Chicago has begun reopening businesses after the coronavirus lockdown, but remains under a 9 p.m. curfew following the George Floyd protests that broke off into bursts of looting across the city.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot decided to keep her June 3 “Cautiously Reopen” date, and now real estate services, offices, retail shops and hotels can operate at reduced capacities, according to the Chicago Tribune. The timeline was an open question after widespread looting damaged scores of businesses over the weekend and on Monday amid the protests over Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police. Lightfoot said she decided to go ahead with the reopening after consulting with business owners and associations, and local elected officials.
Marches on Tuesday night continued but were relatively calm, according to reports.
Business owners are still cleaning up from the damage from looting and vandalism over the weekend, and Lightfoot said Chicago would create a fund starting at $10 million to help those affected. Actual reopenings will depend on the neighborhood, with the hardest-hit shops likely to remain closed as owners process insurance claims, repair shattered windows and restock lost inventory, the Tribune reported.
Chicago has lagged behind the rest of the state in meeting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s health goals for phased business reopenings as the pandemic slows. But it is making progress, according to the city’s health commissioner. Dr. Allison Arwady said the coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are on the decline, but added the citywide reopening is “fragile at best,” according to the report.
The massive gathering of protesters in recent days has also led some aldermen to voice concern about a potential surge in new cases, and skepticism about the reopening plan. Chicago has had over 46,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 2,000 deaths. [Tribune] — Alexi Friedman