CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Automobile Trade Association is meeting with Illinois state leaders Thursday morning to discuss possibly bringing the Auto Show back to Chicago.
Sources tell CBS 2 that Gov. JB Prtizker is leaning toward allowing conventions back in Illinois as soon as this summer.READ MORE: 2 Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Rockton's Chemtool Plant
CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe tells us what it could mean for the city and the state.
Last March, when the pandemic hit, conventions screeched to a grinding halt. Thursday’s meeting could be a sign that things will soon change.
“I’ve said this many times, I believe that the summer of 2021 is going to look more like 2019 and less like 2020, but we’ve still got to be driven by and led by what the science and public health guidance tells us,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday when asked about the possibility of the city’s summer festivals making a return this year.
So some festivals or other events could make a comeback this year, but what about conventions at McCormick Place, which sat empty for much of last year?
From March 2020 through mid-January 2021, a total of 187 events scheduled at the convention center were canceled. And hotels and nearby restaurants felt the brunt of that decision.
The lack of conventions resulted in a revenue loss in the billions for Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois.
Those shows were expected to bring in more than $1.6 billion in spending.READ MORE: With Areas Of Naperville Devastated By Tornado, Neighbors Band Together A Night Later To Help Each Other
But there’s some hope in the air.
For one thing, the McCormick Place website currently shows some events postponed for 2021, instead of downright cancelled.
Which brings us to the Chicago Auto Show.
Last year, the show wrapped up before the lockdown, but nothing has been mentioned about this year until now.
It’s why the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is meeting with state leaders on Thursday.
As for what could happen in Chicago this summer, Lightfoot said it all comes down to diligently following everything science has taught us about this pandemic.
“We’ve got to push more vaccine out into the communities. We’ve got to focus on those people who are most vulnerable, both for catching the virus but also spreading the virus. So we’ve got to stay the course in the work that we know is going to deliver us from this terrible pandemic. But I feel very optimistic about summer activities and gatherings of this summer. But more to come,” she said Wednesday.MORE NEWS: Man Fatally Shot While Working On Car In Front Of His Fernwood Home
Keep in mind, even though sources say Pritzker could give the green light to conventions in Illinois, to return to McCormick Place, Chicago still needs to give final approval.