Latest coronavirus news for March 30, 2020: Live updates

Follow our live updates for today’s latest news about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its ripple effects in Chicago and Illinois.

SHARE Latest coronavirus news for March 30, 2020: Live updates

The latest

For Downstate Illinois, coronavirus crisis ‘is going to devastate families’

DOWNSTATE_7_CROP.0.jpg

Downstate Jacksonville’s town square sits empty on Sunday.

Neal Earley/Chicago Sun-Times

The transient slaughterhouse workers of Beardstown still fill the rooms at the Budget Inn in the small central Illinois town, but the motel owner admits, beyond that “business is very slow.”

Some 30 miles southeast in Jacksonville, a sewing supply shop has closed its doors, posting instructions on how to make protective face masks, next to a plastic bin to collect donated masks.

And in southern Illinois, a small-town mayor worries that the economic downturn will lead to a spike in the already above-average suicide rate.

“The majority of people — especially in Southern Illinois — live pay-check to pay-check, and one day off work or two days off work — it is going to devastate families,” Mount Vernon Mayor John Lewis said.

In Illinois, the focus on the coronavirus crisis has been squarely on Chicago, but the hardships, fears and worries have spread across the state, even if the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 cases are in Cook County, not the state’s other 101 counties.

And that has some public officials questioning Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decisions.

Read the full story from Neal Earley here.


News

9:32 p.m. Fired Mercy Hospital nurse alleges retaliation for speaking out about lack of protective masks while treating coronavirus patients

A former nurse at Mercy Hospital alleges she was fired after she expressed concerns that the hospital didn’t provide adequate protections for staff members treating coronavirus patients.

Regina Haglund filed a discrimination charge March 26 against the hospital with the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board. She was was fired March 25, allegedly for retaliation after she spoke up about the lack of protective masks, the filing states.

According to the seven-page filing, Haglund was working in triage for the hospital March 22 and saw a patient who presented with coronavirus symptoms.

The patient wasn’t given a mask because there weren’t any suitable ones in the triage area, and the patient coughed twice on Haglund, the filing states. The person was placed in isolation, and Haglund said she has not been told the patient’s test result.

Read the full report here.

9:02 p.m. Fact-Check: Booze ban? No, Illinois hasn’t stopped liquor sales because of COVID-19

You can call off your emergency trip to the liquor store — states aren’t really stopping the sale of alcohol. But recent Facebook posts would have you think otherwise.

“No beer or alcohol sales in state of Illinois as of 3pm starting Monday March, 30th,” reads an image posted by one account. Then there are links to stories with headlines like this one: “NC Governor to stop all alcohol sales beginning Friday, April 3rd.” Another one claims “Gov. Gavin Newsom suspends alcohol in CA as of March 28.”

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.

Some of these posts, such as one about Mississippi banning booze that has since been pulled down, appear to be screenshots of a news story. But if you click on the links in other posts, it brings you to a page that says “you got pranked.”

The joke, however, is getting lost on many Facebook users as they share both these blog posts and images of seeming media stories with this tee-totaling news.

Read the full story here.

8:30 p.m. Cook County Circuit Court extends postponement of most criminal, civil cases through May

Cook County Circuit Court is extending its suspension of most criminal and civil cases through May and expanding the use of videoconferencing amid the growing COVID-19 outbreak.

Originally postponed until April 15, most court cases are now suspended until May 18, the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans said in a statement Monday.

Evans also ordered the expansion of videoconferencing for all court proceeds deemed necessary or emergencies, officials said. All court hearings will be conducted via video no later than April 16. Currently, all detainees with bail hearings appear in court via video.

Read the full report here.

7:56 p.m. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new PSA: ‘Stay home. Save lives.’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot launched a new PSA Monday to explain social distancing and encourage Chicagoans to follow just one simple rule: stay home.

“The data shows that social distancing works,” the mayor said. “Please pay attention. Stay home. Save lives.”

In the public service announcement, Lightfoot took on different personas, such as the decorator and even the astrologer, to convince people to stay home.

“Apologies to all the Aries, but if you stay at home now, maybe you can celebrate with all the Geminis later,” she said with a cup of tea and saucer in hand.

Even Lightfoot, the White Sox fan, made a plea for Chicagoans to stay in, boasting that if the White Sox win, then Chicagoans must stay home. The clip that follows is one from the Sox’s World Series win in 2005.

But it’s Lightfoot, the realist, who sums it all up best.

“The truth is, 40,000 hospitalizations will break our healthcare system,” Lightfoot concludes. “Stay home. Save lives.”

Watch the video for yourself, and if it wasn’t already clear: stay home and save lives.

Watch the PSA here.

— Alison Martin

7:01 p.m. NCAA to give spring sport athletes extra year of eligibility

The NCAA will permit spring sport athletes who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus outbreak to have an additional year of eligibility.

The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to give college athletes who compete in spring sports such as baseball, softball and lacrosse a way to get back the season they lost, but did not guarantee financial aid.

Read the full report here.

6:33 p.m. Pritzker says feds sent wrong masks as Illinois reports 8 more coronavirus deaths

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday said the White House sent Illinois a shipment of hundreds of thousands of the wrong type of masks — as the state saw its eighth death and the spread of the coronavirus into half of its counties.

It appears a détente between the Democratic governor and President Donald Trump is over. After weeks of criticizing Trump’s response to the outbreak on national television and daily in press briefings, Pritzker last week said he was thankful for a White House shipment of N95 masks, which came after Pritzker asked Trump personally for help.

Instead the state received surgical masks, Pritzker said.

Read the full report by Tina Sfondeles and Mitch Dudek here.

6:10 p.m. 29 more CPD members test positive for COVID-19, raising total to 50

The Chicago Police Department on Monday announced that 29 more employees have tested positive for the coronavirus,

There are now 50 total cases of the disease in the department, Chicago police said.

“They are getting the best care available and we are prioritizing infection control protocols within police facilities,” CPD chief spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet announcing the cases.

Read the full story from reporter David Struett here.

5:40 p.m. Coronavirus test sites added in Illinois, but Pritzker says limited capacity still ‘an enormous problem’

As Illinois’ number of confirmed COVID-19 cases eclipsed 5,000 on Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said there still aren’t nearly enough tests available to track the rise of the deadly disease even as several new testing sites have opened in recent days.

“Just look at the number of tests that have been done — even in the large states — it’s minimal compared to the number of people we know already have COVID-19, or have had it and never knew it,” Pritzker said during a press briefing Monday. “And so, this is an enormous problem.”

By Monday, 5,056 of the 30,446 people tested for coronavirus in Illinois were positive, with 72 succumbing to the disease, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

As of Sunday, Illinois was running around 4,000 tests a day, double the state’s capacity for testing just five days earlier. Pritzker said then he hopes the state can start processing 10,000 daily tests by April 8 in order to get a “truly holistic understanding of the virus in each of our 102 counties.”

The governor on Monday said he was “very, very excited” about a new rapid COVID-19 test developed by Lake Bluff-based Abbott Labs that received emergency approval last week from the Food and Drug Administration. The test can deliver results in as little as five minutes, the company said.

Reporter Tom Schuba has the full story.

5:26 p.m. Federal judge suspends civil, criminal jury trials canceled until after May 29

U.S. Chief District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer on Monday acknowledged the difficulty of calling people in for jury duty amid the coronavirus outbreak as she canceled all civil and criminal jury trials set to begin on or before May 29.

“Social-distancing guidelines render juror participation difficult or unsafe, and the current public health emergency renders it infeasible for the clerk’s office to accomplish the mailing of juror summons,” Pallmeyer wrote.

Pallmeyer’s 10-page order allows several types of hearings — including detention hearings and arraignments — to occur by phone or video as long as the defendant agrees to it. The order also delays all plea hearings and sentencing hearings set to begin on or before May 1, unless an emergency judge is told it is necessary to go forward. Certain circumstances would also allow those hearings to occur by video or phone.

The chief judge also wrote that, “grand juries shall continue to meet, with reasonable limits on grand jury sessions imposed by the court in consultation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Read the full order here.

— Jon Seidel

4:52 p.m. Conditions for companies that get virus aid: Room for abuse?

WASHINGTON — A $500 billion federal aid package for companies and governments hurt by the coronavirus includes rules aimed at ensuring that the taxpayer money is used in ways that would help sustain the economy. But questions are being raised about whether those guardrails will prevent the kinds of abuses that have marked some corporate bailouts of the past.

In return for the emergency loans, which could be spun by the Federal Reserve into up to $4.5 trillion, companies will face temporary limits on what they can pay executives. They’ll also need to keep their workforces stable or at least not lay off more than 10% for several months. And they’ll face restrictions on stock buybacks and dividend increases.

Yet loopholes may lurk in the legislation.

“On paper, it looks like we learned the lessons,’’ said James Angel, an associate professor of finance at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “But the devil is in the details. ... There’s a lot of room around the edges.”

Read more from the Associated Press here.

4:04 p.m. John Krasinski’s new YouTube show brings good news — with some help from Steve Carell

Few news headlines seem to be positive as the coronavirus pandemic endures, but actor John Krasinski knew there was still good news out there — so he launched his own network to share it.

Last week, Krasinski put out a call on Twitter for some good news, and people responded with all types goodness. Some thanked doctors and nurses. Others found sweet ways to stay connected with loved ones while still staying socially distant.

The result of those positive posts became the new YouTube show “Some Good News with John Krasinski.” The show, hosted by Krasinski in what looks like his home office, compiles some of those posts with other positive news from around the internet.

For this first edition, Krasinski also celebrated the 15th anniversary of “The Office” with fellow co-star Steve Carell. The two reminisced on their favorite moments from the show and dished on which scenes were hardest to film — be it from laughter or tears.

Krasinski also interviewed his hero of the week, Coco, a 15-year-old California girl who arrived home last Tuesday after her final chemotherapy treatment to a line of friends and family members cheering for her from the safe distance of their cars.

The only thing critique of the show? Needs more Emily Blunt.

Watch the first episode of Krasinski’s new show here.

Alison Martin

3:28 p.m. Mayor Lori Lightfoot on memes: ‘I’ve enjoyed them’

Memes of a stony-faced Mayor Lori Lightfoot guarding the lakefront trail and other Chicago hotspots blew up the internet over the weekend.

“I’ve been getting them from people all over the city ... all across the country,” Lightfoot said during a press conference Monday afternoon.

Her verdict?

“I’ve enjoyed them,” Lightfoot said.

“I think this is a very difficult time and people are afraid, the stress levels are high and like in any difficult time, I think we need to have a sense of balance, and humor is part of it.”

Read the full story here.

3:10 p.m. Naperville church pastor dies a week after contracting COVID-19

A pastor at Calvary Church of Naperville has died a week after testing positive for the coronavirus and being hospitalized with pneumonia, the church announced Monday.

“It saddens my heart to tell you that Pastor Angel Escamilla has passed away from this life,” lead pastor Martyn Sloan wrote on the church’s Facebook page. “I know that we prayed for his earthly healing in hopes that he would remain with us. Our prayers were not in vain, as they turned our hearts toward the hope we place in heaven.”

Last week, Sloan announced that Escamilla tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and had been “seriously ill” in a hospital with pneumonia.

According to the church’s website, Escamilla served for more than 40 years as a pastor, missionary, teacher and associate pastor. Escamilla was married for more than 40 years, and has two sons and 10 grandchildren, according to the website.

Read the full story here.

2:40 p.m. What it’s like to get tested for coronavirus

As COVID-19 spreads rapidly across Illinois, demand for testing to confirm infection continues to outpace the supply of test kits. Pop-up and drive-thru testing sites across the state have begun administering nasal swab tests, with priority given tofirst responders and health professionals.

The most widely-used test is requires a long-tipped swab that is used to collect materials from the nasopharynx, where the nasal passage connects to the back of the throat. The swab must be held in place for several seconds. Then, the sample is stored in a liquid-filled tube and sent to a lab to be processed.

What is it like to get swabbed for a COVID-19 test?

Jessica Peck, a pediatric nurse practitioner in Texas, tweeted a diagram Saturday illustrating exactly what happens when a patient is swabbed for a COVID-19 test:

A short supply of the long-tipped swabs used for testing and some of the chemicals mixed with the specimens has stymied widespread testing efforts. So has the limited availability of the biomedical equipment used to test the specimens, something Abbott Laboratories in northwest suburban Chicago is working to fix.

Lynn Sweet reports on the race to produce more testing tools at Abbott.

2:30 p.m. Illinois coronavirus deaths up to 73 as cases surpass 5,000

Gov. J.B. Pritzker meeting with the Sun-Times Editorial Board.

Sun-Times file photo

Illinois health officials on Monday said another eight people have died from the coronavirus, bringing the state’s death toll to 73 people — as COVID-19 has spread to 52 of the state’s 102 counties.

President Donald Trump on Sunday extended federal social distancing guidelines to April 30, and states including Illinois are expected to lengthen their stay-at-home orders.

Illinois residents are under a stay-at-home executive order through April 7. An extension of the order — as well as a mandated extension of school closures — is expected this week. But Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office said as of Monday, the order had not been extended.

The state on Monday reported 461 new cases, bringing the total number of positive cases to 5,057. The figure is a large drop from the 1,105 reported on Sunday, the largest single-day count the state has seen — but Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office said that is due, in part, to some commercial laboratories not running tests on Sundays.

At his daily briefing, Gov. J.B. Pritzker planned to outline how the state will use the McCormick Place convention center as a field hospital. The state is also working on re-opening some closed hospitals and opening up some older buildings to serve as hospitals.

The McCormick Place field site would not be for COVID-19 patients in severe conditions. Those patients would remain in hospitals, the governor’s office said.

Pritzker on Sunday had spent some of his daily press conference outlining the state’s testing capacity. He said the state ran 2,000 tests per day on March 24 and by Sunday had stretched that to 4,000 tests a day. The state plans to run 10,000 tests a day within about 9 days.

Both Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the head of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, have said more testing would help them know where the virus is spreading. which will ultimately limit the infection and the spread.

“This is how we will get to the end of this pandemic sooner,” Ezike said on Sunday.

Read the full story here.

1:50 p.m. John Prine in stable condition, his wife says

John Prine is in stable condition after being placed on a ventilator while being treated for COVID-19-type symptoms, his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine said Monday.

The singer-songwriter’s family said Sunday that Prine was critically ill. Fiona Prine’s message Monday on social media, suggested his condition had improved overnight. Prine remains hospitalized.

“Please continue to send your amazing love and prayers,” she said on Twitter. “Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you.”

Read the full story here.

1:25 p.m. Man who contracted COVID-19 at Cook County Jail: ‘I thought I was going to die’

The Albany Park man ended up in Cook County jail in December when reports of the virulent flu-like illness in China first made headlines. As he served out a 90-day sentence for an aggravated DUI, coronavirus was not on the top of his mind.

As weeks wore on, shelter-in-place orders shut down businesses and altered the rhythm of life on the outside. Inside, there were only the snippets of information on TV but soon, jail visits were canceled and incoming detainees spent a week in quarantine before joining the others.

Then on March 23, the Albany Park man and an 18-year-old detainee became the first two people who tested positive for COVID-19 inside the jail complex. By Monday — a week later — that total climbed to 101 detainees and 12 jail employees.

“It was like Disneyland for coronavirus,” said the 42-year-old man, who was released from jail last week and is now self-quarantining at home. “I didn’t bring it in. And once it’s in, it’s going to go crazy.”

The man, who asked the Chicago Sun-Times not to use his name, was housed in the Residential Treatment Unit, where low-risk offenders with medical issues or in treatment programs, spent their days snapping down dominoes and playing cards. At night, they slept in a single, dormitory style room, with beds roughly two feet apart.

Read the full story here.

12:25 p.m. CPS students unlikely to return to schools this year, alderman says after mayoral briefing

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday outlined a plan for “remote learning” — including the distribution of lap-top computers to needy students — leaving one aldermen to conclude that Chicago Public Schools students have attended their last day of in-person classes this academic year.

“They’re doing remote learning for the rest of the year. … We have no expectation of them going back,” Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) told the Sun-Times after a conference call with the mayor.

Pressed on whether Lightfoot said students would not return to school buildings for the rest of the year, Lopez said, “I don’t know if that was the exact words. But, that’s the implication— that the rest of the school year will be remote learning. I don’t know why they’d have to go back if they’re all learning at home.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has closed all public and private schools statewide through April 7. Lightfoot has extended the closing for CPS schools through April 20.

Read the full story here.

12:10 p.m. CPS to distribute 100K laptops, iPads and Chromebooks for students to use at home

Chicago Public Schools is planning to distribute 100,000 electronic devices for students to use at home as the district begins to implement a remote learning plan ordered by the state, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and schools officials announced Monday.

Despite the effort to provide laptops for students who don’t have them, the district’s plan is expected to include guidance for both online and non-digital learning because CPS “cannot close the digital divide overnight,” the district said in a press release.

Officials said about 65,000 school-based devices — including laptops, ChromeBooks and iPads — will be distributed to families who need them most, and another 37,000 new devices will be purchased. CPS said it plans to distribute those “promptly” and would be in touch with families in the coming days.

Read the full story here.

12:03 p.m. Trump says feds to pay 100% for Illinois National Guard COVID-19 deployment

The federal government will pay the costs of calling out the Illinois National Guard, activated by Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this month, to assist the state in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Donald Trump on Monday, in a memo to the Defense and Homeland Security secretaries, extended the benefit to the states of Illinois, Connecticut and Michigan. The three states will get the extra federal help for 30 days.

Illinois National Guard members are being deployed mainly for logistic support and medical staffing, used heavily at coronavirus testing sites around the state.

Read the full story here.

8:24 a.m. Why Chicagoans are putting teddy bears in their windows

With Chicago schools closed, playdates canceled and many outdoor public spaces on lockdown, kids across the city — and their parents — are getting antsy. So Chicago has joined a global movement to make families’ occasional trips outside in their neighborhoods a fun and engaging experience.

The #bearhunt movement was inspired by Michael Rosen’s 1989 children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” which opens with the lines, “We’re going on a bear hunt/We’re going to catch a big one/What a beautiful day!/We’re not scared.”

The movement has spread from Canada to New Zealand and across the U.S. In the city and surrounding suburbs, neighbors have been using social media to encourage their communities to participate.

While gathering in large groups outside is not recommended, medical professionals say it’s important to get moderate exercise and fresh air, both for physical and mental health. The “humble daily walk” can serve as “an anchor” for those in need of routines while social distancing — especially children.

Lizzie Schiffman Tufano

6:42 a.m. U.S. social distancing guidelines extended to April 30, President Trump says

Bracing the nation for a grim death toll, President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the voluntary national shutdown for a month, bowing to public-health experts who told him the coronavirus pandemic could claim over 100,000 lives in the U.S., perhaps significantly more, if not enough is done to fight it.

It was a stark shift in tone by the president, who only days ago mused about the country reopening in a few weeks. From the Rose Garden, he said his Easter revival hopes had only been “aspirational.”

The initial 15-day period of social distancing urged by the federal government expires Monday and Trump had expressed interest in relaxing the national guidelines at least in parts of the country less afflicted by the pandemic. But instead he decided to extend them through April 30, a tacit acknowledgment he’d been too optimistic. Many states and local governments have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

“I want our life back again,” the president told reporters in the Rose Garden.

Read the full story here.

5:30 a.m. Coronavirus upends college decision process for Chicago high school students

Picking a college has always been a nerve-wracking experience — especially as May 1 approaches, the date by which most four-year colleges require new students to enroll for a spot in the fall.

But with campuses closed, college fairs canceled and students cut off from their teachers and counselors during an unprecedented shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, students have found their decision process increasingly difficult, especially as the economy falters. Meanwhile, the organizations and institutions supporting them are having to find new ways of helping seniors stay on track.

Read the full story from reporter Matt Hendrickson.


New cases


Analysis and Commentary

7:32 p.m. Remote learning OK, but school in July might be needed to really get kids back on track

The coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of slowing down here in Illinois. As of Monday, our state had more than 5,000 reported cases of COVID-19, including 73 deaths.

The McCormick Place Convention Center now is being converted into a 3,000-bed field hospital for patients who don’t require intensive care. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected this week to extend the state’s stay-at-home order and school closures beyond April 7.

It’s clear with every day’s news that the pandemic is exacting a toll on every aspect of our lives.

So we’re bracing for another drastic development that seems more and more necessary to safeguard public health and save lives: Shutting down our public schools for the rest of the academic year.

Read our full editorial here.

5:34 p.m. Coronavirus makes it more clear than ever: Health care is a human right

Who is going to pay for this?

For months that question was used as a weapon against supporters of Medicare for All. Now, it is on everyone’s mind as they worry about the costs of the testing and treatment for the coronavirus. The virus is highly contagious. We need everyone with symptoms to get tested and all with the virus to get treatment. If anyone hesitates because they fear they can’t afford the cost, they put the rest of us at risk.

No one should be worried about the costs of treatment.

Those costs, however, are going to be staggering, particularly if the fears of the administration’s leading expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, are realized and a million or more may become infected with the disease. Hospitalization and treatment will cost hundreds of billions. The average cost of hospitalization for pneumonia patients is about $20,000, but many coronavirus patients tend to need to stay on ventilators longer and fight off more complications than pneumonia patients.

Across the country, Americans are terrified at the potential costs if they get sick.

Read Rev. Jesse Jackson’s latest column here.

12:25 p.m. It’s a bad idea for journalists to censor Trump – instead, they can help the public identify what’s true or false

In times of mortal strife, humans crave information more than ever, and it’s journalists’ responsibility to deliver it.

But what if that information is inaccurate, or could even kill people?

That’s the quandary journalists have found themselves in as they decide whether to cover President Donald J. Trump’s press briefings live.

Some television networks have started cutting away from the briefings, saying the events are no more than campaign rallies, and that the president is spreading falsehoods that endanger the public.

“If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us, stop broadcasting it,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tweeted. “Honestly, it’s going to cost lives.”

News decisions and ethical dilemmas aren’t simple, but withholding information from the public is inconsistent with journalistic norms, and while well-meaning, could actually cause more harm than good in the long run. Keeping the president’s statements from the public prevents the public from being able to evaluate his performance, for example.

Read the full Opinion story from David Cuillier, an associate professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona.

11:50 a.m. A wakeup call to be ready next time

Let’s keep history from repeating itself.

Once this COVID-19 pandemic has passed, we must do all in our power to be better prepared next time. Let’s not listen to those who call the pandemic a hoax. Let’s not listen to people who say to ignore it. The warning signs were there and the facts were real.

We once had a federal pandemic response team, but a decision was made that this team was not necessary and it was let go. We are a big country and can afford a little insurance.

Read the full edition of Letters To The Editor here.

7:42 a.m. Check-out time for reusable grocery bags? For now, ‘paper or plastic’ a safer option

Apparently Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order also applies to reusable grocery bags.

Just one day after the union that represents Chicago grocery and pharmacy workers requested — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration rejected — suspending the city’s plastic bag tax and temporarily banning the use of reusable bags, the governor announced Saturday that grocery stores around the state will soon roll out a new set of guidelines that includes a temporary prohibition on reusable bags.

It was not immediately clear how this will impact grocery stores in the city, where shoppers are charged 7 cents per bag if they don’t bring their own.

On Friday, the mayor’s office issued a statement statement shooting down the suggestion of a temporary ban and citing a lack of evidence that reusable bags transmit the illness.

On Saturday, it issued a new statement saying the city will comply with any new protocols and restrictions for grocery stores but intends to continue to collect the bag tax.

Read more from columnist Mark Brown.

6:37 a.m. Rent is coming due for many who’ve lost jobs or seen their hours cut

Many renters who have lost jobs or seen their hours cut because of the coronavirus have their own reckoning with an April 1 due date. Larger Chicago-area landlords say they’re in no mood to forgive rent, but they might extend the deadline if asked. Some may hold off on eviction proceedings for longer than the current state and local mandates require.

“We expect rent to be paid on time. For those who lost their jobs, we’ll work out a payment plan. I still have to pay salaries, taxes and mortgages,” said Stuart Handler, CEO of TLC Management and a board member of the Chicagoland Apartment Association, the lobbying voice for landlords. TLC has more than 10,000 apartments in the city and suburbs.

David Friedman, president of F&F Realty in Skokie, said tenants have leverage because Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has suspended evictions until April 30. Landlords, however, are free to start eviction proceedings in court, a filing that could hurt tenants’ chance of finding an apartment elsewhere.

Read the full story from David Roeder.

The Latest
Day 1 of the NBA free-agent period was hijacked by Kevin Durant’s desire to be traded out of Brooklyn, and while the Bulls did their due diligence in trying to gage what a Durant package would look like, the top priority remained keeping LaVine in Chicago.
Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, on Thursday became the first Black woman elevated to the nation’s highest court. Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that her “ascension to the bench now tells the world that the seemingly impossible is possible. So proud!”
Joseph Guardia, 27, has been charged with the attack. He has offered no motive to police other than he is an “angry person,” according to prosecutors.
R. Kelly’s legal saga has been an unnecessarily drawn out debacle fueled by denial, greed and the willingness to ignore the cries of mostly Black girls and women.
“To Chicago’s businesses, I want to say loud and clear: Labor laws are not optional. We will hold you accountable,” said a city official on consumer protection.