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Chicago reopens businesses amid jitters

N.C.N. Limited 徽标 N.C.N. Limited 2020/6/3 xujing,xujing
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A screenshot taken from WGN News' live broadcast of Chicago's economic reopening shows what its downtown area looks like in the morning of June 3, 2020. (Xinhua)

Chicago would set up a 10-million-U.S.-dollar fund to help businesses looted in recent days, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot promised at a news conference on Tuesday.

CHICAGO, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Chicago reopened its economic activity on Wednesday amid the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests triggered by the death of a black man from police brutality.

The reopening has a dual meaning: the U.S. third largest city has lifted the "stay-at-home" order which has practiced for more than two months; and has removed the lockdown of downtown Chicago as a result of the looting and unrest in response to the death of George Floyd.

In the downtown area, many retailers are cleaning shattered windows and dealing with empty shelves. The bridges over Chicago River, which were lifted up to block looting and vandalism during the unrest, are to be lowered. The blockades at ramps of expressways to downtown Chicago are removed. Reduced bus and train services from and to downtown due to unrest come back to normal. Metra resumes a modified schedule on most lines.

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Demonstrators take part in a protest on an overpass in Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, the United States, June 1, 2020. (Photo by Chris Dilts/Xinhua)

But the curfew remains in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., as the protests may continue and the COVID-19 threat still looms, local media reported.

With reopening, local restaurants can handle outdoor dining; retail shops can receive customers; personal services businesses such as salons and barbershops can open up; and other businesses such as hotels can start to operate. But all the businesses are subject to reduced capacities and tight rules designed to stop COVID-19 from spreading.

Chicago would set up a 10-million-U.S.-dollar fund to help businesses looted in recent days, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot promised at a news conference on Tuesday.

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Demonstrators take part in a sit-down protest in Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, the United States, June 1, 2020. (Photo by Javage Logan/Xinhua)

As to how much Chicago can reopen, the conditions vary by neighborhoods. The fact is the reopening will be gradual, local media said. On the city's North Side area which was less affected by destruction and looting, there appeared more eagerness to reopen. For some areas which were hit hard by looting, they is a lot of work to do before businesses turn normal again.

To prevent COVID-19 from spreading, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued the "stay-at-home" order which initially went into effect on March 21, and renewed it on April 23. Chicago, located in the northeastern part of Illinois, observed the order simultaneously.

To make it worse, the protests in Chicago, following George Floyd's death on May 25 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on video pinning Floyd down by his neck for about eight minutes, turned violent on Saturday, triggering Lightfoot to lock down the downtown area on Sunday. 

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