How to safely pay a visit to your local cannabis dispensary

Published Sep 24, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Zenkyphoto

Everybody is looking forward to the time when we’ll be able to lower our guard a bit, but for now, we all must work diligently to keep COVID-19 case numbers low and manageable. Some of the changes can be a bit scary or intimidating, but as long as you follow these simple rules on how to stay safe, you can reduce any risk that you might face in an indoor public space like a dispensary.

Wear a clean and well-fitted face mask or covering

The best way that we know how to stay safe right now is by wearing a face mask or covering, as these accessories help to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, which happens through respiratory droplets that are exhaled by infected individuals. Wearing a mask doesn’t necessarily protect you, but instead, it keeps your droplets from spreading and landing on the surfaces and people around you, which is why it’s now common practice to keep both the face and nose covered when you visit a dispensary.

Keep your distance from other customers and employees

Keep an eye out for helpful indicators that may be placed around your dispensary to show you exactly how far you should be standing away from other patrons. Sometimes, they’ll be on sidewalks leading outside or in aisles to give you something visual to refer to as you browse, but even when there are none to be seen, it’s important to leave plenty of space between yourself, other customers, and employees at all times.

Avoid touching your face or adjusting your mask

Wearing a face covering can take some getting used to, but it is important to remember to avoid touching your face and fidgeting with your mask as much as possible. Doing so will remove any protections that the mask does offer by contaminating the material, and since the virus can enter through the eyes, nose, or mouth, something as simple as an eye rub could put you at risk.

Refrain from touching products that you may not buy

It’s normal practice to handle all different kinds of products as we shop, but your dispensary is likely to highly discourage this practice right now. So, if you have a question or you’re having trouble finding something specific, then seek out assistance from a helpful employee rather than manhandling everything that perks your interest a little bit. It’s also best to avoid placing personal items on high traffic areas such as counters or chairs, so be sure to make the trip with pockets or a purse that is equipped for the job.

Avoid paying in cash

Not everyone has access to a debit card or another cashless payment method, but those that do should avoid paying in cash whenever possible. We all know that money is dirty, and when you hand over a couple of bills, then you’ll need to get the change too, which is just multiple exchanges of germ-filled money that can be entirely avoided with debit or credit cards. So, if you can, carry plastic, not cash.

Utilize handwashing stations

Even before COVID-19 was widespread, handwashing stations and products like sanitizers were provided to customers through some dispensaries, and that is especially true in medical stores where many of the consumers are immune-compromised in some way, but now that we’re dealing with a pandemic, this extra service is provided at most locations across the country free of cost. Look for them in the very front of your local cannabis dispensary or beside the cashier and take every opportunity you can to use them.

After removing a mask, be sure to wash your hands before touching your face

One of the biggest concerns from health officials about mandated masks is that those who don’t wear them properly might not gain the same level of benefits from wearing them. Though it might be tempting to rip off the mask once you're out the door with your purchase and to dig through your order to find the pre-roll you’ve been waiting for, it is best to wash your hands before touching your face or anything like a joint that might be going near your mouth, so wait until you can get home, where you can wash your hands with soap and warm water.

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