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Feasibility of travel to Chicago in late July/early August?

Feasibility of travel to Chicago in late July/early August?

Old May 12, 20, 10:41 am
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Feasibility of travel to Chicago in late July/early August?

Hi - I realize no one can predict anything right now, but I figured I'd throw this question out to the local experts to see what you guys think!

I'm losing my mind stuck in my NYC apartment due to the plague, and I'm seeing that flight/hotel packages to Chicago are unbelievably cheap over the summer - as in, under $500 for r/t nonstop flights and five nights' hotel downtown. The hotel is refundable; flights can be changed for no fee.

I'm thinking of booking a getaway for later this summer because there seems to be no downside (I can deal with placing the $150 r/t flight cost or whatever on a voucher for a while if travel conditions aren't suitable), but I wanted to ask whether things might be at least partially opened up by then.

Also, how safe do you think travel would be on the Blue Line from O'Hare to downtown? In NYC the subway seems to have been one of the main sources of disease transmission, but it's also crowded and filthy at the best of times, and I haven't heard of a similar problem occurring at the CTA (or really, in any other city's public transit network). I expect I'd be wearing a mask and a T-shirt wrapped tightly around my face on top of that, and obviously I'd wash my hands like a madman after getting off the train.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old May 12, 20, 1:21 pm
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As you stated, it's impossible to predict. The governor has divided the state into zones, each of which will re-open through a 5 phase process. Chicago, and the surrounding counties are in a zone that will definitely be the last one to enter each of the phases. We're in Phase 2 right now (phase 1, idiotically, was basically the appearance of the virus...so in reality we haven't begun re-opening).

We've already heard that the shutdown will extend through some time in June, but for now it's set at May 31. My personal belief is that either IL or MI will be the last of the states to re-open, even after NY. I think the odds of things being even partially open in July or August is 50/50 at best. It's very possible you'll be stuck in a hotel ordering takeout food. We had a large celebration event originally planned for the end of May. In March we pushed it back until the end of October, and are now thinking we may have to push back further as, even if restaurants are open, they may still be limited in allowing large events of over 50 people.

If you can get a full refund on everything, why not book it and see what happens? If not, I'm sorry to say, my gut feeling is I wouldn't plan anything for the summer here in Chicago.

As for the blue line, I wouldn't personally have a concern with it, but if someone on the train were coughing or sneezing, I might get off at the next stop and wait for another train. Wearing a mask won't keep you safe, but it will keep others safe. We have a mask order here in IL indefinitely so it's likely in July or August you'd be required to wear one on the blue line anyway.
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Old May 12, 20, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
As you stated, it's impossible to predict. The governor has divided the state into zones, each of which will re-open through a 5 phase process. Chicago, and the surrounding counties are in a zone that will definitely be the last one to enter each of the phases. We're in Phase 2 right now (phase 1, idiotically, was basically the appearance of the virus...so in reality we haven't begun re-opening).

We've already heard that the shutdown will extend through some time in June, but for now it's set at May 31. My personal belief is that either IL or MI will be the last of the states to re-open, even after NY. I think the odds of things being even partially open in July or August is 50/50 at best. It's very possible you'll be stuck in a hotel ordering takeout food. We had a large celebration event originally planned for the end of May. In March we pushed it back until the end of October, and are now thinking we may have to push back further as, even if restaurants are open, they may still be limited in allowing large events of over 50 people.

If you can get a full refund on everything, why not book it and see what happens? If not, I'm sorry to say, my gut feeling is I wouldn't plan anything for the summer here in Chicago.

As for the blue line, I wouldn't personally have a concern with it, but if someone on the train were coughing or sneezing, I might get off at the next stop and wait for another train. Wearing a mask won't keep you safe, but it will keep others safe. We have a mask order here in IL indefinitely so it's likely in July or August you'd be required to wear one on the blue line anyway.
Thanks! I need to discuss the possibility of the trip with my boss (who's actually based in Chicago), but at this point I'm leaning toward booking it since I wouldn't be out any money if I have to nix it. Honestly, the thought of sitting in a nice hotel room eating take-out Gino's East or Malnati's sounds a lot better to me right now than sitting in my small apartment cooking my own food and washing dishes by hand afterward while staring at the same walls I've stared at nonstop since early March... Just a change of scenery would be so welcome for me right now.
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Old May 12, 20, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by M60_to_LGA View Post
staring at the same walls I've stared at nonstop since early March... Just a change of scenery would be so welcome for me right now.
Sign up for Netflix. They just released new seasons of Ozark, Dead to Me, and Workin' Moms -- all worth watching and better than staring at walls.
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Old May 12, 20, 3:57 pm
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What do you plan to do in Chicago that you can't do in NYC, e.g. nothing? The walls likely look the same.
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Old May 13, 20, 9:02 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
What do you plan to do in Chicago that you can't do in NYC, e.g. nothing? The walls likely look the same.
Based on nothing more than unreliable media gossip, it's possible that there will actually be more open in NYC than Chicago this summer.
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Old May 13, 20, 1:30 pm
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Why are you set on going to another big city? While the odds of anywhere being normal for travel this summer are low, the more rural the area, the more normal it will likely seem.

If it were me - and it likely will, I am stir crazy too - I'd look for an open jaw ticket between two cities that have a scenic drive between them and then plan a road trip. I'm finding that getting in my car and driving around is one of the best releases from monotony available right now.
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Old May 13, 20, 3:20 pm
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Originally Posted by PresRDC View Post
Why are you set on going to another big city? While the odds of anywhere being normal for travel this summer are low, the more rural the area, the more normal it will likely seem.

If it were me - and it likely will, I am stir crazy too - I'd look for an open jaw ticket between two cities that have a scenic drive between them and then plan a road trip. I'm finding that getting in my car and driving around is one of the best releases from monotony available right now.
I'm from Chicago and actually considering a move back, so I'd like to spend some more time there. Also - I hate driving.

Plus, if things are somewhat back to normal in Chicago by that point, I can combine the trip with work, which means I'll get the change of scenery without tapping into my vacation time!
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Old May 14, 20, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
My personal belief is that either IL or MI will be the last of the states to re-open, even after NY.
This wouldn't be terribly surprising. NY may be past the peak at this point, it looks like the numbers are starting to fall. IL (and Chicago/Cook County in particular) is leveling off, but definitely not falling yet.
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Old May 15, 20, 10:24 pm
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Well, I just booked the trip for the second week of August. I can cancel the hotel a week before with no penalty, and the Delta flight is changeable with no fee - the ticket only cost $100 r/t anyway! Here's hoping the situation improves...

It's funny (well, maybe it's not), but just booking the ticket makes me feel better - like there's life on the other side of this. I've needed something to look forward to.
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Old May 16, 20, 2:45 am
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Originally Posted by M60_to_LGA View Post
Well, I just booked the trip for the second week of August. I can cancel the hotel a week before with no penalty, and the Delta flight is changeable with no fee - the ticket only cost $100 r/t anyway! Here's hoping the situation improves...

It's funny (well, maybe it's not), but just booking the ticket makes me feel better - like there's life on the other side of this. I've needed something to look forward to.
I get that. I am always a bit antsy when I do not have any trips booked.
Hope it all works out for you.
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Old May 21, 20, 8:17 am
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As an update, it looks like outdoor dining may be allowed by the beginning of June. But be aware that demand will be hundreds of times greater than supply, if not thousands.

The governor has said that IL won't "return to normal" until there's a vaccine or a cure. If he sticks to that, IL and MI will probably be two states to avoid for the next year as they have the strictest regulations during the lockdown. Unfortunately I live in one and vacation in the other...
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Old Yesterday, 4:04 am
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Going from Chicago to WI or MN already works for vacations of sort — with the road traffic for it too. And rental car deals are to be had too. Some rental car companies will even sell you a car (to own), let you use it for as little as $200 for a week’s use and then return it. [Just beware that the rental car companies are in a precarious financial situation and you want to avoid ending up as a potential creditor in them.]
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