The maximum size of the gathering of people allowed got smaller and smaller every day last week, both by the state of Illinois and by the Federal government. If quickly went down from one thousand to ten people, and then on Friday around noon, somebody posted in work slack that the governor is going to announce the shelter in place order. In three minutes, almost everybody excused themselves from work and ran out shopping before even listening to the governor’s announcement.
I did not, because I detest the idea of hoarding, and because both my fridges and my pantry were far from being empty. Besides, I didn’t fancy the idea of being in the crowd. So I didn’t. I turned on WBEZ on my phone and listened to the governor’s announcement.
I think it was a very reasonable announcement. I am pasting below the whole video, but only the first 10+ minutes are essential.
The stay at home order was going into effect at 5 PM on Saturday, and although the stores were supposed to remain open, people decided to stock up on stuff.
What I did – I called my eye doctor. My next post-surgical appointment is on April 1, and I was not sure whether it would be considered essential. They told me they are not sure yet, and that they will call if they will need to reschedule. So far, I didn’t get a call from them.
Initially, I was going to take Mom shopping Friday late afternoon, but then I postponed it till Saturday, and later called her and said that I would rather run her shopping list for her, instead of taking her to the store. It turned out there were not that many people inside, and there were almost no empty shelves, but some looked sparse. The two items which were missing, and which I needed were seedless cucumbers (they were on sale, and could run out regardless) and the flour – only more expensive brand was left, and in small quantities. I took one bag – I was running out of it because I was baking more than usual recently.
I still ended up buying more than usual, or rather it was “my usual” in the weeks when I expect house guests. This time, I objectively needed more food, because I didn’t eat out, and also, I am cut off our office pantry. The content of my grocery cart was also not a lockdown style but a holiday style. I got some fancy oils and grains I was low on, and a lot of “just in case” stuff.
When I got home, I realized that I bought something I didn’t plan on but forgot some things I needed. I didn’t feel like going to the store one more time, but on Sunday morning I decided to walk to the Eurofresh store, to combine shopping and exercising :). There were almost no people, and there was food—everything except flour :).
Also, along with other grocery stores, Eurofresh established senior hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 AM to 9 AM. That allows seniors to come to the store after intensive cleaning. Besides, other people are asked to stay away during these hours.
I am still learning to live in the new norm. It is difficult to think about sanitizing everything, when this habit is not in your fingertips and not in your brain. I know that I break a lot of rules unintentionally. Like many other people, at first I didn’t realize the whole magnitude of the disaster. And now I am learning – with the rest of the country/