On Your Side: Stay safe at garage sales during pandemic

It's tradition for many this time of year, but times are very different.

Don't leave your house without a mask, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

If you spot a crowd, don't join.

"I'd wait so you can put that 6-foot space between you and anybody else that might also be shopping at a garage sale," said Julie Warner with Mercy Infection Prevention.

Social distancing is why Nixa postponed its annual city-wide garage sale.

"But you can still have a garage sale at your own home. We just ask you keep it to nineteen people or less at any given time," said Drew Douglas, with the city of Nixa.

Nixa has guidelines for garage sales during the pandemic. One of the rules is only touch what you plan to buy.

Clean items before you bring them into your home.

"If you don't do that you run the risk of picking up viruses, bacteria, not just COVID-19. I know that is on everyone's mind, but other things can also be picked up at garage sales that you would not want to bring into your home," said Warner.

Wash clothes immediately.

Here's a trick to keep your car clean when taking home items.

"How I handle mine is I put them in a bag and I have a tote. So that the item is never actually in my vehicle other than in the plastic," said Warner.

Use hand sanitizer after handling money. Wash your hands when you get home.

"Make sure when you get home you actually use soap and water. Hand hygiene with gel is great. Soap and water is best," said Warner.

If you plan to host a garage sale sooner than later, check with your city or county. There might be a list of special rules backed by your county health department.