PILSEN — As coronavirus continues to spread and the threat of shortages has led Chicagoans to empty grocery store shelves, Latinos are waiting in long lines to stock up on tortillas in Little Village and Pilsen.
Lines have routinely stretched more than 20 people long outside El Milagro Tortillas, at 3050 W. 26th St. near the Little Village arches, since late last week.
Reached by phone Tuesday, an El Milagro employee told Block Club the consistently long lines were unprecedented and were caused by people buying up pantry staples — including tortillas — in bulk as coronavirus spreads.
On Monday morning, people also lined up outside El Popocatepetl Tortilleria, 1854 W. 21st St. in Pilsen.
Shortly after noon, the shop was closed.
At El Milagro Tortillas’ Pilsen location, 1927 S. Blue Island Ave., people were turned away because the shop ran out of tortillas.
A security guard told patrons and a Block Club reporter more tortillas would be available in the afternoon.
While there was no shortage of tortillas at El Milagro’s Little Village shop, owners were limiting the amount of tortillas folks could purchase during a visit, a worker said.
The desire to stock up on items during an emergency is one that gives people the feeling they are in control, said Katherine Cowan, a spokeswoman for the National Association of School Psychologists.
But there is a downside.
“You don’t want to do something that undermines other peoples’ ability to be prepared, like buying all the hand sanitizer,” Cowan said.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
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