The coronavirus has changed things big and small, including our daily errands. Menial tasks, like going to the bank and the gym, are no longer "essential." Staying six feet apart in these populated places simply isn’t possible.
The good news is, a lot of your “in-person” errands can now be done virtually. Thanks to technology, you don’t have to leave your house if you don’t want to.
Here are nine errands you should consider doing online:
Some healthcare providers have begun seeing patients for elective procedures again. But does that mean you should go see your doctor for a routine check-up tomorrow? Probably not.
Many healthcare services have gone virtual. In fact, a lot of doctors would prefer to use telehealth visits to diagnose and treat patients. Understandably, they’re worried about catching the virus.
Unless you’re seriously sick, go ahead: Ask your doctor for a virtual appointment. Not only will this keep you and others healthy, but it’ll free up office space for those patients who do need an in-person visit.
Unless you need to meet with a notary public or access your safe deposit box, there’s no reason to set foot in a brick-and-mortar bank right now. Just about everything else can be done remotely.
You can deposit checks, pay bills, and transfer funds between accounts through an online dashboard. Some debit cards can even contribute to your savings account automatically. Each time you make a purchase, the difference between the transaction and the next dollar is deposited into a linked savings account.
What if you need to open or close an account? Call your bank. Chances are, they’d be happy to mail the forms.
Grocery stores have been overwhelmed during the pandemic. Ordering your groceries online can help you avoid the crowd, stay safe, and save time.
Get an app like Instacart. Choose your store, pick out your food items, and schedule a drop-off day and time. Keep the app handy while your shopper is in store: He or she may have questions about substitutions, given that many grocery stores have been struggling to stay stocked.
Do you need a new pair of slippers? Maybe a birthday gift for your daughter?
Instead of driving to Target or Walmart, get online. Not only will you have more options to choose from, but you’re likely to score free shipping. With online shopping up 15% from this time last year, many retailers are using the perk to compete for consumers’ e-commerce dollars.
What if you don’t want to give more money to Amazon? Pay a personal shopper to buy locally. Small business owners are depending on people like you, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint to boot.
In recent weeks, some gyms have decided to reopen under CDC guidelines. And while some people feel safe going back, you may not feel comfortable taking the risk. There’s nothing wrong with that.
With all of the workout routines available online, you don’t have to leave your home to get your sweat on. A lot of fitness studios have started offering free workouts online. Influencers on Instagram and Facebook are also posting workout videos you can follow along with at home.
Think, too, about joining an app-based workout community. AloMoves, Nike Run Club, Fitbit Coach, and Down Dog can help you connect with people who like to get active in the same ways you do.
Do you serve your community through weekly volunteering? Good for you. You don’t have to stop simply because the pandemic is keeping you indoors.
Ask your volunteer coordinator what you can do remotely to make a difference. Simply spreading the word through social media may be helpful. Maybe calling your elected representatives is what the organization needs most.
If you’re looking for something new, there are all sorts of ways to volunteer online. European nonprofit Be My Eyes lets you help people with vision challenges read labels, fill out forms, and more. All you need is the app.
Is your latest project stalled because you’re worried about leaving the house? You can still do what you love, even while keeping your distance.
Perhaps you miss your Wednesday night cooking classes. Several famous chefs, including Antoni Porowski, have cooking classes on Instagram that walk you through delicious recipes.
If museum-going is more your style, take the opportunity to see collections all around the world. From the National World War I Museum to London’s British Museum, most art and history exhibits are now available for viewing online.
Why bother dropping by a FedEx or UPS location when most shipping services will come to you? You may pay a little more, but it’s a small price if you’re concerned about catching the virus.
Call ahead, or get online to tell your shipper of choice what you need sent. Select your pick-up time, and box everything up ahead of time. You don’t want to be caught with an unwrapped package when the delivery truck shows up.
If you don’t have a washer and dryer at home, then you’ve likely been making trips to the laundromat every couple of weeks. Why put yourself at risk? Like shippers, many laundromats now offer pick-up services.
With this errand, it’s important to tell your launderer what you want. If you’re sending a lot of whites, do you want them bleached? If your load contains mixed fabrics, should everything be washed in cold water?
There’s no shame in tackling your errands online. It doesn’t make you lazy; it makes you cautious. If the coronavirus is stressing you out, tackling your errands online can put your mind at ease.
Remember, too, that things like laundry pick-up and grocery delivery keep members of your community employed. They appreciate the work, especially when the economy is in trouble.
Don’t let the pandemic stop you from living your life. Finding safe ways to accomplish your errands can give you a sense of control, not to mention keep you and your loved ones healthy.