Cautious reopening

Vernon McCallum, Chris Pena, Debora Land and Maurice Strong

The third phase of Chicago’s plan to restore normality began yesterday, less than a week after violence erupted during the George Floyd protests. Described by Mayor Lightfoot as a “cautious reopening,” this step allows certain businesses and restaurants with outdoor seating to pick up where they left off before the health crisis shut everything down. Although the opening was greeted by little more than police officers and repair crews on Michigan Avenue, people still expressed optimism about the future.

  

Maurice Strong, Bronzeville, Walgreens Greeter

Maurice Strong

Maurice Strong

A 15-year veteran of the Michigan Ave. Walgreens, Strong cares about the store’s regular customers, and many greeted him before he could greet them.

What are your thoughts about the “cautious reopening”?

It’s a lot better. I mean, it’s reassuring that people can get out. You know, we’ve got coronavirus to deal with. But I’m glad that I can get to work and help people.

How did Walgreens fare over the weekend?

I wasn’t here that day, but I was told that we saw a little bit of trouble. Thank God it wasn’t enough to shut us down. And I’ve seen a lot of good, positive attitudes since this happened, with people walking past saying be careful, be safe, and have a good day.

Will you continue wearing the face mask?

It’s our new way of life right now. Do I like it? No, I don’t. But for safety reasons I think that we should wear it.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Probably get my haircut.

  

Chris Pena, Streeterville, U.A.W. Local 551 President - Ford Motor Company

Chris Pena

Chris Pena

Pena works at the second-oldest assembly plant in the Ford system, a 7-million square-foot facility at 130th and Torrance that opened in 1924. It was originally built to handle the Model T, but now assembles Ford Interceptors and Lincoln Aviators.

What are your thoughts about the “cautious reopening”?

I’m still social distancing right now, but it just feels great that the businesses are finally open. I mean, this place was turning into a ghost town.

How did you fare over the weekend?

It was pretty crazy to watch it all unfold. Right on the corner of McClurg and Illinois, there was a big fight and riot. It was uncalled for. The protests during the day are fine. But then at night it turns into something that’s not a protest; just something that’s very ugly.

Will you continue to wear the bandana face mask in the near future?

Just to go in stores. Mostly, if I’m outside, I don’t.

Do you think people will still be wearing them six months from now?

I think so, because people are afraid of the second wave coming in the fall. If we don’t keep the numbers down, then we might have another spike and that’s what we want to avoid.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Definitely outdoor dining in the neighborhood, supporting our local businesses, and hopefully being able to hit the lakefront.

  

Vernon McCallum, Naperville, attorney and entrepreneur

Vernon McCallum

Vernon McCallum

McCallum has specialized in white-collar crime for twenty years and owns a real estate company and an insurance company in Naperville. He was delivering fruit and flowers to his ex-wife, a Streeterville resident.

What are your thoughts about the “cautious reopening”?

I’m skeptical, but we have to proceed.

How did the stay-at-home order affect your professional life?

Not at all. I practiced safe distancing, of course, and made sure that I had PPE and my clients did as well. I would meet (clients) outside of their homes, outside of their offices. They would come down, leave documentation on my windshield wipers, and we would exchange our documents and we kept going from there. Criminal activity will always be in existence. Always. Especially white-collar (crime).

How will the health crisis affect your lifestyle moving forward?

I’ll just continue to follow CDC’s guidelines and local government entities and try to protect myself the best I possibly can and therefore protect others.

What are your plans for the weekend?

I plan to go cycling. That’s what I do to free my mind.

  

Debora Land, Streeterville, consultant

Debora Land

Debora Land

Land, a consultant who works out of her Streeterville home, got familiar with Phase 3 during a morning stroll through the neighborhood.

What are your thoughts about the “cautious reopening”?

It’s interesting to see who did their boarding up with the intention of being able to open the doors easily. For some of the others, I don’t see how they’re going to be open any time soon.

How did the stay-at-home order affect your life?

We were fortunate that our small neighborhood grocery stayed open the whole time. When Target and Whole Foods and Jewel were closed, Bockwinke’s stayed open. So we were able to get what we needed.

How will the health crisis affect your lifestyle moving forward?

I think I’m going to be a little bit more cautious about being close to people, particularly people I don’t know.I think the virus is going to come to a conclusion in terms of being a major force in the community, but I think a lot of us are going to have PTSD about spending two-and-a-half, three months at home without seeing people. It’s going to take us a while to get used to being out and about and doing normal things.

Will you continue to wear the bandana face mask in the near future?

When I’m not able to socially distance, you’ll see me pull it out of my purse or out of my pocket or off of my wrist and I’ll put it on.

What are your plans for the weekend?

We’re waiting to see if the (Columbia) yacht club can open or not.

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