Afternoon Edition: Feb. 9, 2022

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

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker said today he’ll lift Illinois’ indoor mask mandate on Feb. 28.

Pat Nabong/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.

This afternoon will be cloudy with scattered snow showers and a high near 37 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers and a low around 24. Similar conditions are expected tomorrow, with scattered flurries and a high near 30.

Top story

Maskless March: Pritzker to lift Illinois’ indoor mask mandate for most public areas Feb. 28 — but not yet for schools

Gov. J.B. Pritzker today announced he’ll lift his indoor mask mandate for most public settings by Feb. 28, but he’ll still push to keep face coverings on in schools for a few weeks beyond that.

The Democratic governor’s latest pandemic directive means Illinoisans — vaccinated or not — can go bare-faced in grocery stores, restaurants, theaters and other gathering points, but they’ll still have to mask up in hospitals, nursing homes and other places with vulnerable residents, as well as on mass transit.

And while the fate of face coverings in schools is still unclear pending the result of a legal challenge in Sangamon County, Pritzker said he’ll stick to his plan to keep students’ and teachers’ masks on at least until early spring.

“We still have the sensitive locations of K-12 schools, where we have lots of people who are, you know, joined together in smaller spaces, thousands of people interacting in one location at a time, and so that’s something that will come weeks hence,” Pritzker said at an unrelated Champaign news conference.

That mandate was halted by a downstate judge last week who ruled the governor was overreaching his executive power by requiring masks in schools. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has asked an appellate court to pause the judge’s restraining order.

In the meantime, the general public will be able to go back to a mostly maskless lifestyle at the end of the month for the first time since last summer.

Mitchell Armentrout and Taylor Avery have more on the fate of the mask mandate here.

More news you need

  1. In other mask mandate news, the Archdiocese of Chicago has announced that masks will be optional at many suburban Catholic schools beginning tomorrow. This will not include Catholic schools in Chicago, Evanston or Oak Park where local health departments still require them.
  2. A 21-year-old man has been charged with fatally shooting a 12-year-old boy as he sat on a bed in Englewood in early January. The man was arrested yesterday in Racine, Wisconsin, and charged with shooting Marcell Wilson, Chicago police said.
  3. Disorganized tax procrastinator or careful client? Two conflicting portraits of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson emerged today as his accountant continued his testimony at the 11th Ward City Council member’s federal tax trial. Our Jon Seidel and Tim Novak have the latest from the Dirksen Federal Courthouse here.
  4. A building in West Ridge has been marked for demolition after federal agents and Chicago police raided it last night, arresting a man who said he tended gambling machines inside. In recent months the building had come to be known as a “social club” and was a frequent target of citizen complaints, particularly after a shooting on the block earlier this year.
  5. One of Chicago’s newest music hubs, The Salt Shed, has revealed its outdoor concert series lineup set for late summer. Jason Isbell, Fleet Foxes and Sharon Van Etten are among the performers set to play the former site of the Morton Salt company on Elston Avenue.
  6. CBS may be bringing back an old show about an amazing futuristic device: the newspaper. The network has reportedly ordered a pilot for a reboot of “Early Edition,” the 1996-2000 series about a Chicagoan who inexplicably begins receiving a copy of the Sun-Times each morning that gives him the news 24 hours early.

A bright one

‘We made a Snowpy!’: Hyde Park pair sculpt Snoopy out of Promontory Point snow

After a stretch of heavy snow blanketed the city last week, Hyde Park residents Megan Kennedy and Alexandre Machado decided to brave the cold and mark the end of the workweek with a winter art project at Promontory Point on Friday.

The result: A nearly 3-foot-tall snowy homage to the iconic Peanuts beagle Snoopy relaxing on top of his dog house, complete with a rock for a nose and some craft foam for an ear.

The snow sculpture takes the pup from his usual spot in Charlie Brown’s backyard and plants him on the south side of the park, before a view accented by the lake, 57th and 63rd Street beach sand, South Shore high-rises, Southeast side smokestacks and more.


A snow sculpture of Snoopy is seen at Promontory Point in Hyde Park last Saturday. The beloved beagle was sculpted by Chicago residents Megan Kennedy and Alexandre Machado.


Equipped with a garbage can, duster, dustpan, a dollar-store sand castle builder set and a shortlist of potential snow sculpture ideas, the two friends left their nearby apartments to meet at the Point by sunset and get to work.

They said that once they staked their spot in the park near the light of a streetlamp, they started working with the snow and realized they could pack it into a giant mountain-volcano-like structure to chisel out Snoopy and his doghouse. As they worked, people walking by would stop and stare.

Using an image of Snoopy on their phones as a reference, Kennedy and Machado said it took them a little over an hour and a half to complete their masterpiece. It was a blend of fun and focus to carry out their vision as the temperature continued to dip below freezing and their hands started to get shaky, they said.

“After [we finished],” Machado said, “Megan said, ‘Oh, we made a Snowpy!’”

I spoke with Kennedy and Machado yesterday to get the full story behind their work here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

It’s National Pizza Day so we want to know — who has the best pizza? Chicago or New York? Tell us why.

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: When should Gov. Pritzker end the indoor mask mandate?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Until everyone is vaccinated or no longer in danger of any virus.” — Henry C. Juarez

“Yesterday, this mask bullcrap has got to go.” — Glenn Selan

“When the medical experts say it is safe.” — Donna Danute Mockus Ronge

“Begin to lift the mandate in most public places and move to a hybrid model. Large gatherings, public transport, airports etc should continue until ICU bed availability are back to acceptable levels.” — Marty Durkin

“Never should have been implemented.” — Vicki DeFord

“Ideally, when the positivity rate is below 1% and the vaccinated rate is above 90%.” — Carole Delahunty

“When hospitals are not overwhelmed and science shows it to be feasible.” — Kelly Beall

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