Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced the launch of a $5 million multimedia campaign to push the use of face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, and said it was “worthy of considering a fine” for those who flout mask regulations. The ad campaign will carry the tagline “it only works if you wear it” and will focus on cities and counties in the state that “have the most work to do,” Pritzker said.
Chicago is also cracking down on large parties after the city shut down a trap music warehouse event in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood over the weekend, officials said. The city shut down a party on Friday night that was scheduled to go until 4 a.m. the next morning. City officials took issue with the party because it was violating anti-coronavirus social distancing rules.
Meanwhile, parents and teachers in Chicago and across the country are calling for schools to open safely or not at all. In Logan Square Monday morning, a group gathered to share their concerns about CPS’s tentative fall plan — a combination of in-person class and remote learning. The Chicago Teachers Union, which also hosted a protest and caravan to City Hall Monday, has strongly advocated for a remote-only start to the school year, as several other suburban and big-city districts have decided to do.
Here’s what’s happening Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:
6:58 p.m.: CPS has not decided to move to all-remote fall, contrary to NBC Nightly News report
The NBC Nightly News incorrectly reported Monday evening that Chicago Public Schools will revert to all remote classes this fall.
On the contrary, CPS has not decided to cancel in-person classes and as of Monday evening is still planning on a hybrid of in-person and remote learning when school starts alter Labor Day.
The TV reporter erroneously stated that, following a report of a coronavirus case in a reopened school in Indiana, “Chicago Public Schools, the third largest in the nation, announced they’re moving away from their planned hybrid system to all-remote learning.”
CPS spokesperson told the Tribune that’s not true, and the district is still planning on releasing a final fall plan later this week.
6:30 p.m.: At least 18 Illinois football players tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to campus in June
At least 18 Illinois football players tested positive for COVID-19 since returning for workouts in June, the school announced Monday.
Twenty-three athletes in all and two staff members tested positive, according to a university news release that said the 100-plus football players on campus “accounted for greater than 75% of the positive tests.”
Illinois said it has tested 164 athletes weekly since they returned in stages for voluntary workouts this summer, with more than 1,200 tests administered. The school said the overall positive test rate was less than 1.9%.
Four athletes experienced symptoms but none required hospitalization, according to the university.
Three cases remain active, and those players as well as teammates they’ve come in contact with remain in quarantine. Illinois will not release the number of quarantined players, an athletic department spokesman said.
Illinois did not suspend workouts at any time.
5:07 p.m.: Cook County recommends further COVID-19 restrictions for suburban bars, other businesses to voluntarily follow
Cook County officials issued health guidance Monday that recommends but does not require that restaurants and other businesses in the suburbs further restrict in-person services to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Cook County Department of Public Health is asking suburban bars, fitness clubs, personal care businesses and others to follow these guidelines as COVID-19 rates for people in their 20s have soared to be about 2 1/2 times higher than they were at the end of March. That age group now has the highest rates of COVID-19, according to CCDPH.
“We get it. It’s summer. Young people are tired of the restrictions,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wrote in a statement. “But the virus is still with us. We need to get the word out and encourage young people to be patient. Physical distancing and wearing a mask is the minimum we need people to do.”
Under the guidelines, establishments that serve alcohol without a food license are asked to limit consumption to outdoor service only. The maximum party size for restaurants and bars should be curtailed to six people, whether indoors or outdoors.
Indoor fitness classes should be reduced to 10 people maximum, while any personal care businesses should discontinue services that require removing a face mask, such as facials or shaves, according to the CCDPH guidelines.
Similar to restrictions already enacted in Chicago, the recommendations also call for residential property managers to limit guests to six people per unit.
4:48 p.m. (update): University of Illinois will require two COVID-19 tests weekly for students and faculty with in-person classes at Urbana-Champaign campus
Students and faculty participating in face-to-face classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, the university announced Monday.
The mandatory saliva-based testing, developed by UIUC researchers, will begin for students on Aug. 16, a week before classes are set to start. About one-third of the classes at that campus will be fully in-person or include in-person components while the rest, including large lecture courses, will be offered remotely, according to spokeswoman Robin Kaler.
“If everyone does their part to maximize the safety of our entire community, we have the ability to provide modified in-person delivery of our missions,” Chancellor Robert Jones said in a news release.
The new details help outline UIUC’s strategy for restarting some educational activities on campus while also adapting to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the new rules, students or faculty planning to visit campus for any reason this fall — such as grabbing supplies from a building — must first get tested and receive their results no more than four days prior to arriving. Those who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days — either in campus dorms that have been set aside for this use or in an off-campus residence.
3:28 p.m.: Northwestern pauses football workouts after a player tests positive for COVID-19
Northwestern football has paused workouts after a player tested positive for COVID-19, the Tribune has learned.
An NU spokesperson confirmed Monday that the program would not resume workouts until Wednesday at the earliest. Friday is the allowable start date for contact practices, per NCAA rules.
As a result of the positive test and contact tracing initiatives, some NU football players have been placed in quarantine. Those who have come within six feet of the player for a specified period of time will need to test negative before being cleared to leave their residence or return to workouts.
The Wildcats’ last workout was Friday.
2:05 p.m.: In a sweeping lawsuit, 42 Chicago businesses seek insurance coverage for COVID-related business losses
In a sweeping lawsuit, prominent Chicago restaurant groups including Lettuce Entertain You and Gibsons are fighting their insurance carriers over denial of coverage for lost income related to COVID-19.
The suit, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, is one of hundreds businesses have filed against insurers over the last several months as the health crisis, and shutdowns mandated by the government, slashed revenues. It is notable for its breadth: there are 42 plaintiffs, mostly Chicago restaurants, and 18 insurers listed as defendants.
The suit alleges shutdown orders caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses that should be covered by the policyholders’ business interruption insurance. Normally such policies cover income losses when property is damaged from a fire or other physical events.
The plaintiffs, represented by Jenner and Block, include a diverse roster of restaurants, from the chain Roti Mediterranean Grill to neighborhood businesses such as Wicker Park’s Bangers and Lace and the South Loop mainstay Manny’s Deli. The DuSable Museum of African American History and the Peggy Notebart Museum are also listed as plaintiffs in the suit.
1:58 p.m.: Lightfoot’s administration shuts down weekend warehouse event as city looks again at cracking down on large parties
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is again cracking down on large parties after the city shut down a trap music warehouse event in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood over the weekend, officials said.
The city shut down a party at 4106 W. Chicago on Friday night that was scheduled to go until 4 a.m. the next morning, Business Affairs and Consumer Protection commissioner Rosa Escareno told reporters.
”We want all party planners or party-goers to be warned — large events and gatherings that violate the health order put our entire community at risk and will not be tolerated,” Escareno said.
Escareno’s department will team with the building, fire and police departments to step up enforcement actions against large parties.
City officials took issue with the trap warehouse party, which was promoted via Event Brite, because it was violating anti-coronavirus social distancing rules.
1:28 p.m.: Lord & Taylor, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank seek to close 10 Chicago-area stores as list of chains in bankruptcy continues to grow
Lord & Taylor and the owner of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank became the latest retailers to seek bankruptcy protection and announce plans to close stores, including 10 in the Chicago area.
Retailers already were struggling to keep up with changes in consumers’ shopping habits. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which hit bricks-and-mortar chains hard, especially in areas where stay-at-home orders forced stores to close and kept shoppers home.
Lord & Taylor’s bankruptcy comes less than a year after clothing-rental startup Le Tote bought it from Hudson’s Bay Co., which also owns Saks Fifth Avenue. Le Tote, which filed for Chapter 11 protection Sunday in the Eastern District of Virginia, said it is closing 19 of Lord & Taylor’s 38 stores, including one in Northbrook.
(Updated 1:20 p.m.) 11:36 a.m.: Illinois launches $5 million mask awareness campaign, Pritzker opens door to fines for those who disregard rules
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced the launch of a $5 million multimedia campaign to push the use of face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, and said it was “worthy of considering a fine” for those who flout mask regulations.
The ad campaign will carry the tagline “it only works if you wear it” and will focus on cities and counties in the state that “have the most work to do,” Pritzker said. The governor launched the effort in Springfield, days after Sangamon County was one of 11 counties in the state flagged by the Illinois Department of Public Health as at a “warning level” based on COVID-19 metrics.
The campaign will “respond to the latest trends in cases and mobility at the county level,” concentrating the spending on areas of the state where COVID-19 metrics indicate a potential resurgence.
12:57 p.m.: Second stimulus check updates: Coronavirus relief bill remains up in air as negotiations are slow, grinding
Slow, grinding negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief bill are set to resume Monday afternoon, but the path forward promises to be challenging and time is already growing short. Republicans are griping that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won't drop her expansive wish list even as concerns are mounting that the White House needs to be more sure-footed in the negotiations.
Both the Trump administration negotiating team and top Capitol Hill Democrats remain far apart, and talks since Saturday — when the combatants announced modest progress — have yet to lend momentum. Both sides used television appearances over the weekend to showcase their differences.
Ahead of Monday’s talks, all sides predict a long slog ahead despite the lapse of a $600-per-week supplemental COVID-19 jobless benefit, the beginning of school season and the call of lawmakers’ cherished August recess. Several more days of talks are expected, if not more.
12:34 p.m.: 1,298 new known COVID-19 cases, 10 additional deaths
Illinois announced 1,298 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The state also reported 10 additional deaths. Illinois now has 183,241 total known infections and 7,526 fatalities.
12:33 p.m.: A Chicago farmers market kicks out a vendor alleging COVID-19 safety violations
A longtime Chicago farmers market vendor is alleging that it was targeted unfairly after it was recently removed from the Wicker Park Farmers Market.
Nichols Farm & Orchard, based outside Marengo, was absent from Sunday’s Wicker Park Farmers Market after the local Chamber of Commerce removed the vendor, citing instances of “noncompliance with some of the COVID-19 health regulations for our market” on multiple occasions, according a statement from the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.
A July 28 post on Nichols’ Facebook page claimed that the manager of the farmers market was “trying to kick us out of the market mid season without just cause. She has had a personal problem with our farm and staff for several seasons and feels this is just cause to disinvite us from the market. This is harassment.”
The farm has sold at multiple markets in the Chicago area for years and also supplies several area restaurants with produce.
12:25 p.m.: CTU president says Mayor Lori Lightfoot ‘doesn’t have the guts to close the schools’
The Chicago Teachers Union president, who led teachers in an 11-day strike last fall, said Monday that city and school officials are “putting it on us to close the schools” because the mayor “doesn’t have the guts” to do it herself.
Jesse Sharkey spoke at a rally to protest the CPS proposal for fall to combine in-person and remote learning. The union is strongly pushing for an all-remote start to school. CTU leaders have stopped short of saying they would stage another strike if schools reopen, though it’s statewide affiliate, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, has said that option is on the table, along with potential remedies in court.
”The mayor does not have the guts to close the schools,” Sharkey said outside CTU headquarters Monday. “They’re putting it on us to close the schools. That’s what we feel like is happening.”
Andrea Parker, a teacher at Fulton Elementary, said during the union rally that having a plan for “if” something happens at a school is not enough.
”It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when, and I do not want to be the when. I do not want my students to be the when,” Parker said. “I do not want to be the sacrificial lamb because you’re forcing us to go into an environment that is dangerous.”
12:02 p.m.: Chicago Public Schools parent: ‘My kids are not an experiment’
Parents and teachers are taking to the streets in Chicago and elsewhere Monday to protests plans for reopening schools this fall.
In Logan Square, a group that included parents, children and other community members gathered to say they still have concerns about the plan Chicago Public Schools has proposed for fall that includes a hybrid of in-school and remote instruction.
One parent on hand, Sandy Viveros, 28, She said she is disappointed in the plans CPS has provided and doesn’t yet feel comfortable want to send her children, aged 5 and 10, to school.
”They’re not really giving us enough information about what their safety (plan) is going to be. And also, I’m here because my kids are not an experiment, that’s basically what they’re trying to do,” Viveros said.
Another speaker said she has seven children and the past two months “have been very difficult for me and my family,” she said, adding she’s asking CPS for a realistic plan for school in the fall.
”This virus is not a game,” she said.
11:58 a.m.: Michigan lawmaker tests positive for coronavirus, prompts cancellation of the legislative session
The Michigan Legislature on Monday canceled this week's session and hearings after a Lansing-area state senator tested positive for the coronavirus through screening required by his service in the Michigan Army National Guard.
Republican Sen. Tom Barrett, of Charlotte, said he was told the results Sunday afternoon after being tested Friday. The 39-year-old said he was tested because the guard implemented a COVID-19 screening policy for all soldiers one week before they are to depart for training events.
He said he tested positive despite having taken “reasonable precautions.” Videos show him wearing a mask during several committee meetings last week and the week before.
8:53 a.m.: Federal PPP money is gone. COVID-19 still threatens America’s restaurants. Now what?
The check has been cashed, the money spent, and beleaguered restaurant owners across America are looking down at empty wallets.
Government coronavirus loans in the spring helped eating establishments rehire laid-off employees and ride out the pandemic's initial surge and wave of shutdown orders.
But that Paycheck Protection Program money has now been spent at many restaurants, leaving them in the same precarious position they were in during outbreak’s early days: Thousands of restaurants are being forced to close down again on mandates from state and local officials combating the virus’s resurgence, particularly in the South and West.
7:25 a.m. State to launch new public awareness campaign to work against COVID-19 spread
Gov. J.B. Pritzker was scheduled Monday to launch a “new public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19,″ according to his press office.
Pritzker was scheduled to hold a news conference late Monday morning at the Springfield headquarters of the state’s emergency management agency to announce the campaign. The announcement comes as the state has seen a resurgence of coronavirus cases and questions about whether some regions designated for COVID-19 response might have to pull back in their opening up.
7:10 a.m.: Chicago Teachers Union, parents, students to rally for all-remote start to school year
Chicago Teachers Union members, parents and Chicago Public Schools students planned to hold rallies Monday to press the Board of Education to move to an all-remote start of the school year, capped with a noon rally at City Hall.
After neighborhood rallies Monday morning, including at the teachers’ union West Side headquarters, CTU members and others were scheduled to caravan to City Hall for a rally.
The events are part of a national “day of action” sponsored by a coalition of teachers unions and activist groups, including the Democratic Socialists of America, whose aim is to “advance a racial justice agenda in public education, in particular by organizing for police-free schools,” according to the group.
7 a.m.: East Aurora schools will now start with remote learning this fall, and West Aurora schools could follow suit
East Aurora School District 131 and West Aurora School District 129 are looking to begin the school year with all-remote learning due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Both of Aurora’s school districts announced Friday that they are looking to reverse course from their original hybrid learning plans released a week earlier because of the current rate of COVID-19 cases in the area. East Aurora officials said the district is going to all-remote learning this fall, while in West Aurora the superintendent will recommend to the School Board Monday night that the district also go to all remote learning for the first quarter of the new school year.
6:45 a.m.: Naperville-area school districts reverse course, will have students do remote learning through October
Indian Prairie School District 204 and Naperville School District 203 students will do e-learning from home through October, reversing earlier plans to resume in-person classes on a staggered basis in September, the districts announced Friday.
D204 Superintendent Adrian Talley said in a note to parents that the change was made after a review of the latest guidelines released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education and local health departments. More than 100 administrators and teachers were involved in creating the Return to School Plan, he said.
D204′s revised plan will be discussed at Monday night’s school board meeting.
6 a.m.: Suburbs didn’t want to be linked with Chicago over coronavirus restrictions. Now many areas are showing positivity rates higher than the city.
Some suburban and rural leaders got their wish when their counties were separated from Chicago’s for purposes of monitoring the coronavirus. But now officials warn that many collar counties are seeing higher rates of positive tests than the city, which could prompt tighter restrictions.
In a region where nursing homes once accounted for the majority of cases, health officials say now large gatherings of young people without proper precautions are sparking outbreaks. Positivity rates have been rising in the counties surrounding Chicago, prompting Gov. J.B. Pritzker to ask local officials to start tightening the leash on COVID-19 restrictions.
The latest warnings show an evolution in the spread of the pandemic, which has been a factor in the deaths of more than 7,500 people in the state.
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