Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic that rocked downtowns around the world, signs of a recovery in the Chicago Loop are beginning to emerge. As the weather warms, and the city and state continue administering thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations per day, Loop data like pedestrian activity, parking volumes, CTA ridership, office human occupancy, and hotel occupancy are all on the rise.
Despite this positive news, the majority of office workers are still apprehensive about returning to the office, and companies are largely unsure when their work-from-home policies will change. The Loop’s recovery from the pandemic depends on the return of this downtown workforce, which is about 18 times larger than the Loop’s residential population. In Downtown Futures Series: The Loop’s Comeback, professionals in the city’s vaccination campaign, public transportation, and office cleanliness and safety discuss what will be needed to build confidence in the return to work, and what employees can expect for when they do come back.
Moderator: David Broz, Principal, Gensler
Panelists: Claire McCombs, First Deputy for Economic and Neighborhood Development, City of Chicago Office of the Mayor; Janice R. Thomas, Chief of Staff, Metra; Kimberly Carter, Managing Director, Environmental, Health and Safety Services, Hygieneering, Inc.