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Good Monday morning, Illinois! Inspired by Italians singing from their balconies, my neighbors organized us all to gather in a front yard on Sundays to celebrate friendships as we persevere through the coronavirus crisis.
Illinois bars and restaurants are closing their dine-in service starting Tuesday. Enhanced screenings at O’Hare International Airport caused massive crowds at a time of social distancing and a tussle between the governor and White House. And the state is reporting 29 new cases of the coronavirus, putting its total to 93.
But what caught our attention in the onslaught of weekend news were the seeming mixed messages from the state’s top two Democrats charged with informing the public about how the coronavirus was being handled in Illinois.
It started Sunday morning, when Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on national TV that he was "seriously looking at" closing bars and restaurants. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot then pulled together a last-minute press conference announcing Chicago bars and restaurants must limit customers to 100 at a time. But a few hours after that at a joint press briefing, Pritzker, with Lightfoot on hand, announced bars and restaurants would indeed close through March 30.
During the briefing, Playbook asked the two Democrats how often they communicate given they seemed out of sync on their messaging in dealing with the coronavirus.
“The circumstances are evolving,” explained Lightfoot. “There’s no tension.” Lightfoot said she and the governor talk numerous times throughout the day, as do their teams. “We start our calls early in the morning, check in throughout the course of the day, and we talk at night. … We are in frequent conversation every single day and we will be until we get to the other side of this crisis.”
Pritzker acknowledged: “Sometimes you have a difference of opinion about something.” But the governor said he’s in constant discussion with Lightfoot and with other mayors, many of whom he communicates with in a group phone call. “In the end, a decision needs to be made. There’s been very little daylight between the decisions I’ve made and the understanding about what we need to do.”
Both Pritzker and Lightfoot said the decision-making on the coronavirus is based on the facts at hand at the moment and the evolution of information that comes from the CDC, which issued guidance Sunday pressing for any event with more than 50 people to be canceled through mid-May. In the case of the restaurant decision, Pritzker made the move in part after hearing Saturday that the coronavirus death toll in Italy had risen by nearly 400 in a day, to 1,809.
It’s not the first time the governor seemed to bigfoot the mayor.
On Friday, Pritzker closed schools for at least two weeks (starting Tuesday) in wake of the virus. That announcement was made after two days of back and forth discussions and Lightfoot saying publicly that schools would remain open.
And earlier last week, Lightfoot canceled Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade after considerable nudging from Pritzker.
In spite of the friction, the two Democrats stood united Sunday on one particular point: their frustration at seeing young people Saturday carousing at bars for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. “I get it,” Lightfoot said. “But this year, this time, is different. It must be different to save lives. I do not want to see hordes of people out in the streets. The bars will be shut. Stay home.” Added Pritzker: “This is not a joke.”
Lots more coronavirus headlines below.
— SCOOP: PRITZKER ENDORSES BIDEN, calling him the ‘right candidate’ to beat Trump: “Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has repeatedly said he’d stay out of the Democratic [primary]. But by Sunday, Pritzker’s political team said the governor was making the endorsement, in part, to remind voters elections are still important, even as the nation and state grapple with the coronavirus outbreak,” by Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles.
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Touring Chicago Public Schools HQ, which will serve as a command center to support schools and families during the COVID-19 school closures.
At the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield for the daily coronavirus update at 2:30 p.m. Live feed here
Presiding over a special meeting of the Cook County Board to approve two executive orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— BIDEN, BERNIE FACE OFF: Key moments from the debate. “Bernie Sanders spent more than an hour dissecting elements of Joe Biden’s record that he considers anathema to today’s Democratic Party — from protections for big banks to his skepticism of Medicare for all healthcare. Biden needed only a few seconds to steal Sanders’ thunder: The former vice president pledged that he’d pick a woman to serve as his vice president,” by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Elena Schneider.
— Biden’s ‘swing’ through Chicago: Presidential candidate Joe Biden made his virtual swing through Illinois on Friday, talking to some 80 donors by telephone and then addressing anyone interested in tuning in for a Facebook town hall. The Democratic frontrunner acknowledged that he and Bernie Sanders have their differences, and Biden hinted that he’d be embracing his primary opponent should either of them become the nominee. “Some of you may be angry at me at the end because, you know, presidents not only have to fight, they have to know how to heal.” Biden also zeroed in on a potential matchup against President Donald Trump, saying, “I think he’s one step closer to getting the race he most feared and we’re one step closer to restoring decency and dignity and honor to the White House.”
— ONE DAY TO THE PRIMARY! No chance on Illinois changing election day as a few other states have done in wake of the coronavirus threat. It’s the law in Illinois and it would be difficult to discount the many Illinois residents who have voted early, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday. “It’s unclear when we might be able to hold another one,” Pritzker said. “We’re working with our local county clerks, all across the state and boards of elections, to make sure that in-person voting on Tuesday is conducted safely.” Besides, Chicago broke a primary election record for early voting Sunday as the threat of the coronavirus forced voters to maintain social distancing. “With 145,905 early votes through Sunday, Chicago beat its last primary election record for early voting with a full day to go before the formal election, according to the Chicago Election Board. Earlier in the day, the city broke its record for mail-in ballots, with nearly 118,000 ballots requested,” according to the Sun-Times. Early voting continues today and will have extended at hours at most polling sites. The Illinois State Board of Elections has a nifty look-up tool for early voting sites and for Election Day voting (they’re different!). Once you’re there, “social distancing” will be enforced. Expect lines outside of the building so voters don’t congregate inside. Hand sanitizer will be plentiful — use it early and often.
— Newman pounces on Lipinski’s missed vote: Congressman Dan Lipinski missed the vote on the coronavirus relief package Friday, and Marie Newman, his chief opponent in the 3rd District Democratic primary, was quick with an ad calling him out for it. Lipinski was one of nine Democrats not present for a vote on the measure that includes free testing for those without insurance, paid sick leave medical leave programs and unemployment benefits. The House passed the bill 363-40, in the wee morning hours Saturday and Lipinski spokeswoman Sally Daley tells Playbook: “The congressman was prepared to fly back to D.C. to vote for the package but after conferring with House leadership they told him they had reached a bipartisan deal and his vote wasn’t necessary. He definitely would have been a yes vote.” On Saturday, Lipinski held a tele-town hall on the coronavirus for constituents and featuring experts from Northwestern University, University of Chicago and the Cook County Department of Public Health.
— Dem indumbents being outraised by challengers ahead of Tuesday clash: Individual donations, not PAC money, are fueling campaigns of Marie Newman against Rep. Dan Lipinski (3rd), Kristine Schanbacher vs. Rep. Danny Davis (7th) and Robert Emmons Jr. vs. Rep. Bobby Rush (1st), reports Ilma Hasan in Open Secrets.
— State Supreme Court candidate Harris accused of breach in nephew’s court case: “Illinois Appellate Court Judge Shelly Harris, who seeks an Illinois Supreme Court seat in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, allegedly attempted to interfere in 2016 in the pending case of his nephew with two different appellate court judges. One of the judges, now-retired Judge Mary Anne Mason, said that as Harris began discussing the case during a March 29, 2016 meeting in her office, she cut him off: ‘I need you to tell me why you’re trying to interfere in this case on behalf of your nephew. It isn’t ethical,’” reports John Seasly for Injustice Watch.
— In Illinois, It’s Easy to Forget What a Fair Election Looks Like: “In states where gerrymandering has been stamped out, competitive elections are the norm. But not in Illinois,” writes Better Government Association’s David Greising.
— Trump’s biggest donor in Chicago, by Edward McClelland in Chicago magazine.
— Virus be damned: Members of the New Trier Republican Organization gathered Sunday at Kenilworth Assembly Hall for a dinner event headlined by Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative youth group Turning Point USA. Kirk is an Illinois native who grew up in Prospect Heights and attended Wheeling High School.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar endorsed Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in her re-election bid, citing Foxx’s “support for federal gun violence legislation such as an assault weapons ban, her continued priority on prosecuting violent offenders, and her work reforming our criminal justice system with bail reform.”
— ‘HUNKER DOWN’: U.S. scrambles to stem virus spread through extreme measures: "Even while announcing increased testing capacity, public-health officials cautioned that things would get worse before they got better,” by POLITICO’s Nolan McCaskill and Adam Cancryn.
— Pritzker: ‘Federal government needs to get its [email protected]#t together.’ “Illinois governor complains of impossibly long lines at O’Hare Airport,” by POLITICO’s David Cohen.
— This is comprehensive — Terminal crush: Air passengers caught in Trump’s travel ban: “Multiple pressure points have undermined the administration’s efforts to keep the virus from entering the country — and now threaten to hasten its spread,” with comments from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, by POLITICO.
— 2 new coronavirus cases surface at Chicago schools in advance of Tuesday’s closure: “Chicago’s largest charter network, as well as a Southwest Side magnet elementary school, will both close on Monday after a person at each tested positive for the new coronavirus,” report Chalkbeat’s Yana Kunichoff and Cassie Walker Burke.
— United cuts flights 50%: ‘The bad news is that it’s getting worse,’ reports Crain’s John Pletz. “Top management will take a 50 percent pay cut and the airline has begun ‘conversations with our union leadership about how to reduce our payroll expense’ as the impact of the coronavirus expands.”
— It started with a cough: Reporter Mark Maxwell of WCIA offers a first-person account of trying to get a coronavirus test after he has symptoms that mirror those of the virus.
— Paul Vallas advocates for home-schooling: “I’ve seen the damage done to communities where schools had to close for long periods following natural disasters. Remote learning can help mitigate that,” writes the former Chicago Public Schools chief and mayoral candidate in the Wall Street Journal. (FYI, there’s a pay wall.)
— Bulls, Blackhawks owners paying United Center staff for missed games: “Jerry Reinsdorf and Rocky Wirtz committed to spend more than $3.3 million to compensate the arena’s game day workers,” by Crain’s Danny Ecker.
— With so much live TV sports shut down, how do you feel about watching horse racing, bowling and Mexican soccer? Asks Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal
— Bar and restaurant owners scramble amid unprecedented closing order to stem COVID-19 spread: “The two-week hiatus, which begins end of business Monday, brings the wheels of a multibillion-dollar industry to a near standstill. ‘It’s the responsible thing to do and I wish (Gov. J.B. Pritzker) would have done it earlier, but better late than never,’ said Pete Ternes, co-founder of Bungalow restaurant in Logan Square. ‘My second reaction is what happens to my employees? Rent doesn’t change and bills don’t change and unemployment insurance probably doesn’t get them to where they need to be,’” by Tribune staff.
— TUNNEY REACTS: “It’s definitely a first-in-my-lifetime event,” said Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and owner of Ann Sather’s restaurant in Lakeview. “He estimates that without dine-in service, he would likely see an 80 percent drop in revenue,” reports WBEZ’s Monica Eng.
— Forging ahead in spite of coronavirus. ‘How would I pay my bills?’: “Friday morning, hours before President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency to help limit the spread of the coronavirus that has quickly found its way to Illinois, Rivera set her old cart on a busy intersection at 26th Street and Pulaski Road to sell corn, churros and fresh fruit. That cart has been her livelihood for nearly 15 years, the native from Veracruz, Mexico, said as she wiped her hands on her black, soiled apron after washing them,” by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa.
— South Side church holds Sunday service amid coronavirus outbreak: ‘This did not catch God unaware’: “I’m so glad that the bishop left this door open,” said a 79-year-old woman who attends the Apostolic Faith Church in Bronzeville, by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— Navy Pier closed through April 2 to help slow spread of coronavirus: “As of now, Navy Pier plans to re-open and resume operations April 3, but will re-evaluate the status of the virus in Chicago and make adjustments as needed, officials said,” by Sun-Times’ Jermaine Nolen.
Ex-Chicago cop’s son accused in Dolton triple shooting freed on bail over prosecutor’s protest: “Defense lawyer asked for lenient bail, noting Steven Bradley Jr., who has 2 prior gun convictions, wasn’t ID’ed as the shooter and that his father is a retired detective,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Hospitals place visitation limits as Illinois COVID-19 outbreak spreads: “Several hospitals announced they will no longer allow visitors — with some exceptions — to prevent the coronavirus from spreading to their patients, caregivers and other staff,” by Sun-Times’ Jake Wittich.
— DuPage declares disaster after Willowbrook nursing home resident tests positive: “DuPage County announced its first case of coronavirus, a woman in her 60s, during a press conference with Governor J.B. Pritzker on Saturday. The woman, who is a resident of Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook, remains hospitalized and is in stable condition, said Ron Nunziato, CEO of Extended Care LLC, a consulting firm that works with the Willowbrook facility,” via Naperville Sun.
Deserted dorms, tuition complaints and virtual classes: Uncertainty looms as disappointed college students head home early because of the coronavirus: “While schools across the country prepare to halt in-person classes, some students in Illinois rushed to pack and depart campus this weekend while others, without another place to go, submitted applications to remain in the dorms. Though it’s not yet clear if the quality of courses will suffer as they are administered solely through computer screens, other concerns are mounting. Parents are wondering how much tuition or room and board fees will be adjusted. And some students are struggling to cope with sudden changes to their college experience,” by Tribune staff.
— Trump finds his MAGA movement fracturing over coronavirus, by POLITICO’s Tina Nguyen
— Lockdowns raise issues of civil liberties, by POLITICO’s Ryan Hutchins
— Trump’s Florida sanctuary becomes a gilded petri dish for a global disease, by POLITICO’s Meredith McGraw
State Sen. Linda Holmes and Riccardo Reati, a Zurich Insurance VP.
via POLITICO https://ift.tt/2i74uEb
March 16, 2020 at 07:14AM