Staying Safe at the Pump Amid the Covid-19 Outbreak
The good news is we haven’t seen gas prices this low in decades. The bad news is no one wants to get near a gas pump these days.
This is a scary and unprecedented time for all of us but we can take some comfort in the fact that simply being mindful and following certain safety precautions can keep you and your family from becoming infected with the coronavirus.
“You cannot get infected if your hands are clean before you touch your face, and if you don’t breathe in air from somebody who’s sick and coughing,” Greg Poland, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic, told CNBC. “So as long as those two conditions exist you cannot catch this virus.”
Whether you are a first responder, essential worker or need to pick up groceries, you will have to refuel at some point. So, how can you do it safely?
Avoid Peak Hours
Traffic has definitely slowed down lately but there still are busier times than others at your local gas station. If you can, avoid refueling earlier morning, lunchtime or late afternoon when people are traveling home from work. Try to time your other errands the same way so you are around fewer people.
Prior to covid-19, when we left the house we basically made sure we had our wallet, keys and phone. Now there are other essentials to add to the list.
If you plan on stopping at the pump, be sure you have hand sanitizer, at least one clean pair of gloves, a face mask, bleach wipes or some type of disinfectant wipes. You can even make your own bleach wipes by applying bleach to paper towels and packing them in a plastic bag.
Protect Your Hands
The most important thing to do is create a barrier between your hands and the pump, or anything else you might touch.
When you pull up to the pump, before you exit your vehicle, put on a clean pair of gloves. If you don’t have gloves, try to improvise with some type of barrier. This could be paper towels, napkins, or a plastic bag. As a last resort, consider even tearing a page from your owners manual as long as it doesn’t contain important information. The key is to keep your hands protected.
Wipe Down the Pump and Keypad
After you’ve protected your hands, take your bleach or disinfectant wipes and wipe down the pump and any keypads you will be coming in contact with.
Remove Gloves, Sanitize Your Hands – But Not in the Gas Station Bathroom
When you’re finished filling up, invert your gloves and throw them in the trash along with paper towels and anything else you’ve used.
As an extra precaution, apply hand sanitizer before reentering your vehicle. You may be tempted to use the public restroom to wash your hands with soap and water. However when you wash hands in the restroom, you touch another doorknob, a faucet and paper towel dispenser. Instead, limit your contact with these surfaces by using hand sanitizer and then washing your hands as soon as you return home.
More Safety Tips: Keeping Your Car Germ-Free During the Coronavirus Outbreak
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