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CHAMPAIGN — Grocery stores were busy Friday afternoon in Champaign-Urbana, but customers didn’t appear to be panicking before Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order goes into effect at 5 p.m. today.

Instead, customers appeared to heed his call not to hoard food, as grocery stores and other essential services will remain open.

“There is absolutely no need to rush out to a grocery store or gas station,” he said.

While more grocers were wearing face masks than they were a week or two ago, business at local grocery stores seemed a bit more crowded than they typically would be on a Friday afternoon.

Nearly all the carts were in use at Harvest Market, where the check-out line stretched several customers deep.

At the Schnucks in Savoy, the freezers with ice cream and frozen pizza seemed a bit low but not sold out, and there was plenty of canned food and other staples.

As the governor made his announcement at 3 p.m., the parking lot at the Walmart in Savoy wasn’t too full.

And at Binny’s on North Prospect Avenue in Champaign, business was brisk Friday afternoon.

Just like grocery stores, liquor stores are considered essential services and will remain open.

It was a different story at Market Place Mall, where the workers at the few stores that remained open probably outnumbered the shoppers.

Some food-court vendors were open, but the tables were pushed to the middle and cordoned off, as no dining in is allowed.

And each of the anchor stores — Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Dick’s and Field & Stream — had already announced they would be closing temporarily.

Many of the kiosks were closed, as were many of the smaller stores throughout the mall.

“We will miss you and can’t wait to see you soon,” American Eagle’s sign said. “Keep smiling!”

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