By: Rachel Amegatcher (Loyola Sophomore)
COVID cases in Illinois are spiking, setting record numbers. In response to this Chicago has introduced new restrictions including curfews at 11 p.m. for all non-essential businesses, suspensions on indoor dining for all bars and restaurants, and smaller social gathering sizes.
Chicago has experienced a budget crisis, reaching $1.2 billion dollars in debt. Mayor Lightfoot has reasoned with this by considering how affected the hospitality business has been with a decline in customers and tourists.
In a recent press release the Mayor said, “I’ve made a priority to do everything in my power to support our residents, our workers, and our businesses.” This past week she has attempted to do that by rolling out four new relief initiatives to help keep hospitality workers on their feet.
When asked how Chicago should continue planning for the future, there seemed to be a strong consensus from the Loyola student population. If Chicago wants to keep the best interest of its people at heart, it must focus on COVID prevention before trying to fix the economy.
As young students, some may say it is not their place to make these types of decisions, that the experts should handle it. But as young adults whose future lies in the hands of our policy makers, who better to ask?
Jocelyn Correa, a current sophomore, said, “City officials should take this opportunity to do some good for once and actually care about the people living here.” She urged the city to not only encourage but enforce social distancing rules and widespread mask mandates.
Students see no need to sugar coat what has to be done in this city. There is an acknowledgement of failed leadership in the past when looking at the administration now.
Correa continued to say, “Chicago has been knocked down the list of the top three cities in the U.S. and will only continue to drop with the poor inefficient actions that the people in charge take.”
More importantly than just how Chicago ranks among other cities, is how Chicago influences other cities. With the media circulating all across the country, every action and decision is seen by multitudes.
Sophomore Rachel LeFevre said, “If one of the largest cities in America decides to turn its back on COVID prevention then it will start a trend across the nation.”
While elected officials are expected to respond diligently to the pandemic, some admit that fighting this rests on more than just our official’s shoulders.
Sophomore Abigail Sileo said she felt frustrated so many people got sick despite the set guidelines. She said, “I think we have as much responsibility as the city does to maintain safety through the choices we make.”
Though many chose to focus on COVID prevention, there was no denying the devastating effect of closures on workers. Many workers weren’t big supporters of tighter restrictions since it limited their already struggling businesses.
Sileo continued to say, “It is difficult to see people that need immediate help in order to keep their businesses and sources of income from going under.”
Knowing how many people need help can be overwhelming. That’s why everything is taken one step at a time. Sophomore Sara Subotić closes out with what she thinks the first step should be. “Blatantly and bleakly put, there is no economy if we are all dead; healthcare comes first.”