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Afternoon Edition: May 29, 2020

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

Patrons at Chuy’s Fine Tex Mex in Orland Park enjoy a meal on the patio without masks.
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.

Happy Friday! This afternoon will be mostly sunny, with a high near 73 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 53 degrees. This weekend will be perfectly pleasant: Sunny with highs near 69 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday.

Top story

Suburbs get one step closer to normal life as Illinois enters Phase 3 of reopening plan

Illinois finally moved into the long-awaited next phase of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan today, getting one step closer to the life we all once knew.

But it’s not all back to normal in the suburbs (or in Chicago, which won’t enter Phase 3 until June 3). Pritzker’s plan still restricts gatherings to 10 people or fewer. Face coverings are required in public. Restaurants and retailers may open, but with limited capacity. Barbershops, salons and gyms must follow a strict set of rules.

“It’s the start of a change. It’s like the door has cracked open a bit,” said John Delano, 72, seated at a sidewalk table this morning outside Prairie Joe’s in Evanston for an iced tea and oatmeal. “We can sit outside here and have a conversation.”

Owner Aydin Dincer said it’s been tough to adjust to a carryout business. “But we have a loyal support base, so that’s helped. I’m very excited today to have people back, even if it’s just on the sidewalk,” he said.

Michael Lorenzo, the owner of Papa Joe’s in Orland Park, has converted parking spaces in front of the restaurant into an outdoor dining area, and said customers can expect to be using disposable eating utensils rather than silverware.

“Judging from the reaction of the phone calls, so far, I think we’re going to be pretty busy,” Lorenzo said. “We have a nice big parking lot in the back, so we’ll keep everybody flowing through.”

At Chuy’s Tex Mex in Orland Park, general manager Jose Salaza said turnout was better than he expected: Almost every table on the restaurant’s patio was filled with customers. He said staff are constantly sanitizing washrooms, door handles and tables.

A young man sits in the barber chair for a haircut at C’Styles Barber Shop in Markham.
Annie Costabile/Sun-Times

In Highland Park, H.P. Hair Image Inc. reopened with strict sanitation protocols. Hairstylists were masked, gloved and gowned. The salon is using no-touch thermometers to take the temperature of employees and customers.

At C’styles Barbershop in Markham, two young clients wore masks as they got haircuts from barbers who were also wearing masks.

To comply with the guidelines, barbers sanitize their chairs after each client, everyone is required to wear a face mask when they enter the shop and C’styles is only taking clients by appointment.

“This is the first day back, so this is definitely a new experience just dealing with the new protocols,” owner Cory Young said. “We always follow good sanitation practices, but we have to go the extra mile now. And it’s taking some getting used to.”

Read our live blog for more team coverage of Illinois’ transition into Phase 3 of Pritzker’s reopening plan today.

More news you need

  1. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is accusing President Donald Trump of trying to “foment violence” after he threatened Minneapolis rioters protesting the death of George Floyd. “I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump. It’s two words: It begins with F and ends with YOU,” she said.
  2. A protest demanding justice for the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor — three black people killed by police across the country — is planned for downtown tomorrow, Block Club Chicago is reporting. So far, thousands have said they will attend on the Facebook event page.
  3. Six of the city’s most popular restaurant corridors will be closed to through traffic to give restaurants more space for outdoor dining. Those corridors are in Chatham, Lake View, Little Village, the Gold Coast, the Near West Side and the West Loop.
  4. Loudspeaker voices telling you to spread out, floor decals reminding you to do the same, cordoned-off seats and “mobile cleaning SWAT teams” are just some of the things you can expect when you ride the CTA starting next month. Here’s more on that, as part of our “Chicago’s New Normal” series.
  5. Chicago police rescued a cute deer from the Chicago River while patrolling the Loop in a boat this morning. Once on land, the deer ran off, apparently uninjured. See the photos.

A bright one

SkyART brings art kits directly to kids during stay-at-home

When Illinois’ stay-at-home order was announced in March, SkyART didn’t miss a beat. Realizing it could no longer offer classes and other programs at its South Side location, the non-profit art center immediately got to work to make sure its participants could continue creating at home.

In addition to taking some of its classes, art therapy and other programs online, they’ve distributed more than 1,000 art kits to families as far south as 115th Street and as far north as Bronzeville.

Leonela Martinez prepares an arts and craft kit at the SkyART studio in Chicago.
James Foster/Sun-Times

Among the first recipients was Myles Sanders, 13, a Chatham resident who has been involved with SkyART for about two years. His mother, Kimberly Y. Sanders, describes the center as a “place of peace” for him.

The art kits include Crayola markers, crayons, multi-sized sheets of paper and a sketchbook, as well as suggestions for how to put them to use. “It’s really cool,” said Myles, who takes part in online art therapy and a Wednesday Zoom class.

And SkyART has no plans to stop: The center is working to expand distribution westward.

Read the full story here.

From the press box

The remaking of the Bulls remains on hold until the NBA makes a decision on how — or whether — to resume the season. The team said it’s ready to start reopening the Advocate Center on Wednesday.

The Blackhawks made the cut for the revamped Stanley Cup playoffs, but the outlook for the team’s defense is cloudy.

And from “Hoop Dreams” to “The Last Dance,” Chicago has been at the center of many memorable sports documentaries. If you’re craving more, our Jeff Agrest has four suggestions for you.

Your daily question ☕

As restaurants begin opening back up again across Illinois, what’s the first place you’ll want to dine at?

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

Yesterday, we asked you what you’d do differently if you knew what you do now at the start of the pandemic. Here’s what some of you said…

“I would have hugged each one of my students and had them to clean out their lockers.” — Lev Johnson

“Stock up on disinfectants like wipes, sprays and hand sanitizer.” — Elisa Reyes Salgado

“Invest in Purell and, as always, Amazon.” — Albert Kulas

“Definitely would have checked out many more books from Edgewater library. Thanks to family for my Mother’s Day gift of a Kindle.” — Barb Tomko

“Put the 500 rolls of toilet paper back.” — Rob Osier

“I’d stop eating so many calories sooner.” — Heidi Fish

Here’s what else Chicagoans said they’d do differently.

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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