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Coronavirus In Illinois: Grocery Stores To Step Up Social Distancing Efforts

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker has outlined new measures to help protect grocery shoppers and clerks from the spread of COVID-19.

Among the changes, stores will temporary prohibit reusable bags, and that's not all. Expect to hear more of the sounds of food funneled into cars parked outside your local supermarket, as stores will encourage shoppers to use online ordering and curbside pickup.

The governor said groceries also will encourage customers to use self-checkout lanes to reduce interactions with store employees, and to use cashless purchases when they do use a cashier, to speed up the checkout process.

Pritzker said the state is working with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to make shopping safer for consumers and workers.

Stores also will be posting signs reminding customers to keep at least six feet of distance from others while shopping for groceries. Regular announcements also will be made over public address systems.

Pritzker said consumers also should expect to see more markers at or near checkout lines -- the bight colored tape providing pre-measured distances to separate those in line, giving shoppers safer places to wait before paying.

Stores also might start installing shield guards in front of cashiers and baggers.

Limiting or eliminating contact is one of the ways Illinois hopes to the slow the spread of the virus. Saturday marks one week since the governor issued his "stay at home" order.

While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, Pritzker believes that order is working, with some exceptions.

"The vast, vast majority of people in Illinois are doing precisely what we ask them to do, but it's the others, the people who aren't obeying this stay at home order that's putting everyone in danger," he said. "I'm sorry, but this is not the time for it. People are going to die if you don't obey the rules."

No doubt, you already have seen some of these precautions at stores, but expect to see more strict measures in the days ahead.

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