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This man has a bench in Humboldt Park to himself as the weather briefly turned warm this past week.

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What Chicagoans miss most during the coronavirus-spawned stay-at-home order

Seeing their grandkids. Working. Getting paid. Making plans with friends and family. Going out to eat. Being able to find toilet paper. Normal life.

This man has a bench in Humboldt Park to himself as the weather briefly turned warm this past week.
| Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

This weekend marks the start of the fourth week under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

For many of us, it’s felt like three months. The order is in effect through April 30, though Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said Chicago and Illinois are “a long way away” from lifting the stay-at-home order because the number of cases is “not near the peak.”

As we all stay home to help save lives, we asked Chicagoans what they miss most since the stay-at-home order began. (Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.)

“I miss my grandkids. I miss leisurely grocery shopping without panic attacks and not finding toilet paper without going on safari to locate some. I also miss seeing the kiddos in the neighborhood playing outside and hearing their laughter.” — Beverly Hajek Cooper

“I miss my job and just the normalcy of seeing people. Stopping for a drink and throwing a little cash in a poker machine.” — Kelly Ha-Zee

“I work as an aide in elementary school, and I miss my students so much. I hope I get the chance to say goodbye to the fifth-graders before they leave for middle school.” — Leanne Pearce

“Being able to ride my bike along the lakefront. My ability to go for a run without having to dodge people on sidewalks.” — Jeremy Benson

“I miss having plans. Lunch with this friend, dinner with that friend, shopping with another friend, a movie or concert with someone else. I also miss a sense of being carefree, like running to the store whenever I like.” — Mary Molnar

“I miss my grandkids so much. I can’t believe we aren’t getting together to color eggs this year. It breaks my heart that I can’t be with them.” — Dina Cooper

“I have a group of senior ladies that do lunch every Thursday, I really miss meeting all of them catching up with all their news.” — Pat Reece

“Normal life: going to church in person, my customers and my income, structure, going to the store without anxiety and not having to wear a mask, going out on dinner dates with my husband, taking a ride through our state park, being able to find essentials I need with no problem, giving my elderly parents a hug.” — Lisa Bush

“Missing sitting down and eating at a restaurant. Walking down the Mag Mile enjoying a cocktail. Worshiping in my church during the holiest week in the year.” — Melanie Christy

“I miss my lunchtime chats with the Starbucks baristas and the manager at the Starbucks across from North Park University!” — Gloria Bailey

“Eating pho at Tank on Argyle, riding the L and the Monday spaghetti-and-meatballs special at Michael’s Pizza in Uptown.” — Sandy Salinas

“Seeing the kids at school. I miss every single one of them.” — Kristen Vasquez Musto

“My parents. I miss seeing them. And my daughters also miss them.” — Jenny X Castañeda

“I miss driving our son to Whitney Young in the morning and going for walks with our family.” — Gretchen Larson Skoog

“Greek restaurants. Always took them for granted. Now, all I really want to do is park myself in a Naugahyde booth, order a feta cheese and spinach omelet and devour my meal while staring at the revolving dessert display.” — Rose Panieri

“Not stressing over the possibility of getting sick.” — Erica Palmer

“Being able to go places with the family on the weekend.” — Nick Golz

“Going to mass on Sunday and going out breakfast afterwards with friends and family.” — Maria Luisa Ceniceros

“Going to the mall to shop for new spring clothes.” — Sharon Bartley

“Flying between Florida and Chicago whenever I want to see my grandkids.” — Cindy Schoop O’Brien

“The kids being in school.” — Kimberly Diaz-Vega

“Going to a grocery store and picking out my own groceries.” — Rosanne McCarter

I miss smiling at clerks at the supermarket. Hard to do with a mask on!” — Jason Betke

“I miss the hustle and bustle of everyday life.” — Tiffany R Stallworth

A Chicago bottomless brunch.” — Trish Hen

“To be able to come and go as I please.” — Mary Kaye Caldwell

“Going to get a haircut.” — Dan Bryk

The museums. We had just taken my 1-year-old daughter to the Shedd Aquarium, and she absolutely loved it! My 4-year old son loves the Museum of Science and Industry and has been asking me when we can go again every other day.” — Delia Conache

“Burritos. Malls. Family. A feeling of being free.” — Sasja Alskare

We’re making our vital coronavirus coverage free for all readers. See the latest news here. If you’re out of work during the shutdown, here’s how to apply for unemployment benefits.

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