Protests over the police killing of George Floyd that splintered into widespread looting and vandalism of retail stores in Chicago have called into question the city’s planned business reopening, which is set for Wednesday.
The long-awaited reopening would come as the city has been in coronavirus lockdown for months, lagging behind other parts of the state that have begun reopening. The mayor’s Phase 3 plan, dubbed “Cautiously Reopen,” would also see city services opening up, but not until June 8. The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, said she was concerned that the gathering of protesters would lead to an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections, Crain’s reported.
Responding to a question about the reopening plan, the mayor said, she was concerned about the “businesses preparing to reopen,” the outlet reported. But given the violence over the weekend, she added, those efforts “went down in flames.”
Lightfoot has denied accusations she was more interested in protecting the Loop and its retail stores over the weekend than areas of the South and West Side. “There is no way, no way we would ever let any neighborhood receive more resources and protection than any others. Ever,” Lightfoot said, according to Crain’s.
She said there were more than 10,000 calls of looting in the city between Friday and Sunday, Crain’s reported. The mayor said the city was working to clean up from the vandalism, adding that the Department of Buildings has helped 150 property owners board up their shops and that the sanitation department had switched to 12-hour shifts. Among the damage, numerous cannabis dispensaries reported their stores were broken into and cleaned out.
The mounting protests and violence led to a 9 p.m. citywide curfew.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, meanwhile, brought in an additional 250 National Guard troops and 300 State Police officers on Monday to assist areas outside Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune. Hundreds of businesses across the state were vandalized, according to reports, and the Oakbrook Center and Yorktown Center malls closed as a precaution, with store owners in Naperville boarding up their businesses.