WINDSOR, ONT. -- Many Windsor-Essex residents and businesses have been following COVID-19 sanitization protocols since the start of the pandemic, but some infectious disease experts say certain precautions are not really necessary.

LaStella Supermarket has been sanitizing and enforcing cleaning protocols for 15 months.

“We wipe everything,” says one of the owners, Stella Occhinero. “The meat counter, the deli counter, the takeout counter.”

Occhinero says it has become routine for staff and customers.

However, some infectious disease experts say the risk of surface transmission of COVID-19 is actually low.

“What we’ve learned now, 15 months later is that that sort of transmission, although it can occur, it really accounts for about 5 to 10 per cent of cases that pop up,” says Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Queens University.

Evans says he sees why shopping carts are sanitized.

“Shopping cart is a high touch surface so people are going to use that frequently,” says Evans.

He says sanitizing each grocery item is not necessary.

“Really the turnover of product et cetera is not conducive to having transmission of virus,” says Evans.

He says the main thing is to wash their hands.

“I don’t think you need to wipe down the bags or any of the items that you’ve purchased, but wash your hands,” says Evans. “Put your stuff away in the kitchen or wherever else you’re storing your food items and then wash your hands again because you’ve now moved all those items, and that should be fine.”

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit CEO Theresa Marentette says for now it is still important for to follow the sanitization protocols at businesses.

“The sanitization and disinfection, those are measures throughout the pandemic, we continue to do that here,” says Marentette.

Even if the risk level is lower than previously thought, LaStella says they will still clean everything on a regular basis.

“I think we’re going to continue that for a while,” says Occhinero.