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News Around Illinois – March 13, 2020

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Champaign Mayor Declares Emergency, Ebert Fest Canceled

CHAMPAIGN – On Thursday, Champaign mayor Deborah Frank Feinen issued an Executive Order related to the COVID-19 virus. The action will give the city increased flexibility to operate during emergency operations. On Friday, the city council will hold a special emergency meeting to consider passing an ordinance related to the order.  Meanwhile, the 22nd Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival set to take place April 15-18  has been canceled as a result of concerns about the new coronavirus. The festival was co-founded by Chaz Ebert. It was scheduled to take place at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign. As of now, there are no coronavirus cases reported in Champaign County. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Pritzker Asks Sports Teams To Cancel Games Or Bar Fans

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is asking the owners of all the state’s major sports teams’ owners to cancel games or play without fans until May 1 in another move to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which affects 32 people in the state. Pritzker said during a news conference that he also is mandating events of 1,000 or more people be canceled or postponed immediately and requested that events of 250 people be canceled or postponed as well. Pritzker said he is not ordering schools to close. The governor is asking private businesses that can allow employees to work remotely. – Associated Press

IHSA Cancels March Madness Tournament Due To COVID-19 Concerns

PEORIA – Peoria Convention and Visitor’s Bureau CEO JD Dalfonso says it’s too soon assess the economic blow of spectator restrictions at this weekend’s IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament will have. He says the CVB estimated $4.4 million in local economic impact from the tournament over the next two weekends. But Dalfonso says those potential losses are secondary to public health. The IHSA implemented 60-person spectator restrictions at 1A and 2A basketball games at this weekend’s Peoria Civic Center tournament at the recommendation of the health department which is seeking to protect the community from COVID-19 exposure. – Tim Shelley, Peoria Public Radio

Senior Centers Closed To Stem Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department on Aging is closing senior centers across the state. Elderly people are more vulnerable to the coronavirus disease. Tessa French is with Senior Services of Central Illinois. She says loneliness and “social isolation” a big problems among older people but are secondary concerns to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need to make sure that we keep our seniors safe so that they can continue to come back once we get this coronavirus under control and can open back up to the public,” said French. The state says there are 399 centers where senior citizens gather to eat lunch, see friends, and pursue hobbies. For now clients can still get boxed lunches. The state also wants meals-on-wheels programs to pick up some of the slack. – Brian Mackey, Illinois Public Radio

State Farm Workers Told To Work From Home

BLOOMINGTON – State Farm has told about 15,000 employees in Bloomington Normal to work from home if they can. That extends to nearly 60,000 workers across the country. If they can’t work from home, the company urges them to talk to supervisors about paid administrative leave. State Farm is also closing its operations center in Dupont, Washington for two weeks. The company says it is not aware of any COVID-19 cases among its workers. State Farm also asks customers to be patient. – Charlie Schlenker, WGLT News

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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