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Nearly 200 previously furloughed staff members returned to the Chicago Hilton and Towers Thursday, June 10, 2021, to prepare for the city and state’s full reopening Friday. (WTTW News)

The city and state’s full reopening is a double-edged sword for many in the hospitality and entertainment industry. They wonder: the crowds may be coming back, but will the labor force return?

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(WTTW News)

The Loop has been eerily quiet over the past year. COVID-19 has forced thousands of downtown office workers to stay home, while performing arts venues have retreated into hibernation. But many of the Loop’s small businesses and cultural institutions are still kicking.