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(Illinois Farmers Market Association / Facebook)

A flood of farmers markets are getting ready to open, but visitors should expect a different experience in 2020. For starters, there will be no picking through produce and dawdling will be discouraged. 

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Restaurants and businesses in Chinatown prepare to reopen on Thursday, June 24, 2020, the eve of Chicago’s transition into phase four. (WTTW News)

It was the first neighborhood to feel the economic impact of COVID-19. Months later, on the eve of the city’s move into phase four, the enduring message is that Chinatown is still here, and it is open for business.

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(Daniel Dionne / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that Chicago will move into phase four of its reopening plan Friday, along with the rest of the state, but continued to hammer home her themes of vigilance and caution.

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(WTTW News)

Like many other commercial corridors across the city, Milwaukee Avenue suffered extensive damage just as businesses were about to start welcoming shoppers inside once again.

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Scammers are taking advantage of consumers seeking hard-to-find items like masks and gloves, according to the Better Business Bureau. (KlausHausmann / Pixabay)

With consumers seeking personal protective equipment and companionship amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Better Business Bureau is reporting a surge in scams for fake masks, gloves and even puppies.

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(Megan / Flickr)

What to do with groceries has been the source of much debate. But the amount of the virus that survives on surfaces is a tiny fraction of the original material, experts say. 

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(Megan / Flickr)

Masks are now mandatory in a handful of states, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has not yet followed suit in Illinois. He does, however, recommend that shoppers should “absolutely” wipe down anything they buy from stores.

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(Ben Schumin / Flickr)

How much food should you be buying per trip? How to draw the line between hoarding and stocking up? A Chicago dietitian shares her advice for grocery shopping during the pandemic.

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Virtual farmers markets aim to prop up local food producers during the COVID shutdown. (Gemma Billings / Flickr)

From Green City Market’s spanking new app to McKinley Park’s Google spreadsheet, farmers market organizers are working overtime to support growers and get fresh, local food in the hands of Chicagoans.

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Some grocers are nixing the use of reusable shopping bags out of concern for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Karin Beil / Flickr)

Grocery stores remain one of the few places in Chicago where large numbers of people are still able to mingle, and that — rightfully — has put both employees and customers on edge.

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Grocers are setting aside shopping hours for seniors, to protect them from COVID-19. (Lynn Friedman / Flickr)

A number of grocers and big-box retailers have announced special shopping hours for senior citizens and others vulnerable to COVID-19 to ensure less crowded situations, as well as access to essential items.

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A sample farmers market to-go box. (Courtesy of Closed Loop Farms)

Closed Loop Farms is leading a group of local food producers to deliver everything from Michelin-worthy greens to naturally fermented sodas directly to your door.

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(WTTW News)

Panic-buying is taking hold of shoppers across the country. Already, toilet paper and hand sanitizer are flying off store shelves. How are grocery stores maintaining their supplies? And will their supply chains hold up under the strain of the crisis?

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(Sharon Mollerus / Flickr)

A couple of Brits created the website howmuchtoiletpaper.com  to help demonstrate need vs. panic buying.

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This combination of March 11, 2020 photos made by investigators with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office shows a $4.47 shelf price sticker for a gallon of Clorox bleach and $8.99 on a price scanner for the same item at a Menards store in Jackson, Mich. (Michigan Attorney General’s Office via AP)

Across a country where lines are long, some shelves are empty and patience is thin, authorities are receiving a surge of reports about merchants trying to cash in on the coronavirus crisis with outrageous prices, phony cures and other scams. 

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Shoppers line up outside Costco in Lincoln Park on Monday, March 16, 2020. (WTTW News)

Illinois restaurants and bars are preparing for their last call for dine-in business until at least the end of the month. Meanwhile, grocers big and small are scrambling to restock shelves.