Monday is the last day to visit Chicago's iconic Navy Pier before the lakefront attraction closes until spring of 2021 to contend with budget shortfalls and low attendance during the coronavirus pandemic.
“With us remaining open through the upcoming fall and winter season we would have absorbed more operational costs and not had enough attendance and revenues coming in," said Navy Pier spokesperson Payal Patel.
The rooftop bar Offshore will remain open, but the remaining 70 businesses will all close their doors starting Tuesday.
Public access to the pier's outdoor spaces, including Polk Bros Park and the North and South Docks, will also be limited or prohibited during the closure.
Officials said Navy Pier was exploring its options, including the potential for closure as the attraction faces a $20 million deficit in its budget due to the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson said.
In a statement, Navy Pier said the loss of earnings "has been devastating to the organization's budget," citing the ongoing closure of the pier's iconic Centennial Wheel and other attractions as well as decreased parking revenue, rent relief for tenants and the cancellations of all private events.
The pier was forced to close from March 17 through June 10 "to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic." Since then, it has implemented a phased reopening plan that has seen the return of 15-20% of its typically summer attendance.
"Our hope was that once we reopened, revenues would be restored at a more sustainable level. Unfortunately, that has not been realized," the statement read.
The pier has since implemented "financial adjustments" to help limit costs, including the firing of 20% of its employees. The pier's president and CEO has taken a 44% pay reduction and all executive leadership saw reductions of 33%, according to the statement. Several full-time administrative staff members were also furloughed, renovations postponed, hiring suspended and budgets cut.
"These decisions are not ones that were made lightly and were done after a long and careful review of the Pier’s projected financials with knowledge that many good people would be affected," the pier said in a statement. "As an organization that cares deeply about its employees, we held off on making these changes for as long as our finances would allow."