Dear Members,

We have not faced a challenge like this in our lifetime. We are all affected by and adapting to the new realities we face with COVID-19.  We must do what we can to minimize the spread of this virus and make necessary changes at our businesses and in our personal lives for our collective sustainability.

Association members are taking a variety of paths to navigate these uncertain times. We’ve observed responses in the district from temporary closures to the public to staff working remotely, restricted hours of operation, adjustments to staffing levels, repurposing facilities and other efforts to protect the long-term viability of businesses. Vehicular and foot traffic is much lighter, reflecting Chicagoans compliance with Governor Prtizker and Mayor Lightfoot’s Stay at Home order.

We need to stay connected at this time and sharing information is crucial. Toward that end, we are working to keep you well-resourced by sharing ideas and practices to help us through our common challenges together. We continue to update with news from the CDC, State of Illinois, City of Chicago and other agencies who are both combating the disease and supporting our businesses.

Local business’ efforts to do good and give back are also impressive. Member restaurants have started relief funds and virtual tip jars for their employees. Celebrity chef Rick Bayless is even helping laid-off restaurant staff with a program to provide jobs and food while they’re out of work due to the novel coronavirus. And local charities like the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Chicago Help Initiative are seeking your support to help those most in need during this crisis.

Members are innovating to keep consumers engaged and hopeful while they are sequestered in their homes. Fine dining is not typically compatible with takeout, but our members continue to put friends and family first. Chicago’s oldest steakhouse, Gene & Georgetti, just re-opened to offer family-style dinner packages, boxed lunches, meal kits with family recipes and pantry essentials like house-made sauces, steaks and seafood, homemade pasta and more. They join the ranks of affordable options from award-winning restaurants.

Retailers are encouraging customers to shop online with purpose. New member Kendra Scott has launched a virtual Kendra Gives Back events platform and is partnering with American Red Cross of IL to generate funds that will aid in the relief efforts for local hospitals and blood drives.

Under Armour Brandhouse is offering 40% off for healthcare workers and first responders. For those planning a stylish return to the office, Hugo Boss will donate 20% of online sales this week to the American Red Cross. And since a t-shirt may be the dress code for now, the Chicago Helicopter Experience is donating proceeds from their limited-time “We Are Chicago” apparel to the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund.

Somehow, the content keeps on coming! You can enjoy classic and contemporary art and culture by visiting virtually at The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the International Museum of Surgical Science and more. Brookfield Zoo is #BringingTheZooToYou with regular Facebook Live streams of the animals, and the Shedd Aquarium is doing the same with their aquatic creatures. Timelapse videos of our city’s iconic architecture are a welcome way to pass a few minutes thanks to the Chicago Architecture Center.

The bottom line? We are in this together and we are doing what we must. Our hotels were some of the first in the nation to provide rooms to help with quarantine efforts and shelter the homeless. I applaud the work of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Michael Jacobsen, President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, who coordinate these efforts.

There is too much to mention here, but this snapshot lets you know that we mean business. As we prepare to celebrate the centennial of the DuSable Bridge (formerly the Michigan Avenue Bridge) in May, please know that we are here to stay. And through it all, The Magnificent Mile Association is here to help, so please let us know what is happening at your business.

Your Partner,

Rich Gamble

Chairman of the Board of Directors