Coronavirus: Grocery stores install Plexiglass shields, embrace social distancing to limit COVID-19 spread

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's one of the places you have to go: the grocery store.

Most of the big supermarkets in the Chicago area do have a social distancing plan in place, with some even marking the distance near the checkout, making customers stand 6 feet apart. But the reality for some shoppers isn't so ideal.

"People are kind of being mindful but you're still going to get within 6 feet of someone at some point, like, it's very crowded," said Robert Keller.

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Big chains like Walmart, Jewel, Mariano's and more are putting tape or other signs on the ground trying to help people stay at least six feet apart at checkout.

Jewel and Mariano's are even working to install Plexiglass shields at the checkout to separate checker and customers.

"Everyone's keeping their distance," said shopper Bradley Fujimoto. "It's not as crowded as it used to be. It used to be very packed and long lines. So it's dwindled down a bit."

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Shoppers at Carnival Grocery in Oak Park say their store is doing it right, too.

"They get it," said Jean Peterman. "Not everybody does."
Owner Arthur Paris said social distancing inside is an adjustment for everyone, but that his customers and employees know it's the right thing.

"People have been really good about being respectful towards each other and not standing too close at the registers," Paris said.

He's encouraging social distancing with taped X's spaced 6 feet apart at the checkout line and sanitizing wipes throughout the store. But as every grocer is handing the pandemic a little differently, he's hoping for some guidance from the governor on a solution for everyone.

"I think it would help if there was a plan, I say that guardedly, because I don't want too many people reaching in and telling us what to do, but I think it would help if there was a plan," Paris said. "It would help my employees and customers feel safe."

Governor Pritzker instead said that this is about personal responsibility.

"I know there are some stores that are enforcing it...people need to take responsibility for themselves," Pritzker said.

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