Editor's note: The Rochester Voice will be reporting on all local developments with regard to the COVID-19 outbreak in this space daily. Check back throughout the day for additional information as it becomes available.
ROCHESTER - City officials are asking area residents to not hoard food, to avoid cash transactions and continue social distancing as many continue to hunker down during a two-week national state of emergency enacted by President Trump a week ago.
Because hoarding of food staples has been an ongoing concern, City Manager Blaine Cox and Mayor Caroline McCarley sought to assure residents on Friday that there is currently no food shortage and that everyone should only "buy what you need."
Both Hannaford and Market Basket officials declined to comment on whether the had developed strategies to reduce customers' overbuying of food, sanitizing products and other essentials.
Both supermarkets have instituted weekly "seniors only" hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Hannaford's will be from 6-7 a.m., with Market Baskets' starting a half hour earlier, from 5:30-7 a.m.
City officials also shared some refrigerator stacking pointers many may not have known, including that when storing food the bottom surface should be for raw poultry followed upward by ground beef, whole cut beef and pork, fish, fruits and vegetables, and prepared foods.
The also noted that overpacking the refrigerator can cause the temperature to rise. It should never be above 40 degrees.
They also urged folks taking advantage of takeout orders for food to pay online.
If cash is exchanged, they advise folks to "place to the side for 72 hours and wash your hands thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds."
They also urge those getting food delivered have driver contact you when they arrive and have them place the food outside the entryway, and if you live in a building or apartment house to have the driver leave it outside so they don't have to enter the building.
As of today there still have been no presumed or confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Rochester or Strafford County.
Other safety and public service tips to remember include
Wash hands before leaving the house to pick up food. If you have hand sanitizer, use before and after the exchange of food.
Do not flush anything down your sewage lines other than toilet paper. Other items, like wipes (even flushable), will clog septic and city sewer lines, potentially creating other public health crises.
Open doors and windows daily to improve air flow, and get outside as much as possible.