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Business Owners Near McCormick Place Confused About NATO Precautions

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Jerry Cooper, a Chicago furniture store owner, is thinking about closing down during the upcoming NATO summit at nearby McCormick Place. (CBS)

Jerry Cooper, a Chicago furniture store owner, is thinking about closing down during the upcoming NATO summit at nearby McCormick Place. (CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – There is still a little confusion and a lot of questions  from businesses in the shadow of McCormick Place, which will be the headquarters for the NATO summit in May.

With talk of putting up a wall to control protesters, some business owners worry about the impact on their business, CBS 2′S Dorothy Tucker reports.

During the 22 years Jerry Cooper has operated his furniture store behind McCormick place, he’s only closed Sundays and Holidays.

But on May 20, with thousands attending the NATO summit at the convention center, he’s considering keeping the doors shut that Monday.

“I’m not looking forward to that,” he says.

Cooper’s concern, like those of some other business owners, is the perimeter that city leaders plan to build around the convention center, similar to the one in Toronto during the G20 Summit. Summits that attract international dignitaries and military leaders also tend to attract scores of protesters.

“If they say it’s going to be fenced off, like I heard, then there’s no sense coming. Nobody can get here, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens,” Cooper says.

City officials have yet to spell out what will happen, where exactly the fence will be placed or how long it’ll be up. However, they don’t think businesses should be concerned.

Restaurant Owner David Luciano has already decided he’ll stay open, even if some streets are closed.

“People have to eat,” he says.

Business owners around McCormick place aren’t the only ones that will be impacted by the NATO summit. The U.S. Coast Guard wants to create four separate security zones along the waterfront area of the Chicago Harbor and the Chicago River.

That will present limitations for both businesses and boaters in that area.

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