NATO, protesters keep many from downtown

May 18, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The NATO summit and planned protests may have kept people from coming to town while those who live inside affected areas have been forced to make adjustments to their daily routines.

At lunchtime, the normally crowded Halsted Street Deli had just a few people eating lunch.

"With the rallies and the protestors, nobody wants to be around," said deli worker DeJuan Perkins. "They are really scared that something is going to happen down here."

Garrett's, a Chicago institution, is known for long lines of people eager to buy popcorn. Friday, a line did not exist.

"The NATO thing has scared everyone away from getting downtown," Josh Schreiber, of Garrett's Popcorn, said.

"It is costing people a lot of money and shutting down the Loop," said Ann Brennan."Most people are staying home. I think Monday, it will be dead. I'm not coming in Monday either.

Wacker Drive was also empty. Many offices closed and employees stayed home.

"I live in the Loop and this morning, there were five people on the bus," said Jagoda Stark. "It was nice."

John Lambert lives in the area and said he is stocking up for the weekend with food and books. He has no plans to venture outside.

"I have been to the library and I have backpack of books," he said.

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