coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Masks on Iconic Artwork, Changes Coming Friday

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.)

Illinois' modified stay-at-home order takes effect Friday, bringing changes for residents as they look at another 30 days of isolation.

State officials say a peak is near as more than 50,000 Illinoisans have tested positive for the coronavirus with more than 2,000 deaths statewide.

Nevertheless, some businesses can resume under the new order while the governor eyes a phased reopening of the state.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (April 30):

Illinois Church Sues Pritzker in Federal Court Over Extended Stay-at-Home Order

An Illinois church has now filed suit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker in federal court over his extended stay-at-home order.

The Beloved Church in Lena, located in northwestern Illinois, was forcibly closed during the statewide order but calls the extension unconstitutional and said it plans to hold public services this Sunday.

"They justifiably fear arrest and prosecution if they do so, without immediately relief from this court," the lawsuit states, asking for temporary and permanent relief from the stay-at-home order.

The church said it was served a cease and desist notice on March 31 by area police saying if it did not comply with the stay-at-home order "the Illinois Department of Public Health has the authority to order that a place be closed and made off limits to the public." The suit alleges people of faith are being relegated "to second-class citizenship" under the order.

"The churches and pastors of Illinois are no less 'essential' than its liquor stores to the health and well-being of its residents," the suit states.

It's the third such lawsuit filed surrounding the extended order, which takes effect Friday and continues through May 30. It is the first to be filed in federal court, however.

2,563 New Coronavirus Cases Reported in Illinois, Bringing State Total to 52,918

Illinois reported 2,563 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, bringing the statewide number of infections 52,918 one day before a modified stay-at-home order takes effect.

The state also reported an additional 141 fatalities, lifting the total number of deaths associated with the virus to 2,355. The number close to numbers seen Tuesday, which saw the state's highest amount of deaths in a single day since the coronavirus pandemic began. On that day, 144 deaths were reported in 24 hours.

The additional cases and deaths come as officials believe Illinois is near a peak.

As of Thursday, nearly 5,000 people remained hospitalized for coronavirus. Of the 4,953 in hospitals, 1,289 were in the intensive care unit and 785 were on ventilators.

Chicago’s 2020 High School Seniors to Get Virtual Commencement With Speech From Oprah Winfrey

Chicago's graduating high school seniors will still be recognized this summer with a virtual celebration in mid-June, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday, and a commencement address from Oprah Winfrey.

The city's first-ever, virtual citywide commencement will acknowledge the students' accomplishments, Lightfoot said, even though the coronavirus pandemic will keep them from getting their diploma in person on stage.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every Chicagoan over the last few months, from lives lost to livelihoods severely impacted to planned experiences that had to be cancelled and that cannot be replaced,” said Lightfoot in a statement. "While we can't recreate these in-person memories, I feel strongly that we need to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our many high school seniors in Chicago.”

While the exact date is still in the works, the commencement will celebrate every high school senior in Chicago, including those from Chicago Public Schools, charter schools, Catholic schools and private schools, Lightfoot said. It also will include speeches, performances and elements featuring student achievements and experiences.

Iconic Picasso Statue, Art Institute Lions Don Masks in Chicago

Chicago's iconic Picasso statue and the Art Institute of Chicago Lions had masks placed on them Thursday "to inspire public safety."

The move comes one day before a statewide order requires face coverings in many public spaces.

The city's mayor hoped putting the masks on city icons "would be an opportunity to remind Chicagoans that we are all in this together - and that we should be taking necessary steps to protect each other as we navigate this difficult time."

The masks, installed by Chicago Flyhouse, feature a modified version of the Chicago flag and materials used "had no impact on supplies that could be used as PPE for those fighting on the front lines of the pandemic."


Golf Courses to Reopen Friday - With Strict Restrictions

Golf courses will be allowed to reopen and operate under Illinois' modified stay-at-home order taking effect Friday, but that comes with strict restrictions.

Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the statewide stay-at-home order will now be in effect through May 30, though some changes will be put in place, including modified restrictions for non-essential businesses like golf courses.

Courses will soon be able to operate “under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and when ensuring that social distancing is followed,” according to the governor.

While golfers are expected to follow social distancing measures, golf courses will be required to allow tee times to be booked online and ahead of time and no carts will be allowed during play. (See the full list of rules here)

Both public courses and private clubs in Illinois have been closed since late March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The courses can open as early as 6 a.m. Friday.

Chicago Offers Webinar to Help Businesses Navigate Stay-at-Home Order

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will host a webinar at 4 p.m. to help businesses navigate the new stay-at-home order taking effect Friday, officials announced.

The modified order will give certain businesses "increase flexibility" and includes "important new guidelines to protect workers and consumers." Topics included in the webinar are:

  • New businesses deemed "essential"
  • New guidelines for non-essential retail to reopen for delivery or outside store pickup
  • New requirements for worker and consumer protection, including providing masks and limiting occupancy

Registration is available at

Chicago Police to Issue Citation for Another Large Party

Chicago police officials say they will issue a citation in connection with a wedding party at a North Side residence last week that spilled into the street in violation of efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Chicago police said Wednesday.

The Chicago Tribune reports a video of the April 23 party shows several dozen revelers, all white with some wearing masks, dancing to loud music before officers enforcing Illinois’ stay-at-home orders broke up the crowd. No citation was issued at the time.

The announcement that a citation would be issued comes two days after police ticketed the owner of the northwest side home where they broke up a large gathering of young people over the weekend.

Mask Mandate Begins Friday

Illinois residents will soon be required to cover their faces in most public spaces, but there are some things you should know before the rule takes effect.

The mandate is part of an amended statewide stay-at-home order, which begins May 1 and continues through May 30. (Read the full order here)

More than a dozen Chicago suburbs have already implemented similar mask requirements, but on Friday it becomes a statewide order.

What qualifies as a mask or face covering, when do you need one and how will it be enforced? Here's what you need to know.

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