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How Loop businesses are operating amid the pandemic in November

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Posted  5 months ago  in  Trending

2 MIN READ -- Since July, Chicago Loop Alliance has been collecting monthly survey data from its member businesses and stakeholders to track operations during COVID-19, and today released its November report. View the full November report here.


Some highlights include:

  • Office occupancy and pedestrian activity dipped beginning in the middle of the month, when a stay-at-home advisory and stricter COVID-19 guidelines were announced. Parking volumes continued to trend downward, with a slight increase beginning in the middle of the month.
  • 55 percent of respondents said their business hours and operations were affected by the most recent round of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • 29 percent of respondents are open with all staff working onsite (up from 28 percent in October 2020); 35 percent with some staff onsite and some remote (down from 49 percent in October 2020); 15 percent with all staff remote (up from 11 percent in October 2020); and 13 percent temporarily closed (up from 6 percent in October 2020). 8 percent indicated “other.”
  • Driving personal cars is still the most popular way respondents get to the Loop.
  • Ordering takeout/delivery and shopping are the most popular Loop activities respondents participated in in November.
  • 38 percent of respondents said they’d visit the Loop during a weekend in November (up from 28 percent in October). 33 percent said they would not, and 29 percent said they were unsure or “other.”
  • 11 percent of respondents indicated they won’t return to the Loop until Q3 of 2021 or later. 44 percent said they were unsure when their employees will return to the Loop for work.

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“As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Chicago and across the state and country, the Loop is feeling the impact of tightened restrictions,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “We are hopeful the rollout of a vaccine will allow more people to come back to the Loop safely, but we know it will take time. In the long haul ahead, businesses and workers need federal relief, and they need it now.”

Chicago Loop Alliance also tracks pedestrian activity using counters by the U.K.-based company Springboard. Eighteen counters are located on the east and west sides of State Street from Wacker to Ida B. Wells drives. Additional counters are at Michigan and Wacker, Michigan and Washington, and in the Pedway.

The most recent weekly pedestrian activity report is for week ending Nov. 29. Activity was down by 15 percent on State Street compared to the week prior, and was down by 68 percent compared to the same time period in 2019.

Last month, Chicago Loop Alliance released its Holidays in the Loop guide, curating the best holiday activities in the city. The guide can be found at LoopChicago.com/Holidays and is updated to reflect all of the latest coronavirus restrictions and guidelines. Many activities are outdoors and allow for safe social distancing, and there is also a section of virtual offerings for those who are staying at home.

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On Dec. 3, Chicago Loop Alliance hosted Re-ACTIVATE, a free virtual fundraiser to support the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation and the recovery of the Loop neighborhood. Re-ACTIVATE is now available to watch on demand and features live painting, compelling conversation, and special guests Toni Griffin (Just City Lab, Harvard University), Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Keith Smith (a.k.a. Chicago street artist Afrokilla), Michael Edwards (Chicago Loop Alliance), David Broz (Gensler, Chicago Loop Alliance Board of Directors), and the evening’s emcee, Val Warner (ABC 7 Chicago’s Windy City Live). Every $25 donation through 11 p.m. Dec. 10 enters the donor into a drawing to win a painting by Afrokilla. Donate here.

Chicago Loop Alliance invites people to share their experiences downtown on social media using #BackInTheLoop.

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