Ald. Cardenas: ‘I Don’t Agree With a Complete Shutdown’ of Restaurants, Businesses


Ald. George Cardenas, 12th Ward, says he doesn’t agree that Chicago businesses and restaurants should be forced to stay mostly closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t agree with a complete shutdown. You gotta go back to your neighborhood, go back to your business districts, and look what’s going on, and talk to people … and they’ll tell you the pain,” Cardenas said. “No one’s talking to them about what decisions get made, but they’re the ones on the hook for the whole thing, for the inventory gone bad, for the lost wages they still gotta pay, and for all the bills that are coming and coming and coming, and yet there’s no revenue.” 

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Cardenas says businesses should be given some leeway to be “creative,” and find ways to keep customers safe from the coronavirus while operating at greater capacity than they are now. 

The 12th Ward includes most of the McKinley Park neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side, named for the expansive park it surrounds. 

In recent years, Cardenas has drawn the ire of some local environmentalist over his support for the MAT Asphalt plant operating on Pershing Road, right across from the park. 

While activists have called for the facility to be shut down during the pandemic and beyond, Cardenas says it should stay open. 

“It’s an essential business, according to the state … The [Illinois EPA] is telling me that data, that so far, meets all the guidelines, [it has] lower thresholds than other industries here in this area that are more polluters. I know some people don’t want to don’t want to hear that but that’s what they’re telling me,” Cardenas said. 

Cardenas says there should be future legislation passed so manufacturing districts, like the one that houses MAT Asphalt, should be required to maintain a certain distance from public parks. 


Community Reporting Series

“Chicago Tonight” is expanding its community reporting. We’re hitting the streets to speak with your neighbors, local businesses, agencies and leaders about COVID-19, the economy, racial justice, education and more. See where we’ve been and what we’ve learned by using the map below. Or select a community using the drop-down menu. Points in red represent our series COVID-19 Across Chicago; blue marks our series “Chicago Tonight” in Your Neighborhood.


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