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News Around Illinois – May 26, 2020

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Pritzker Issues Rules as Illinois Prepares For Reopening

CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 1,713 new cases of COVID-19, including 31 additional deaths. The new numbers bring the statewide total to 112,017 cases, including 4,884 deaths, as of Monday. With much of the state on track to reopen many businesses later this week, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has released his most detailed guidelines yet. Barbers and their customers will have to wear face masks and restaurants will be able to serve parties no larger than six people, spaced apart and outdoors only. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order in mid-March.  – Associated Press

Attacking Retail Workers Could Become A Felony In Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois legislature voted to enhance penalties for those who physically attack a retail worker. It’s a response to reports of incidents during the pandemic as employees enforce safety rules like wearing masks and social distancing. State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) says lawmakers showed support for those still working through pandemic. “I think it’s going to protect front line workers by making sure we are respecting them and the job they’re having to do,” said Hoffman. Under the measure, attacking a retail worker would be considered aggravated battery.  It still needs the governor’s signature to become law. – Sean Crawford, NPR Illinois

Illinois Grants To Help Expand Broadband, Digital Access

SPRINGFIELD — A new state grant program will provide communities with money and expertise to expand broadband capacity and improve digital access as more people work, shop and go to school online during the coronavirus pandemic. The $150,000 Illinois Connected Communities grant program will provide grants of up to $15,000, on a competitive basis. Erin Guthrie is director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Guthrie says “there’s never been a more important time to improve digital access in our state.”   – Associated Press

Bill To Allow Curbside Pickup & Delivery From Bars

SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to provide assistance to bars and restaurants in Illinois, lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow bars and restaurants to serve pre-mixed drinks to go, for curbside pickup and delivery for one year. Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) says this legislation will help the hospitality industry and put people back to work. “The state of Illinois: we have 580,000 jobs in hospitality, 300,000 of those people are now unemployed,” said Feigenholtz. The measure provides other forms of relief for restaurants such as fee waivers, deferred license fees, automatic renewals, and a license extension for 120 days. Opponents of the legislation say it will increase the likelihood of vehicle code violations, and product contamination. – Olivia Mitchell, NPR Illinois

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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