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How Loop businesses are operating amid the pandemic in September

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Posted  14 days ago

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 September report. View the full September report here.


Some highlights include:

  • Office occupancy, parking volumes, and hotel occupancy are all averaging an upward trend or holding relatively steady compared to August.
  • 8 percent of respondents are open with all staff working onsite; 50 percent with some staff onsite and some remote; 8 percent with all staff remote; and 12 percent temporarily closed.
  • Driving personal cars is the most popular way respondents get to the Loop.
  • Shopping and dining are the most popular Loop activities respondents will participate in.
  • 38 percent of respondents said they’d visit the Loop during a weekend in September. 28 percent said they would not, and 34 percent said unsure/other. 

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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 Sept. 27. Activity was up by 5 percent on State Street compared to the week prior, but was down by 65 percent compared to the same time period in 2019. This low pedestrian volume compared to 2019 is likely low due to the lack of students returning to in-person classes in the Loop this year.

Everyone's Neighborhood 2020

Last week, Chicago Loop Alliance released an online "Back to Work" toolkit to help people make a smooth and safe return to the office.

“Workers are the lifeblood of the Loop’s storefront economy,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “The Loop has 20,000 residents and 370,000 workers during normal times. And what we’re hearing is that people actually really miss the Loop, and they miss the office. For some, coming back downtown to work, even just part of the week, isn’t an option that occurred to them. So we created this toolkit as way of saying, ‘The Loop is here, companies and building managers are going above and beyond, and there are safe ways to get downtown.’ We hope to see activity in the Loop continue to trend upward.”

The toolkit can be found at LoopChicago.com/BackToWork and includes stories from workers who have already taken the plunge in returning to work downtown; comprehensive information on how to safely get to the Loop; a guide to what’s open in the Loop; cool-weather cycling tips; an overview of what’s new in the Loop since March; a glimpse at what the Loop looks like these days; suggested lunch spots; a happy hour guide; and Chicago Loop Alliance’s monthly business operations reports.

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

September Business Operations Report 01

September Business Operations Report 02

September Business Operations Report 03