With Christmas just days away, a steep rise in coronavirus cases is already putting a damper on the holiday season in Chicago, forcing the cancellation of sporting events, musicals and holiday-themed events.
Since Thursday, multiple theaters across the city have announced the cancellation or postponement of shows because of COVID-19 outbreaks affecting cast and crew members.
"The Nutcracker," a holiday favorite put on by the Joffrey Ballet, canceled both of its shows scheduled for Saturday at the Lyric Opera House due to a breakthrough case within company ranks. Performances will resume Sunday, with the 1 and 6 p.m. shows taking place as regularly scheduled, according to "The Nutcracker" website.
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Illinois native and country music star Brett Eldredge canceled his holiday shows on Friday and Saturday at the Chicago Theater due to testing positive for COVID-19.
"“I was about to go to the airport to fly to Chicago and play my favorite show of the entire year, the Glow show," Eldredge said, explaining the reason for the postponement in a video posted to Instagram.
The performances have been rescheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 29, and Thursday, Dec. 30.
Loyola University's men's basketball canceled its games on Saturday and Wednesday due to COVID-19 cases involving team members. Saturday's matchup between DePaul and Northwestern was also canceled as a result of positive COVID cases on DePaul's team.
Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer with Cook County Health, says she knows people are experiencing fatigue regarding COVID-19 protocols, but urges Illinois residents to take the new surge seriously.
"You need to wear masks indoors whether you're vaccinated or not, maintain physical distance, wash your hands and please, please, please get vaccinated," she said.
Rubin and other health leaders not only continue to push vaccinations, but also COVID testing in hope of celebrating Christmas as soon as possible.
"If you go to an event and the rule is everyone is vaccinated, I think we can have in-home events and some cheer," she said.