coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Chicago Bars Reopen, Riot Fest Canceled

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today

(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.)

Chicago is slowly loosening even more restrictions, allowing bars and breweries to reopen for outdoor service only Wednesday.

At the same time, another major festival has pulled the plug on this year's event.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (June 17):

Chicago City Council Votes to Allow Sale of To-Go Cocktails

Chicago restaurants and bars can sell curbside cocktails under a new measure approved by City Council Wednesday.

The vote comes amid efforts to expand the hospitality industry in phase three of reopening and on the same day bars and breweries across the city reopened for outdoor service.

A similar measure was already signed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this month as Illinois joined 34 other states in enacting a to-go cocktail policy for bars and restaurants.

Lightfoot's COVID-19 Spending Plan Passes City Council

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's $1.1 billion COVID-19 spending plan passed City Council Wednesday.

Council members voted 37-12 to approve the plan, despite some opposition from aldermen who said they could not vote yes without knowing that money would not go toward police funding.

Chicago Bars, Breweries Begin Reopening

Bars and breweries across Chicago can begin reopening Wednesday, but only for outdoor service, as the city continues to lift restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Bars, lounges, taverns, breweries and other similar establishments will be permitted to reopen for outdoor-only service, according to the city. Additionally, restaurants will be able to open their bars under the same restrictions.

Customers must be seated at tables that are six feet apart, with six people or fewer per table. Individuals will only be allowed to occupy seating for two hours, the news release stated.

While the sale of alcohol for carryout and delivery must stop at 9 p.m. nightly, alcohol sales at bars and restaurants will be permitted until 11 p.m.

Furthermore, bars will be allowed to open outdoor areas, including outdoor patios, rooftops, rooms with retractable roofs and indoor spaces where 50% or more of a wall can be removed provided that dining tables are within eight feet from such openings.

Riot Fest Canceled

Riot Fest has joined a growing list of Chicago-area music festivals canceling their 2020 events during the coronavirus pandemic.

The popular punk rock fest typically takes place in Chicago in September.

"As you may have guessed, due to the global pandemic, we are moving Riot Fest to September 17-19, 2021," a press release stated. "Of course, we’re bummed, but we also know it’s in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety—and it’s going to be WELL worth the wait come next September."

Illinois Reports 623 New Cases, 72 Additional Deaths

An additional 72 coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed by Illinois health officials Tuesday, an increase after several days of low fatality totals statewide.  

In addition, 623 new confirmed cases of the virus were reported statewide by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The 72 deaths reported Tuesday are more than the death totals of the previous three days combined. On Sunday, just 18 deaths were reported, the lowest single-day increase since early April, and an additional 19 deaths were reported Monday by authorities.

A total of 6,398 deaths have been classified as coronavirus-related during the pandemic.

According to state health officials, 133,639 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed by laboratory testing, but positivity rates remain down. On Tuesday, 18,729 specimens were returned to state laboratories, with a total of 1,228,341 tests having been conducted during the pandemic.

Chicago Park District Says Playground Equipment Still Off-Limits

The Chicago Park District is reminding residents that some restrictions are still in place.

In a Facebook post, the district reminded families that even though some parks are indeed open amid the ongoing pandemic, playground equipment is still not available for public use at this time:

During Phase Three of the City’s “Protecting Chicago” framework to begin cautiously reopening, the Chicago Park District...

Posted by Chicago Park District on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has tested positive for coronavirus after coming down with symptoms over the weekend, he announced in a statement Tuesday.

“After experiencing minor symptoms over the weekend, I consulted with my health care provider using telehealth services," Raoul said in a statement. "Upon the advice of my doctor, I was tested yesterday and informed today that I have tested positive for COVID-19."

Raoul said he has been self-isolating and will continue to do so. He is also working with health officials to notify those he may have had contact with.

“My symptoms continue to be mild, and I am in regular contact with my staff in order to continue to manage the operations of my office," Raoul said in a statement. "As I join the countless Illinois residents working from home, the programs and services provided by the Attorney General’s office will continue uninterrupted."

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