Checkout lines snake deep into food aisles

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A day after President Donald Trump gave an Oval Office speech in an attempt to calm the public’s fears about the corona virus, all over Evanston and Wilmette more events were called off, schools closed and doctors’ appointments cancelled as area residents prepared to stay home as much as possible and stay away from crowds.

Threat of the contagious, and sometimes lethal, virus triggered a Thursday evening run on the Jewel at Green Bay Road in Wilmette. Everyone seemed to arrive at the grocery story to stock up on what they’d need while they were in quarantine or just trying to stay out of the virus’s reach. At the Jewel, their efforts were foiled as the essentials had already vanished from the store. Bread shelves were almost bare. Toilet paper shelves were empty.

Even getting into the store was hard. Getting out was worse.

The parking lot was jammed with shoppers waiting for spots to open. And once they parked and entered the store, they had to go back to the parking lot to snag grocery carts because no empty carts were available in the store.

In the express lanes, shoppers were backed up 20 or more carts deep. The regular check-out lines were backed up 14 and 15 deep with customers’ carts packed to the gills.

One shopper remarked she had not seen defensive shopping like this since snow storms kept residents home from work and school. Now the possibility of getting the contagious corona virus  is keeping many kids home all day and their parents, too, as many companies have urged employees to stay away from the office and work at home when possible.