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Foot Traffic Downtown Is Up To 45% Of Normal, Chicago Loop Alliance Says

CHICAGO (CBS) -- People are returning to the Loop, and a new report from the Chicago Loop Alliance proves it.

The May report from the organization said foot traffic downtown has climbed about 45 percent of normal. Meanwhile, the number of people in offices broke 20 percent of normal for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The report also said digital parking bookings – likely used by those who come to the Loop for short or infrequent visits – exceeded 2019 levels for the first time. Parking garages used by work commuters are at about 56 percent of normal.

Hotel occupancy, for which the data are always a month behind, reached 38 percent of normal levels in April.

Chicago Transit Authority ridership data were unavailable for May, but public transportation – the CTA and Metra combined – were the most popular way to get downtown as recorded from survey respondents. More people are expected to bike or walk as the weather warms.

The Loop Alliance also found employers are far more confident about a return to the office, with only 42 percent indicating "unsure" or "other" when asked when their full staff would return to the Loop for work – compared with 80 percent in February.

Even more people are expected to return to the Loop in the next couple of months.

BMO Harris, JPMorgan Chase, and Citadel are among the companies bringing workers back downtown in June and July.

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