How a social distancing app helps people classified as “vulnerable” shop safely

Edilson is a Community Ambassador for Crowdless in Brazil.

For me, one of the people classified as “vulnerable,” shopping in a crowded store brings an added risk of contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus.

My name is Edilson and I live in São Bernardo do Campo City, one of the largest cities in São Paulo State. If you know a bit about Brazil, you’ll be aware that the state of São Paulo is Brazil’s most economically productive and populous state. It accounts for more than one-fifth

of the national population. I work for a large company that sells technology appliances.

I was in a self-imposed lockdown even before the Brazilian government imposed the national lockdown. This is because I’m recovering from a disease so, when we were told to stay home it didn’t change my routine very much. In the beginning, I was worried about the whole situation but now I’m slowly adapting to this new way of living. Perhaps this is because I’m spending my time studying and preparing for the moment when I can get back to work. This makes me feel more relaxed about the lockdown rules.

The pandemic has affected my community in various ways. If you’re older than 60 and have caught the disease, you stay home. We’ve had a lot of difficulty with schools as they didn’t have time to prepare content for online home schooling and of course many people have become unemployed because of the pandemic. I’m afraid that it will take a lot of time to recover economically from this.

At the beginning of the lockdown in Brazil, I was surprised at how many people were going to supermarkets at the same time, even when there was such a great risk of becoming infected.

In the condominium where I live, neighbors have offered to shop for people who are vulnerable and who are at higher risk. Otherwise the alternatives to going to supermarkets are delivery services or asking help from volunteers who make purchases for people who are at risk. I’m very grateful for these kinds of gestures as they’re so important to save lives and reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Since I can’t leave the house due to my disease, my wife does our shopping and the shopping for our vulnerable neighbours. Being able to know the best time and place to shop — to go when it is less crowded makes the shopping much easier and less stressful for her. For example, we know that supermarkets will be crowded after pay day and on the day that people get their government benefits. But even if we don’t shop on those days, the capacity limit in our supermarkets is not always respected by managers, which creates queues. So, it is very important to know about the capacity before leaving home to shop. And to know this I looked for innovative solutions to solve this problem.

In search of information or an app that could help me, I found Crowdless, which offers such a solution. It’s really innovative since it allows people to interact by updating with real-time information on how crowded stores are.

I strongly recommend using the Crowdless app. Crowdless is part of the solution, because you participate and contribute to its accuracy and help people stay safe.

Download Crowdless on iOS or Android today: crowdlessapp.co/app.
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How a social distancing app helps people classified as “vulnerable” shop safely was originally published in Crowdless on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.