Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Buying Essentials During The Lockdown

Worried about the coronavirus lockdown? Well don't worry and panic buy. Here is a list of essentials to make your lockdown shopping a little easier!

Worried about the coronavirus lockdown? Well, don’t worry and panic buy. Here is a list of essentials to make your lockdown shopping a little easier!

The coronavirus presently is the biggest outbreak in the world. So far the virus has taken more than 20,000 lives across the world. As there is no cure, staying home is the only way to prevent its spread. India, so far, has 724 positive cases and 17 deaths. So, to contain the virus, the Indian government has announced a lockdown till 15th April.

Now for the next 21 days, people will be stuck at home. With only one or two members of a house allowed to make a trip to the supermarket through empty streets. The number of people being allowed, varies from state to state. But isn’t more than two. 

And the number of infected people near you just keeps going up. So what do you do? Stock up your house with lots of groceries and deprive people of from them? NO! That’s panic buying and completely wrong!

Instead, make a list of essential items and buy them timely, keeping all safety precautions in consideration. So here is a list of items required by an average middle-class family and a single person living alone during this lockdown period. But before that let us round up the clauses of the lockdown.

Do’s and Don’ts of the lockdown

  • Travelling by public transport, including private buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, and e-rickshaws, metro will not be permitted. Neither are Ola, and Uber allowed in certain parts of the country.
  • Private cars are allowed but only for essential services. You will be stopped on the roads and inquired about the emergency or the urgency of it.
  • State governments are doing their best to make sure that e-commerce of all essentials- pharmaceuticals, food and medical equipments will be open and accessible to everyone. However, despite the efforts of the government, this still has some issues with shortages and the actual implementation on ground. 
  • Milk plants, general provision stores and take away/home delivery in restaurants will also be open but this will also vary from state to state. For the cities where these aren’t open, the government is looking into it and will make their announcements. So keep your eyes over the local and regional news. 
  • Essential services and supermarkets are open (although timings will vary state to state)
  • Depending on each state, not more than two people are allowed to step out of the houses to buy essential commodities.

Essentials and what they can be 

One thing to keep in mind here is that smart buying is very important. All to prevent the unequal distribution of resources. When it comes to essential commodities, they can be divided into three sets- eatables, pharmaceutical and others.

Here is the list of essentials to help you shop smarter and better. 


In the current scenario, eatables are the basic necessary commodity. For an average family- oil, rice, flour, pulses, salt and some basic spices along with basic vegetables like potatoes, onions and tomatoes are the basic essentials.

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These can be used easily and prepared in a number of ways and are the prime necessities every family needs. Other than that, spices like turmeric, green vegetables and citric fruits can also be incorporated if the budget and availability allows it. These are some of the items you NEED, regardless you live with your family or on your own. 

However, if you live alone and don’t know a lot about cooking, there are some essentials for you too. Maggi and other similar noodles or even cup noodles are a basic necessity for you. Storing some milk and cereals (cornflakes) will also save you in times of need. Easy-to-cook items like hash-browns or tikkis, etc, packaged snacks you can eat while working are a necessity as well. 

Pro-tip from someone living alone- buy toor daal. No other daal is as easy to cook as this one is. All you need to do is, soak it in some water, and cook it for 15-20 minutes. Minimum effort and maximum home-food satisfaction. 


At this time having basic medicines is very important so that you don’t have to rush to the medics in case of minimal health problems. Every house needs to have the most basic flu and pain medication at hand. These include paracetamol, cough drops, anti-allergens, nasal drops, digestion pills, pain relief sprays and bandages, ointments and antibiotics. The medicines that can be used without a prescription.

Apart from that try stocking medicines for particular health problems if you or anyone in your family has prescribed medicines. Consult your doctor beforehand. Ask him/her about basic precautions that you should take if you have a medical history already. 

Sanitisers and masks are also a very important tool at this time. But try not to stock sanitisers because the supply is less and the demand is higher. And thanks to stocking, people who need it might not get it. Soap also does the same work as sanitisers so try to use soap or hand-wash majorly. 

Apart from this, you can also make your sanitiser using aloe-vera gel. 


Now the others list depends on two factors.

First, most of the stuff in this list is something that households generally have a stock of. Second, what might be essential for one person from this list might not be an essential commodity for the other.

This list includes things for personal and household hygiene. It has basic things like soaps, detergent, dish wash bars, shampoo, moisturisers, oil, bathroom cleaners, mosquito repellents, menstrual products, toothpaste, toothbrush, coffee, tea, juice, and antiseptic liquid.

Apart from that LPG cylinders are being provided to everyone so booking those should also be a priority. For people living alone, water is also a priority. So booking that prior should also be kept in mind. 

Also if you own a pet then buying pet food is also important. Apart from that have a conversation with your vet. Ask for the items that you might need for your pet during the lockdown. 

Precautions to keep in mind when you step out

Now after forming the list keeping in mind the precautions is also important. So here is a list that you should follow when you step out to buy the essentials.

When you go out –

  • Always carry a sanitiser and a mask (if you don’t have a mask cover your mouth with a scarf)
  • Wash your hands every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds
  • Maintain a 1-metre distance in queues
  • Don’t touch anything on your way like buttons, grills, walls and if you do then sanitise your hands immediately.
  • Don’t shake hands with anyone, try to wear latex gloves if possible. Discard the gloves if they are single use. 
  • Before and after picking up items from the store sanitise your hand. 
  • If the shop keeper gives loose change, sanitise your hands after taking it. 
  • After you come back home leave the grocery bag in one corner. Don’t touch anything and go to the washroom. Wash your clothes and mask with antiseptic liquid. Remember to keep your clothes aside as soon as you come back as clothes can also be a carrier. 
  • If possible sanitise the grocery bag. If not, sanitise your hands after you pick out the things from bag. Remember to not use anything without washing properly even if it is in a package.
  • If you are taking deliveries of like water cans, remember to sanitise your hand before touching the item. Also before putting it in the house to use wash it outside if possible with minimal water and antiseptic liquid 

At this time the most important thing to keep in mind is that every meal doesn’t have to be the most exciting. Try to make your basics fancy.

Just remember that there’s no need to buy out the entire stock at your local grocery store. Grocery stores will be open for long so no need to panic buy. It is also important to consider the needs of others and not overbuy. 

Picture credits: YouTube

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About the Author

Nishtha Pandey

I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life. Being a student of mass communication with literature and political science I love writing about things that bother me. Follow read more...

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