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Guide for volunteer shoppers during quarantine: Keeping you and them safe
30 March 2020 @ 19:22

EXAMPLES of public security officers helping out vulnerable members of the public during the Coronavirus lockdown have been pouring in thick and fast – some, like the Armed Forces emergency response unit (UME) in Gijón (Asturias), delivering supermarket shopping to an elderly lady living alone, have gone viral – and law enforcement, disaster management and safety agents have found their job descriptions widening lately to 'personal shopper' (even at their own expense, as this family in Calpe found out), pharmaceutical distributors, and even birthday-cake delivery 'drivers' (which delighted the unsuspecting Toñi in Jaca on her special day).

But members of the public have also been coming into their own: Town halls across the country, although mostly closed now, have been organising recruitment drives for volunteers to fetch shopping, medication and other necessaries for the elderly, disabled, sick, and those who otherwise cannot get out, such as people whose nearest stores are too far to walk and they do not have, or cannot drive, a car.

Also, even though visiting for social reasons – family included – is not allowed until the quarantine is lifted, running essential errands for those who cannot do so themselves is technically permitted; by 'technically', we mean that you'll need to be able to demonstrate that's what you're doing if the police stop you, so town hall schemes are ideal as they will give you a signed document as proof.

Whether you are volunteering with your local authority, or whether you are helping a neighbour, friend or relative, you still need to exercise extreme precaution – and so do they. Strangers posing as 'helpers' but whose intentions are anything but may be more likely to take advantage of the lockdown and, as bullies tend to be cowards, will pick on the elderly and others whom they consider 'easy targets'.



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