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You may be carrying COVID-19 into your home on your shoes

One health expert warns, as more and more stores open up, we should all be taking at least one very important step when it comes to our shoes.

It's called the Keen fit shield.

It's the latest effort by the Portland-based footwear company to protect retailers, staff, and customers from COVID-19.

It's pretty simple, really. Its 6-foot high vinyl shield.

"So basically, in those classic sit and fit stores you can put the person who is trying on the shoes behind the shield and the person who is doing the fitting can go on the other side of the shield," explained director of marketing Ash Williams. 

The customer pokes their feet out the bottom and they can have their shoes fitted in a safe way.

"We're just, again, creating that very safe environment for people to feel confident they can go into stores and get the best possible experience," Williams said.

It is certainly an innovative way to keep people safe as more stores open up and more people start shopping in them.

Which brings up another concern regarding shoes.

It's a concern that doesn't have to do with trying them on but with simply wearing them out and about, especially when going into places like the supermarket or other places where there might be a number of people.

"The issue with shoes is related to one of the major paths of transmission, the droplet," explained Dr. Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University.

Chi said, although small, there is a risk of bringing the COVID-19 virus into our homes on the bottom of our shoes.

Let's say an infected person coughs and an infected droplet falls to the ground and you step on it. It could attach to your shoe. Then, when you walk into your home, especially if you have carpeting, that now dried droplet can rub off and become airborne, or as scientists call it, an aerosol.

"In an indoor, not well-ventilated space, it can evolve into an aerosol," said Chi. "That's the most dangerous form of transmission."

Dr. Chi stressed while the risk is low, there is still a risk. 

And the best and easiest way to minimize that risk is to simply take off your shoes before you head inside.

But you can also disinfect them.

"You can spray the bottom of your shoe with alcohol that will kill the potential virus," explained Chi.

Because while many stores are taking innovative steps to protect us, we need to do our parts too.

"We will be in the is pandemic much longer that we wish for or expected," said Chi. "That means we have to adapt." 

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