley was a small Coles one and no other trolley was even near half full.

There were no empty shelves in Woollies or Coles. They were all stocked to the maximum.

I mentioned to my wife that I didn’t see any of the so called panic buying that the media has been talking about.

Perhaps it is just another case of never letting the truth get in the way of a good (or bad) story.

Also, when the SARS crisis occured, I saw numerour persons, especially young female Asians, wearing face masks. Thie time, I have only seen a single person, a young Asian female, wearing one.

No panic up here in the Deep North.


A slightly different view on the level of risk though.

Government plans contemplate successive waves of pandemic reaching Australia and spreading throughout the community. Quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing measures could be encouraged or enforced in order to slow the spread of the virus through the community.

Prof Raina MacIntyre, head of the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, said sustained transmission may result in anywhere from a quarter to 70% of the Australian population being infected.

Is it simply a matter of time?

The elephant in the room may be how significantly any government response affects the economy.

The impacts on trade (domestic and international) and business might be too much for any government strategy. 20% of Australia’s GDP in 2019 was due to the export of goods. China appears to have shut down.

Internally the Aussie economy has been hit with the bush fires, and now international tourism and study is taking a hit. Current forecast GDP growth is around 2% (depends who you ask for this stat).

Aside from a short spurt as some consumers stock up, will the rest stop spending just in case hitting the retail and discretionary spending brakes?

If there is any upside, the fall in the Aussie dollar might help to balance any loss of export volumes of beef, iron ore, coal and gas.


Went shopping today for normal weekly groceries. Arrived at lunchtime to find some Aldi shelves depleted or totally out of stock. Apparently it had been very busy in the morning. Similar story at Woolies, although not to the same extent. This was in Nowra


I’ll be heading to Coles in the morning (6am opening) and getting some tinned food. There’s an issue with the freshness of fresh veggies there, we seem to get the castoffs from other places. Might get some canned veg as well. Just in case. I should be good for a couple of weeks after that. I have enough Toby food to last him for 2 weeks (except at the moment he’s on a “see-food” diet and eating like a horse)… but I think we can make it.


My dad pointed out the other day (surprisingly to me for a person of his generation, born between the end of World War 2 and the middle of the 60s) “Even if you’re quarantined, why can’t Woolies delivery drivers just leave it at your door?”
And by golly, he has a point.