CHICAGO (CBS) — It was an eerie scene in downtown Chicago Monday, as most office buildings and stores were deserted because of the NATO summit.
Some businesses simply shut down; others gave workers the option of taking a vacation day.
At the Starbuck’s at Metra’s Millennium station, where there was a beefed-up police presence, barista Patty said she was still getting some customers, but mostly cops.
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“It’s a lot of security people, not the usual office people that you see every day,” she said.
So much for all of the business international visitors were supposed to bring.
The NATO conference “has killed it,” Rocky Gupta, owner of Chef Luciano near McCormick Place, told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov. “We have a lot of street closures in the area which make it difficult for people to get around. The city’s gone out of their way to tell people to say home, stay out of downtown. That impacts the businesses.”
He said business was down 50 percent to 90 percent over the weekend.
The managing partner of Keefer’s Restaurant pretty much paints the same picture — adding his normally booming Monday lunch business had been decimated, too.
“Unfortunately, it was a very light weekend,” Glenn Keefer said.
Recovering from such a slow weekend — especially as a restaurant — isn’t easy.
But not every establishment there lost out. White Castle at Cermak and Wabash was swamped after Sunday’s big protest march. In fact, it doubled.