Chicagoans flee to their second homes

Chicago residents are moving out of the city to quarantine in less populated areas

TRD CHICAGO /
Mar.March 30, 2020 10:49 AM
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Credit: Getty Images)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Credit: Getty Images)

Chicagoans have taken a page from New Yorkers and are fleeing their city for their second homes.

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked fear in residents of densely populated areas. In New York, citydwellers are fleeing to the Hamptons where the market became saturated with desperate buyers hoping to hunker down.

Likewise, Los Angeles residents have been moving to communities near national parks to get away from overcrowded healthcare systems. Now, Chicagoans are doing the same to places like Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

“They’re coming up here like crazy,” David Curry, who operates Geneva Lakefront Realty in Williams Bay, told Crain’s. “They can still go out here.”

Susan Knapp, who has owned a weekend home in the southwest corner of Michigan, said she has rarely spent more than a week in her Michiana property. But on March 12, Knapp moved there from her Chicago apartment to permanently self-isolate out of fear of the coronavirus.

“I have a compromised immune system and I’m in the 65-and-over age group, so I’m trying to minimize my risk,” Knapp told Crain’s. “When I go for a walk here, if I see anyone, they’re a hundred feet away. In the East Village, I’d be constantly crossing the street to get away from people.”

Second-home areas around Chicago have much smaller COVID-19 numbers. Health officials said they don’t anticipate a problem with second-home owners crowding hospital beds in those areas, like what is happening around L.A. [Crain’s] — Jacqueline Flynn


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