Afternoon Edition: March 26, 2020

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

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A man ignores a “trail closed” sign on the Lakefront Trail near Oak Street Beach as the city closes the area to pedestrians this morning. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a5-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.

Today kicks off a series of rainy days, according to the forecast. Some rain showers are likely this afternoon, with a high near 43 degrees. The low tonight will be around 37 degrees. Tomorrow, more rain is expected with a high of 44 degrees.

Top story

Lakefront Trail, 606, Riverwalk all officially closed to public; violators could face arrest

Today, Mayor Lori Lightfoot made good on her threat to shut down the lakefront trail and all surrounding parks and beaches — along with the downtown Riverwalk and the 606 Trail — after Chicagoans were seen congregating at those hot spots yesterday.

Lightfoot said she was forced to act because asking people to voluntarily abide by the statewide stay-at-home order and avoid groups simply was not working.

“Folks, we can’t mess around with this one second longer,” she said. Lightfoot said that failure to stay home will harm efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “and could lead to more deaths.“

“If you don’t stay home … we will be headed for a situation like what we are seeing play out in New York,” Lightfoot added. “We could be expecting upwards of 40,000 hospitalizations in the coming weeks. That number would break the back of our health care system.”

Chicago Police Supt. Charlie Beck said the activities he saw people engaging in along the lake “were things I love to do” — but in this case, those actions put lives at risk. He said police will be enforcing the public health orders all over the city, around the clock.

The orders were signed by Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner, who said she shared the mayor’s concern that the order to stay home “was not being taken seriously enough.”

Changes made in “these next few weeks are crucial. They will shape the COVID trajectory in Chicago,” Arwady said, pointing to how different areas of Italy had handled the pandemic.

A region with more aggressive action “has seen a much slower surge” in coronavirus cases than another which took less aggressive action, Arwady said. “This is evidence those sacrifices are not for nothing.”

Officials did not say how long the closures will be in effect.

Read the full story from City Hall reporter Fran Spielman.

More news you need

  1. Twelve people were shot in Chicago yesterday. It’s the most violent day we’ve seen since the city issued a stay-at-home order.
  2. Illinois is considering releasing some people from state prisons after officers and inmates tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the corrections system to place two facilities on lockdown. Here’s how they plan to ensure public safety while releasing older or vulnerable residents.
  3. One of the final bridges to be replaced in the seemingly never-ending Jane Byrne Interchange project will be closed for two years starting Friday. The construction of a new Jackson Boulevard bridge over the Kennedy Expressway is set to begin 5 p.m.
  4. A dress shop in Little Village has been making quinceañera and bridal gowns for 22 years. But since Friday, the dressmakers have instead sewed over 1,000 face masks to help with shortages as the number of coronavirus cases rise — and they’re giving them all away. Watch our video story about Novias Davila.
  5. What’s next for Meghan Markle? The Duchess of Sussex has announced that her first post-royal job will be narrating a Disney documentary about elephants. Read about the documentary.
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A bright one

With the stay-at-home order in place, everyone is getting used to conference calls and Zoom meetings as working from home becomes the new normal. On top of it all, many of us are also juggling kids who are home all day as schools are closed across Illinois.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a mom of two girls, is no exception. Duckworth’s youngest, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, turns two next month, and her older daughter, Abigail, is five.

Yesterday morning, Senate Democrats were having a conference call, when real life interrupted. Let’s let Duckworth’s tweet pick it up from there:

We feel you, Sen. Duckworth. Plus, this isn’t even that bad! In another truly cringe-worthy story, a woman was unaware her camera was on while she pulled her pants down and sat on the toilet on during a Zoom meeting with 10 colleagues. (Warning: NSFW.. or should we say, NSFWFH?)

Read Lynn Sweet’s column.

From the press box

At least one sporting event will go on in April: The WNBA Draft will be held as planned April 17 in a “virtual” version, without draftees, guests or media in attendance. The event will be broadcast on ESPN2 with commissioner Cathy Engelbert announcing selections and top picks conducting remote interviews.

The Sky have the eighth overall pick in the draft.

The Indianapolis 500, however, will not make its original May 24 date after organizers announced a postponement until August today. This is the first time since 1946 that the race won’t be held on Memorial Day weekend. 

Your daily question☕

Have you been challenging yourself to try cooking or baking something new now that you have some extra time on your hands? Share your photos with us! (We’ve got some tips and recipes to help, too.)

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 about your favorite restaurant to order takeout from during the stay-at-home order. Here’s what some of you said:

“Michael’s on Broadway in Buena Park. So delicious, extremely affordable and their staff is THE best! Plus it’s a great sports bar once all of this is over,” wrote Melissa McCormack Sisco on Facebook.

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