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Downtown Chicago Shelter in Place



It has been a week since the Governor of Illinois announced the mandate that all citizens should Shelter in Place and it has felt like a month. On Tuesday, we had a rare and beautiful 60 degree March day and many people went outside to enjoy the weather, take a break from their homes and get some exercise. This led our Mayor to make the difficult decision to close all the public parks. 


I remember thinking in January, when I saw photographs of Wuhan China’s empty streets and before Covid-19 started its long migration across the world, how stark and desolate the city looked. It was unreal and broke my heart. It was like watching a Science Fiction documentary on Netflix. Then Covid-19 arrived in the US, first on the West Coast. Now it is here, in the Mid-West and in our city. My cousin lives in San Francisco and he shared updates. Chicago was 5 days behind San Francisco when it came to schools closing and restaurants offering only take out and before I knew it, we were sheltering In place and told to only leave the house for essentials; to get food, visit the doctor and exercise.


I rode my bike around Chicago this morning for exercise and realized my city looks just like the photos from Wuhan I saw months ago. My cousin said when traffic stopped in California it was surreal. That is exactly how I felt today, just me on my bike alone with the tall buildings towering over me riding in the middle of Michigan Ave and State Street and taking pictures of the city. I captured this moment in time in photographs and don’t know when I have ever felt so small.

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© 2020 Clare Britt

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