Lightfoot to Keep Downtown Blocked Off Through Weekend; Restrictions Set to End Monday

Broken windows at a Dior store in downtown Chicago on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (WTTW News)Broken windows at a Dior store in downtown Chicago on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (WTTW News)

City officials will restrict access to downtown Chicago through the weekend, even though the city has not seen widespread looting in two days.

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The restrictions will end at 6 a.m. Monday morning, according to an announcement from the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Officers will continue working 12-hour shifts and city officials will continue to block off downtown and commercial districts from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to prevent looting from flaring up again, officials said. 

City equipment, including garbage trucks, will again be used by the Chicago Police Department “to protect neighborhood commercial corridors and critical businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies,” each night until the restrictions are lifted, officials said.  

The closures were ordered by Mayor Lori Lightfoot after caravans of cars headed to the Loop and North Side on Sunday night to loot stores after a police officer shot and wounded a 20-year-old man in Englewood, causing widespread destruction and mayhem, officials said.

Lake Shore Drive will be closed between Fullerton Avenue and Interstate 55, and the Belmont ramp will be closed to inbound traffic, officials said. All entrance and exit expressway ramps leading to Interstate 90/94 between Roosevelt Road and Division Street will be closed in both directions, including the I-55 Chinatown Feeder northbound ramp at Cermak Road and Interstate 290 eastbound at Halsted Street, officials added.

Downtown bridges will be raised by 9 p.m., officials said. However, bridges along LaSalle Street, Harrison Street, Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Kinzie Street and Grand Avenue will remain down. Westbound traffic will be allowed on the Ida B. Wells bridge, officials said.

Residents and employees will need to show identification or proof that they live or work in the area to get past the checkpoints.

Residents and essential employees can enter downtown at Harrison Street, Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street, Roosevelt Road and Canal Street, Kinzie and Halsted streets and LaSalle Street.

CTA train service will be suspended from Fullerton Avenue to 47th Street and Halsted Street. Buses will run, but will be rerouted by bridge and street closures, officials said. Divvy bicycles will not be available from North to Ashland avenues and Cermak Road between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

City officials used a similar strategy after protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody turned into unrest that swept the city, significantly damaging businesses on the South and West sides.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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