CHICAGO (CBS) — On a day when it was anything but business as usual, businesses in the Loop were hit hard by looting – and late Monday afternoon, many were still cleaning up.
As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, jewelry stores, coffee shops, and convenience stores seemed to be the hardest hit when we walked around the Loop from the morning to the afternoon.
It was hard to go a block without seeing a boarded-up store, and the damage did not stop there. It was also easy to spot the trail of looting around the Loop by following the mishandled merchandise and shards of glass to broken windows and shattered storefronts.
It is much harder to find the words to react to the damage from business owners like Paul Young, owner of Paul Young Fine Jeweler.
“Very, very devastating,” Young said.
The store at 34 W. Randolph St. has been open for 38 years. This year, it had to close down twice due to separate acts of public unrest.
“It’s broke my heart,” Young said.
“This is twice now that this has happened all the same businesses – all the same, all the same buildings, all the same restaurants and business were absolutely destroyed,” another man said.
The Chicago Loop Alliance said during the previous unrest on May 30 and 31, at least 45 Loop businesses were vandalized or looted. As of Monday afternoon, they were still tallying the total from the early morning hours.
The alliance added that with pedestrian traffic down by about 70 percent compared to this time last year, businesses are struggling.
“Criminals, anarchists whatever they are, they do it without fear,” the other said. “As soon as police left this block this morning, they just all came back and tried to clean out whatever more they could. I just don’t know whose going to get hold of this city and get real control of it because this is unacceptable.”
Others expressed similar frustration off camera.
The Loop Alliance described many of the businesses in the area as extremely resilient and doing pretty well when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions and the most recent unrest back in late May. But the question is, what will the damage Monday do to those businesses?