Utahns who receive food aid from the federal government will now be able to use their benefits card to make online purchases — a critical step to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, can use their electronic balance transfer (EBT) cards for online grocery purchases with approved retailers, the Department of Workforce Services announced Wednesday.

The online SNAP purchases are subject to the same regulations used at on-site retail locations, officials said in a news release. And the federal funds cannot be used to pay for delivery fees.

The change is critical for individuals and families who have been trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Dale Ownby, DWS division director, said in the statement.

“Providing online purchasing options,” he said, “allows individuals more opportunity to practice social distancing, particularly for those who are high-risk.”

Walmart and Amazon Grocery are the only two retailers currently approved to accept SNAP benefits online.

Customers can use other forms of payment for ineligible SNAP items or amounts that exceed the current SNAP balance. They also will need to use another form of payment to cover delivery costs.

Information about SNAP and other assistance programs is available at jobs.utah.gov/covid19.