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If you could go back to the start of the pandemic, what would you do differently?

Given my mom a really, really big hug. Invested in Purell. Gotten new glasses, comfortable face masks, more books, a super-short haircut. Put back the 500 rolls of toilet paper.

Investing in hand sanitizer makers might have been a good investment before the pandemic caused demand and prices to skyrocket.
Investing in hand sanitizer makers might have been a good investment before the pandemic caused demand and prices to skyrocket.
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Back in March, how many of us can say we saw exactly how the coronavirus would play out? So we asked Chicagoans: If you could go back to the start of the pandemic, knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?

Some of these answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“I would have given my mother a really, really big hug, held her hand for a little bit longer and told her again how much I love her. She has dementia and is in a nursing home, caught COVID-19 (asymptomatic), and I am praying to be able to dance (she loves music/dance) with her on her 94th birthday in August.” — Martha Miranda

“I would have gotten a different job. Calling grocery employees heroes is just an excuse to not pay us well and treat us worse than normal.” — John Tacopina

“Had a pedicure, gotten a super-short haircut, stocked up on frozen pizza, gone to see ‘Emma’ at the theater, had my car’s oil changed, gotten together with friends instead of saying, ‘Let’s hang out when the weather gets nice.’ ” — Tonia Lorenz

“I would enjoy every last second more. If I would have known how everything would stop for this amount of time, I would’ve made sure to do everything I wanted before the quarantine.” — Ricky Martin

“I’d stop procrastinating and go for a new eyeglasses appointment. On the way home, I’d buy a load of books at Goodwill and stop at Menard’s for a good, comfortable mask.” — Kelly Cramp

“I’d make bigger purchases.” — Mem M. Martinez

“Invest in Purell and, as always, Amazon.” — Albert Kulas

“I would have eaten a steak at Tango Sur with a bottle of wine. That would have held me over for a while.” — Paula Franzese

“Buy lots of Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer.” — Sharon Anderson

“Braced myself for the long haul. Had no idea it would go on this long.” — Kristine Hulce Romano

“I would have made my mom quarantine at my house.” — Steve Schryer

“Mani-pedi, eyebrows and hair. I had everything else that I needed. Including the ability to work remotely.” — Sharee Jackson

“Have one last hurrah with friends and family to share love, laughs and hugs.” — Elisa Maloberti

“I would have moved my daughter and granddaughters in with us.” — Christine Bock

“Would have voted differently in March when it was safe to vote in person.” — Cheryl Majewski-Avgerinos

“Would have gotten a haircut.” — John Green

“Invest in Zoom. Buy more meat.” — Mike Glenn

“Managed my money better and taken a decent vacation.” — Anthony V. Espinosa

“Stocked up on a few things.” — Pat Kelleher-Liszka

“Put more money in the stock market.” — Markman Morrissey

“Not buy my kids a full summer wardrobe to sit inside.” — Danielle Sykes