How to Prepare for a Coronavirus Quarantine

How to Prepare for a Coronavirus Quarantine by Daisy Luther for The Organic Prepper

All over the world, people are in quarantine at their homes due to Covid19, a coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands. Some are in quarantine voluntarily – either they’ve recently returned from a place where the virus is widespread or they feel that social distancing is a good idea for them. Others are in mandatory quarantines enforced by local governments.

Either way, the basics are the same. I’ve gotten lots of questions about preparing for the possibility of a quarantine, so I wanted to address the basics. This article is written with the non-prepper in mind, so if you’re new to the preparedness world, you’re in the right place. This is a very basic primer. If you want to get more into the specifics of preparing for this particular virus and outbreak, check out this book.

What is quarantine?

First things first, we’ll go over some of the rules of quarantine.

The main rule is, nobody comes in and nobody goes out. If you are in quarantine, you are distancing yourself from people aside from the ones in quarantine with you, like your family or roommates. The reason for this is to stop the spread of an illness or possible illness.


  • You have it and you don’t want others to get it
  • You’ve been exposed to it and don’t know if you have it but you don’t want to spread it in case you do
  • You want to avoid catching the illness and you don’t know who has it so you’re staying away from everyone to avoid exposure
  • You are under mandatory quarantine – the government has told you and possibly everyone else to stay home under penalty of law

It doesn’t really matter which of these reasons you’re in quarantine. The basics are the same.

Whatever supplies you start your quarantine period with will need to last you throughout the length of time you are unable to leave your home.

What supplies do you need to stock up on for a quarantine?

Let’s start with a very basic list and then I’ll go into more detail further on in the article. Imagine that right this minute, you had to stay home for a month. What would you need that you don’t already have?

  • Food
  • Water
  • Medications
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Sanitation and cleaning supplies
  • Pet supplies
  • Special needs supplies (for babies or elderly family members, for example)
  • Entertainment

You may have a lot of things on hand already or you may need to go buy things. Before you go spend a fortune on supplies, check to see what you already have. I know it’s nerve-wracking to wait when you feel like you need to get to the store RIGHT NOW, but it’s much better to spend your money wisely and see what gaps you need to fill, as opposed to getting duplicates of what you already have.

While the urge to just order everything online may be strong, it would be advisable to get as much as possible locally so that you can have it on hand without waiting. The emergency food I recommendis delivering anywhere from 15-30 days from now due to high demand and that may not arrive soon enough. At the very least, grab supplies locally to meet your immediate needs. If you’ve waited too long and the shelves are nearly bare, here are some ideas for the last-minute shopper.

If you want a downloadable quarantine checklist, go here to sign up for my email listand get one absolutely free.

Now let’s look at each of these categories more closely.

Food and water for a quarantine

When you set out to purchase food for a potential quarantine, there are a few things to consider. One of these things is whether or not you expect to have power and running water throughout the event. There are a lot of variables (more on that in this article) but it’s advisable that you focus on non-perishable foods as much as possible.

At the same time, you want to get things your family will actually eat. Picky eaters can be tough to feed at the best of times and they often become even more stubborn during stressful situations. Think about ways to make your picky person’s favorites with shelf-stable supplies. For example, a friend of mine has a son who is autistic. He only wants to eat hot dogs, particularly when he is under stress. So she stocked up on canned Vienna sausages. It’s not her son’s ideal choice but it’s pretty close.

Another thing to consider is that if the power does go out, you may not be able to use your normal cooking methods. I like to keep a variety of food on hand that doesn’t require any cooking for this purpose. You can find a list here of no-cook emergency foods.

If you have power and running water, things are a thousand times easier. Think about the things you normally eat – it’s good to stay as close as possible to your normal diet to keep your digestive system happy and to prevent a mutiny in your home. (However, it can be extremely expensive to buy a couple of months’ worth of food at a time.)

Start with the fresh foods that you normally eat. Then, shift to the foods in your freezer and those that last a bit longer on the shelf or in the refrigerator. Finally, move on to your shelf-stable foods.

For a tasty one-month menu of shelf-stable foods along with a handy shopping list, check out this PDF guide, The Stockpile Cafe. (I just made it half price – you can grab it now for only $5)

Here are some ideas for foods to stock up on. This list is very general so you can tailor it to your family. For example, you can choose the organic version or the inexpensive version, you can opt for your family’s particular favorites, etc.

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