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Afternoon Edition: May 11, 2020

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

Owner Sean Santa stands outside Tonsor Barber Shop, which is currently closed.
Annie Costabile/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.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny, with a high near 48 degrees. Tonight’s low will be near 40 degrees. Tomorrow will be a little warmer: sunny with a high near 53 degrees.

Top story

Barbers share frustrations about being ‘sidelined’ in the state’s road to recovery

Sean Santa felt bitter last week when he learned golf courses were allowed to reopen but his barbershop wasn’t.

Since mid-March he’s been told his business, Tonsor Barbershop in Irving Park, was non-essential and should be closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Now, somehow, golf courses are more important?

“I mean, the whole essential and non-essential thing bugs me because I’ve seen people in the media and people in government with new haircuts,” Santa said. “Why are their haircuts more important than that of grocery workers and nurses?”

Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled a five-phased plan for reopening the state. It won’t be until the third phase — called “recovery” — that barbershops and salons will be able to reopen, with restrictions.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that we have to stay on the sideline,” Santa said. “We’ve been trained in the highest levels of sanitation and sterilization.”

We’re making our vital coronavirus coverage free for all readers. See the latest news here.

Most of his barbers wore gloves and masks before the pandemic forced his business to shutter, he said. It’s also an appointment-based shop, so he can limit how many people enter.

Barbers’ sole income relies on breaking social-distancing rules, and unlike restaurants or retail stores, barbers can’t pivot to delivery or curbside pick-ups. And the absence of support from the state and federal government, due to the fact that self-employed workers like barbers typically don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, has triggered a bit of desperation.

Chris Turcios, owner of Headquarters Barber Studio, also in Irving Park, said he’s cut hair secretly since the stay-at-home order was issued. Some of those clandestine haircuts were for police officers.

“We are taking risks by doing these appointments, but I’m about to be three months behind on rent and have $2,000 in other bills,” said Turcios. “What else am I supposed to do?”

Turcios, who also has applied for government assistance, said he is now relying on crowdsourced funding to support him and his staff. He recently asked his 1,700 friends on Facebook to donate just $2.

“This is a scary moment, scary that I might have to close,” Turcios said. “Man, we just want to be able to provide for our families.”

Read the full story from Manny Ramos.

More news you need

  1. A member of Gov J.B. Pritzker’s senior staff has tested positive for COVID-19 and all staffers — including the governor — will now work from home for an “appropriate isolation period.“ The staffer tested positive late last week, and Pritzker tested negative early Sunday.
  2. Another 54 people have died of COVID-19 in Illinois, officials said today. New projections show the state could remain in a peak period of 50 to 150 deaths a day into early June — or as one university suggests, up to 300 lives lost each day into July.
  3. John Catanzara, the newly elected president of the Chicago police union, plans to bring a “totally different perspective and attitude than the previous administration.” Catanzara is believed to be the first leader of the FOP to be elected while stripped of his police powers.
  4. With 32 complaints already pending, Chicago aldermen have moved to protect employees from retaliation for absences tied to the coronavirus and threw a bone to struggling businesses. Fran Spielman has more from the virtual meeting.
  5. The Adler Planetarium turns 90 tomorrow. Back when it first opened, tickets were 25 cents, and to many of the staff there, the idea of space travel was preposterous. The museum plans to celebrate virtually.
  6. Film critic Richard Roeper calls “Capone” “a gruesome and grotesque viewing experience that tells us nothing new about the Chicago mobster while rubbing our noses in one detestable scene after another.” Read his searing review.

A bright one

Chicago man surprises mom on Mother’s Day after being released from immigration detention

After spending nearly two years at an immigrant detention center in rural Wisconsin, 26-year-old Francisco Morales was released on bond Friday — and pulled off a Mother’s Day surprise Sunday.

“I thought he was coming back Monday, that’s what he told me,” Morales’ mom, Adriana Torres, 46, said. “I was so excited to hold him, to hug him. It was so hard not knowing how he was doing, how they were treating him, if he was eating or not.

“This is the best gift a mother could ever ask for,” she said.

Adriana Torres reunites with her son, Francisco, on Mother’s Day. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Morales has twice been granted asylum, but government prosecutors appealed both rulings. Immigration authorities were unwilling to release Morales as the appeals made their way through the courts, so his lawyers sued for his freedom in federal court last month. They won.

“It’s weird to think that for almost two years of my life, I was in [detention] wishing I could give my mother a hug or being able to help my brother with his homework — and it takes me a minute to realize that I can, that I’ll finally to be a part of my family again,” he said.

Read the full story from Carlos Ballesteros.

From the press box

The fourth night of “The Last Dance” dug deeper into Michael Jordan as a son and teammate, providing some of the most personal moments of the documentary yet.

For even more background on the death of MJ’s father, Jordan’s baseball career, and the surreal scene surrounding the “Space Jam” set, check out the latest episode of the Sun-Times’ podcast with Richard Roeper and Rick Telander, who covered the Bulls in their heyday.

Your daily question ☕

What does a typical day of meals for you and your family look like these days?

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

On Friday, we asked you to tell us about the first meal you’ll want to eat out once restaurants reopen. Here’s what some of you said…

“EJ’s in Wilmette. Great steaks and a wonderful old-school steakhouse experience with waiters who have been there 20+ years. Hope they come back. Not a take out place so their income disappeared.” — Mark Walls

“Breakfast a Kingsberry in Oak Forest.” — Randy Antes

“I will eat chicken kabobs from Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen.” — Nataliya Kupriv

“Beef Tartar from the Cherry Circle Room.” — Scarlett Herrin

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