Taking extra steps to avoid COVID-19 at the gas station
In the past few months, the world has been introduced to COVID-19 which has led people to fear their daily activities. Some are even questioning if it’s safe to go grocery shopping or fill up on gas.
While this virus is something to take seriously, you should focus on going about your days with caution, not fear. Gas companies are ensuring customers that they are increasing preventative measures by cleaning common areas more frequently, closing in-store seating, offering hand sanitizing stations, and retraining employees on sanitation protocols along with other sanitary efforts.
It’s no secret that the gas station is full of high-touch services that are used day in and out by strangers. The good news is, you cannot get sick by simply having the virus on your hands, it must enter your mucous membranes. The bad news is that you have much membranes in your eyes, nose, and mouth. This means if you rub your eyes or touch your mouth without properly sanitizing your hands, you could become infected.
The best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands frequently and often. If you have essential errands to run, carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer liquid or wipes with you to use before getting into your car and in between tasks. Some individuals feel safer wearing gloves when in public. If this is what keeps you calm, by all means, wear gloves. However, you need to treat gloved hands with the same amount of caution as if you weren’t wearing them.
If you handle a pump/surface that has the virus living on it with gloved hands and you fail to discard the gloves before reentering your car, you will carry the virus from one host to another, for example, your steering wheel or whatever else you might touch. The best practice for wearing gloves is to discard of them often, in proper waste bins, and to wash/sanitize your hands immediately after.
Along with the fuel pumps themselves, the touch screens and card readers are other areas that germs live. You should avoid touching these as much as possible. Using the tap feature when paying with credit/debit cards or using mobile pay will help to limit the number of shared surfaces you have to touch. If you haven’t already, now might be a good time to set up your digital wallet.
While we do not encourage unnecessary trips, if you are an essential worker or are using your car to get groceries and are low on fuel, you need to make a stop. Limiting contact and washing your hands are the easiest and most effective precautions you can take regardless of where you are. By using caution and intent, you will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep yourself and your family healthy.