HALIFAX -- If you're the designated grocery shopper at your house, you probably already know the experience is far less enjoyable that it used to be.

COVID-19 restrictions and policies have a lot of shoppers on edge, and have fundamentally changed the way we shop.

"I'm getting better at it," says Wendy Phillips, who shops for her family of five. "I think the first trip to the grocery store was a bit nerve-racking. I had a mask on then. Trying to take all the precautions."

Her family was away for March break when COVID-19 became a problem in Nova Scotia.

They quarantined for a couple of weeks, but a family of five needs plenty of groceries.

"I did the online shopping as soon as we returned to Canada, and that was a good experience overall," Phillips said. "I hadn't done it before. I would do it again, but haven't yet."

The shopping experience in Canada has changed dramatically because of the pandemic.

From distancing to disinfectant, we even have to line up to get inside.

Many people are also going less frequently -- but buying more, says shopper Brad Lovell.

"Before, you'd just pop in to grab something on the way home from work or something like that," Lovell said. "So, I've just trying to be a bit more deliberate with my choices and get a bit of a bigger list, a bigger load.

A new survey shows more than 80 per cent of us are using extra hand-sanitizer at the grocery store and more than 40 per cent are wiping items down when we get them home.

In fact, only five per cent of Canadians say they're taking no extra precautions.

Dalhousie University food professor Sylvain Charlebois says shoppers are expecting extra precautions from retailers right now, too, and grocers are more than happy to comply.

"They're doing this because they know the public is expecting this," Charlebois said. "It's not just about protecting the public; it's also about making a difference and helping out from a public health perspective."

Charlebois doesn't expect the current situation will be the new normal when COVID-19 is no longer at the centre of our lives, but for now, that's what it is.

"Until things lift more, I'm going to continue to wear a mask and gloves and just try to do the right thing," Phillips said.

That's something we're all trying to do in the current climate of shopping stress.