(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
The city of Chicago is launching four new free coronavirus testing sites starting Tuesday as the city and state prepare to enter phase four of reopening at the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to deliver an update on the coronavirus pandemic across the state Tuesday afternoon.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (June 23):
Pritzker to Deliver Coronavirus Update
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was scheduled to deliver a COVID-19 update in a news conference at 2:30 p.m. CST from the Thompson Center in Chicago.
The news conference can be viewed live in the video player above.
Chicago Launches 4 New Free Testing Sites
The city of Chicago is launching four new free coronavirus testing sites starting Tuesday in a new pilot program, according to the mayor’s office.
Two of the testing sites will be community-based while the other two will be focused on first responders, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said in a statement.
The first community-based site will begin operating Tuesday at Austin Health Center and the second will start operating later in the week at Kennedy King College, officials said. The testing sites for first responders will begin operating on the city’s North and Southwest Sides Tuesday but will travel to areas “where they are most needed,” Lightfoot’s office said.
More details can be found here.
Illinois Released White Inmates at Higher Rates
White inmates in Illinois are having their sentences shortened during the coronavirus pandemic at a higher rate than Black inmates, an analysis of public data by a prison reform group shows.
State officials released about 3,400 people early from Illinois prisons between March 1 and June 4, according to a report published Wednesday by the Chicago-based group, Restore Justice.
Less than half (46%) of inmates released early were Black, even though Black inmates make up 54% of the state prison population. Meanwhile, 43% of inmates who were released early were white, even though whites make up about 32% of the prison population, according to the Restore Justice report.
More details can be found here.
Arlington to Resume Racing in Late July
After what the track’s president called “challenging negotiations,” racing at Arlington International Racecourse will resume later this year after track owners reached an agreement with the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
According to a press release from Churchill Downs Inc., the agreement will pave the way for live racing to resume at the track on July 23.
According to the release, races will be held at Arlington on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 p.m. post times each day. Fans will not be permitted at the track, according to the release, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The newly negotiated pact will cover the 2020 and 2021 racing seasons
Chicago Releases Guidelines for Phase 4
As Chicago enters phase four at the end of the week, the city will see some big changes.
The transition will bring back several businesses and attractions to the city, each with their own restrictions and adjustments. Among the changes is the return of indoor dining, the reopening of museums, zoos, performance venues, summer camps and more. Gathering limitations will also be loosened, but residents will still be urged to social distance and wear face coverings.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot discusses the city’s decision to move into Phase Four of the coronavirus reopening plan.
Illinois Reports 462 New Coronavirus Cases, 26 Additional Deaths Monday
An additional 462 coronavirus cases and 26 more deaths were reported in Illinois Monday, according to state health officials.
The newly-reported cases bring the statewide total since the pandemic began to 137,224 cases and 6,671 deaths.
The state also reported 18,219 total test specimens returned to state labs in the last 24 hours. The latest increase brings the state to 1,379,003 tests conducted.
Zoos Announce Reopening Dates, Plans
Both Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and the Brookfield Zoo have announced reopening plans as the city and state prepare to enter phase four of reopening.
The zoos will require reservations and will have capacity limits.
Pritzker Releases New Guidelines for Phase 4
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday released new guidelines for Illinois as the state looks to move into phase four of its reopening plan on Friday.
Phase four of the “Restore Illinois” plan allows for the reopening or expansion of several industries, including indoor dining at restaurants, health and fitness, movies and theaters, museums and zoos and more. This next phase also increases the size of gatherings that are allowed from 10 people to a maximum of 50 people.
All four regions of Illinois are on track to enter phase four on Friday, Pritzker’s office said, with the state’s average 7-day case positivity rate falling to 2.5 percent as of Saturday.
The following safety guidelines and regulations will be put in place Friday, according to Pritzker’s office:
- Meetings and events: Venues and meeting spaces can resume with the lesser of up to 50 people OR 50% of overall room capacity. Multiple groups are permitted given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups. This includes activities such as conferences and weddings.
- Indoor and Outdoor recreation: Revised guidelines to allow select indoor recreation facilities (e.g., bowling alleys, skating rinks), as well as clubhouses to reopen. Indoor recreation to operate at lesser of 50 customers OR 50% of facility capacity with outdoor recreation allowing group sizes of up to 50, and permitting multiple groups given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Indoor Dining: Indoor dining can reopen with groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6-feet apart in seated areas and with standing areas at no more than 25% of capacity.
- Museums: Can reopen with no more than 25% occupancy, and with interactive exhibits and rides closed; guided tours should be limited to 50 people or fewer per group; museums should have a plan to limit congregation via advance ticket sales and timed ticketing; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Zoos: Can reopen with no more than 25% occupancy, and with interactive exhibits, indoor exhibits, and rides closed; guided tours should be limited to 50 people or fewer per group; zoos should have a plan to limit congregation via advance ticket sales and timed ticketing; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Cinema and Theatre: Indoor seated theaters, cinemas, and performing arts centers to allow admission of the lesser of up to 50 guests OR 50% of overall theater or performance space capacity (applies to each screening room); outdoor capacity limited to 20% of overall theater or performance space capacity; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Outdoor seated spectator events: Outdoor spectator sports can resume with no more than 20% of seating capacity; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Film production: Allow no more than 50% of sound stage or filming location capacity; crowd scenes should be limited to 50 people or fewer.
- Youth and Recreational Sports: Revised guidelines allow competitive gameplay and tournaments; youth and recreational sports venues can operate at 50% of facility capacity, 20% seating capacity for spectators, and group sizes up to 50 with multiple groups permitted during practice and competitive games given venues have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Health and fitness centers: Revised guidelines allow gyms to open at 50% capacity and allow group fitness classes of up to 50 people with new safety guidelines for indoors, with multiple groups permitted given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups.
- Day camps: Water-based activities permitted in accordance with IDPH guidelines; no more than 50% of facility capacity with group size of no more than 15 participants in a group, unless participants changing weekly.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady urged residents to remain cautious and heed safety guidelines as the city prepares to enter phase four sooner than expected.
Chicago Ready to Move to Phase 4 on Friday
Chicago will be ready to enter phase four with the rest of Illinois on Friday, several days earlier than health experts had initially planned, the mayor announced.
The transition means additional businesses and public amenities will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity and certain restrictions and gatherings can increase to up to 50 people inside and 100 people outside.
Here’s a look at what will open for the first time at the beginning of phase four in Chicago:
- Indoor seating in bars and restaurants
- Museums and zoos
- Performance venues
- Summer camps / youth activities
Phase four will also include adjustments to other industries that have previously reopened. Residents will still be urged to social distance and wear face coverings.
More details can be found here.