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Life Changes After Illinois Governor Implements Stay-At-Home Order

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

People in Illinois and California face similar orders to stay home. And we start with Linda Lutton of our member station WBEZ in Chicago.

LINDA LUTTON, BYLINE: Michael Donely was making deliveries by bike as Illinois' order to stay at home took effect.

MICHAEL DONELY: This is like a ghost town. This is like early Sunday morning out here.

LUTTON: But this was Saturday evening in one of the city's hottest restaurant districts. Instead of crowds and traffic, you could hear the birds chirping. It was the same thing everywhere, even on the city's iconic Magnificent Mile, eerily empty.

Donely's business is shifting. Many higher-end restaurants he once delivered for are closed now, so he'll deliver anything.

DONELY: I could go to the grocery store. I could pick up some things from Walgreens for somebody. I could be of service for those who may not want to go to the store. I could put myself on the front line.

LUTTON: Illinois' stay-at-home order allows people like Donely to go to work or the grocery store. They can go to the laundromat or doctor - essential services. People can also walk their dogs or go jogging.

Tom Burke and his wife were pushing their toddler son on a little tricycle.

TOM BURKE: You never thought twice about going to the playground with him or touching door handles. All the workers in the grocery store - that type of stuff - you see the commitment that they're doing now. You kind of took that for granted before.

LUTTON: It's hard to find Chicagoans who think the governor's order is wrong. And some, like Eades Neal, who I met at a dollar store on the South Side, don't even mind hunkering down.

EADES NEAL: It's not a problem. It's called Netflix - Netflix and snacks. Books, Netflix, snacks - we're good.

LUTTON: This virus is scary, another customer told me. That's why there's no people out. The cold has helped, too. And Chicago police put around a thousand additional officers on the street this weekend, though they didn't issue any citations, just reminders as they try to get people to follow the stay-at-home order on their own.

Despite the forced separation, Chicagoans have been coming up with creative ways to be together. One couple used Facebook to organize a citywide singalong. Chicagoans opened their windows at exactly the same time and sang.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) We've got each other, and that's a lot for love. We'll give it a shot.

LUTTON: For NPR News, I'm Linda Lutton in Chicago.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Whoa, we're halfway there. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.