Afternoon Edition: Oct. 22, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Starting Friday, bars are back to outdoor seating only — no drinking indoors.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition


Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

After a rainy morning, this afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 71 degrees. Tonight will be rainy with a low around 56 degrees. Tomorrow, more rain is in the forecast, with a high of 47 degrees expected.

Top story

Another COVID clampdown in Chicago; bars banned from serving customers inside, restaurants under 10 p.m. curfew

Meeting friends at a bar in the city this weekend? Bundle up — you’ll be sitting outside.

Chicago is reimposing restrictions on bars, restaurants and nonessential businesses in an attempt to stem a tide of rising COVID-19 cases, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced today.

Starting tomorrow, bars are back to outdoor seating only — no drinking indoors. Restaurants must close at 10 p.m. And other non-essential businesses will be under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

Essential businesses can remain open; that category includes groceries, hardware stores, pharmacies, laundromats, hospitals, gas stations and banks.

Lightfoot disclosed the rollback she threatened just three days ago during a wide-ranging interview with us today. 

The mayor openly acknowledged the tremendous hardship on restaurants and bars that are the lifeblood of Chicago neighborhoods.

“These are really, really tough things to do. Particularly recognizing how dramatically our hospitality industry — our restaurants, our bars, our hotels — have been deeply, profoundly impacted by the economic consequences of this COVID-19 shutdown,” she said.

But Lightfoot argued the “remarkable surge” in Chicago’s positivity rate — up from 4.6% just ten days ago to 7% today — gave her no other choice.

“I see no other way. If there was another way, we would choose it,” she said. “The measures we’re taking today are the first prudent steps. But, I’ve got to be candid and say I would not be shocked if we have to go even further given this huge surge, the rate at which new cases are accelerating, the increase in hospitalizations and test positivity.”

Earlier this week, Lightfoot and Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady told reporters bars and restaurants were not the cause of Chicago’s “second surge.”

Why, then, ban bar service for a second time during the pandemic and force restaurants to close at 10 p.m.?

“You’ve got to look at the places where people are most vulnerable. That is, where are they not wearing masks? Bars is obviously top of the list from every study that I’ve seen from public health experts,” the mayor said.

“We’ve got to be bold and take that step back. I recognize that is a significant economic hardship on the bar owners themselves. But, these are places where people gather en masse without masks,“ Lightfoot said. “That’s why it’s critically important that we take this step regarding bars and then rolling back hours of operations also for restaurants.”

Read Fran Spielman’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Joel Daly, a trusted Chicago news anchor for nearly 40 years and one of the pillars of a WLS-Channel 7 news dynasty, died this morning while watching the news on his former station. The 86-year-old had been diagnosed last year with vascular Parkinsonism, a condition that led to mini-strokes.
  2. A Waukegan police officer shot two people Tuesday night — fatally wounding one of them — after the car they were in allegedly reversed at the officer during a traffic stop in the north suburb. An autopsy result released today found that Marcellis Stinnette, a 19-year-old Black man, died of a gunshot wound.
  3. For the third time in a week, Illinois broke its record for new coronavirus cases today as public health officials announced 4,942 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 statewide. The latest staggering caseload was confirmed among 80,977 tests, the third-highest total ever submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  4. Brookfield Zoo will be closed to the public for two months beginning Jan. 1, the institution announced today. Before closing, the zoo will offer an expanded schedule for its annual Holiday Magic event.
  5. For the first time, Chicago Public Schools is offering mail-in voting for the upcoming Local School Council elections due to concerns about the pandemic. Elementary school council elections are set for Nov. 18; high school council elections are Nov. 19.
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A bright one

Obama encourages people to vote by retweeting Chicago doctor

When Northwestern Medicine physician Dr. Quentin Youmans sent a tweet yesterday morning encouraging people to go out and vote, he had no idea how many people might see it.

It showed his great aunt Ora Smith exiting a car with a ballot in hand and a mask on her lap, moments before casting her vote in Hampton, South Carolina.

In a matter of hours, the tweet garnered over 10,000 retweets and over 67,000 likes… and grabbed the attention of former President Barack Obama.

“102 never looked better! Grateful for all the folks like your aunt who continue to show up and vote in this important election,” Obama wrote.

Youmans said he was shocked when celebrities started retweeting and overwhelmed by the support. His Apple Watch has been pinging him with new notifications every two minutes, he said.

“I was just so surprised, and I really couldn’t believe President Obama not only retweeted but gave a comment encouraging others to vote,” Youmans said. “Obama is an idol for me. His leadership style of grace and humility is what I try to emulate in my own life as a physician.”

Read Manny Ramos’ full story here.

From the press box

Good news for Bears fans: When and if Chicago gets a handle on its “second surge” of the coronavirus, the Bears just might be playing their home games before a limited live audience at Soldier Field.

Bad news for Cubs fans: Hulu Live TV is dropping Marquee Sports Network, the club’s television home, starting tomorrow after the two sides failed to agree to a new deal.

The Blackhawks’ biggest trade this offseason sent Brandon Saad to the Avalanche. GM Stan Bowman explains the decision behind moving on from Saad, and why he wanted defenseman Nikita Zadorov from Colorado in the deal.

Your daily question☕

What do you hope to see in tonight’s final presidential debate between Trump and Biden?

Email us(please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What do you think of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “pandemic budget” announced today?Here’s what some of you said…

“It is full of regressive taxes that will hurt those who already have it tough. The budget does not include any progressive revenue streams. It is a slap in the face to the working class of Chicago.”— Nick Hussong

“Necessary.”— Dennis Novak

“It’s a miracle she continues to have supporters. In a time when people don’t have money to pay rents and landlords are getting stiffed, raising taxes is exactly what the taxpayers need.”— Lynn Pappas-Koukios

“What do you expect her to do?”— Deb Weston

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