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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened May 18 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 5/19/2021 Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune
a person wearing a dress: Fianna Masterson, 5, looks at herself after getting her hair spray-painted at Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Fianna Masterson, 5, looks at herself after getting her hair spray-painted at Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago.

For the latest updates, click here to read Wednesday’s blog.

Chicago will follow the state of Illinois in allowing fully vaccinated people to go maskless in most settings — but businesses will be strongly advised to keep a requirement in place, public health officials announced a day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker loosened mask requirements to follow the latest federal guidance.

a man brushing his teeth in front of a crowd: Fans sing along to rock band Idles at Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Fans sing along to rock band Idles at Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago.

Under Tuesday’s update to the city’s mask guidance, those who are two weeks after their final vaccination dose can take off the mask except when in hospitals, public transportation, jails and schools, public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a news conference. But businesses who cannot regulate who is vaccinated and who isn’t will be strongly advised to keep mask requirements.

Meanwhile, Chicago got some good news Tuesday when the city announced that Lollapalooza is returning this summer in full capacity. The lineup will be announced Wednesday. This year, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result is required to attend. For attendees who are not fully vaccinated, a negative test result must be obtained the day before entry.

a person standing on a stage: Maggie Rogers performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the Bud Light stage in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Maggie Rogers performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the Bud Light stage in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago.

That news came shortly after Navy Pier officials announced plans for a full reopening by Memorial Day.

Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area:

4:45 p.m. (update): Chicago issues new mask mandate offering fully vaccinated people more freedom, but urges certain businesses to keep requirements

Chicago will follow the state of Illinois in allowing fully vaccinated people to go maskless in most settings — but some businesses will be strongly advised to keep a requirement in place, public health officials announced a day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker loosened his mask mandate to match the latest federal guidance.

Under Tuesday’s update to the city’s mask guidance, those who are two weeks after their final vaccination dose can take off the mask except in hospitals, public transportation, jails and schools, public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a news conference. She cited strong evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness before adding the caveat that many businesses do not have the ability or “desire” to regulate who is vaccinated and who isn’t.

a person wearing a purple hat on stage: Rapper Tierra Whack performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the American Eagle stage in Grant Park Aug, 2, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Rapper Tierra Whack performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the American Eagle stage in Grant Park Aug, 2, 2019, in Chicago.

Because of that logistical challenge and the fact that only 38% of Chicagoans are fully vaccinated, those settings will be subject to an optional advisory to continue their masking policy until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in the city, Arwady said. To avoid confusion, she said, all businesses are asked to post a sign informing customers what their mask policy will be “so the public can choose whether to enter.”

a man holding a phone up to his mouth: Lead singer of Idles, Joe Talbot, performs during the second day of Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Lead singer of Idles, Joe Talbot, performs during the second day of Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago.

“We continue to strongly advise, though not require, masking policies for all indoor settings in Chicago until COVID capacity restrictions are lifted,” Arwady said. “This advisory applies to any setting that does not have the capacity to check vaccination status and/or where employees, clients or attendees are not all known to be vaccinated.”

Read more here. —Alice Yin

a person holding a cell phone: Maggie Rogers performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the Bud Light stage in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Maggie Rogers performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the Bud Light stage in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago.

4:30 p.m.: City will once again shut down certain streets for outdoor dining this summer as Chicago Alfresco returns

Last year’s pandemic shutdown proved to be a brutal blow to the hospitality industry, as has been well-documented. One small silver lining of the shutdown, however, was the Chicago Alfresco program, in which the city shut down select streets throughout the city to expand outdoor spaces for dining and activities.

Many restaurants and neighborhood organizations leapt at the chance to participate, so it’s no surprise that the city has announced Chicago Alfresco’s official return for summer 2021.

a man talking on a cell phone: Rapper Tierra Whack performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the American Eagle stage in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Rapper Tierra Whack performs during the second day of Lollapalooza at the American Eagle stage in Grant Park Aug. 2, 2019, in Chicago.

The program will return in 15 neighborhoods citywide, and it’s part of a larger effort by the city to “open streets and create places for dining, public life, community, arts, culture, walking and biking,” according to the news release. Its first participant — Dineout in Lakeview — debuted last weekend.

a group of people crossing a street in front of a crowd: Fans line up for day one of Lollapalooza at Chicago's Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019. © Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune Fans line up for day one of Lollapalooza at Chicago's Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019.

The city has also encouraged participants to make the most of their setups and get creative with staging and logistics. As such, many of this year’s street closure plans are a little more cultivated than last year’s ad hoc arrangements.

Here’s the full lineup. —Adam Lukach

4:20 p.m.: To mask or not to mask? New rules in Illinois and Chicago raise new questions for residents, from doctors to schoolteachers.

To mask or not to mask?

That’s the question for many vaccinated people after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised their guidance on where people need to wear masks, saying that those who are two weeks past their vaccines can mostly return to pre-pandemic activities without masks.

Following those recommendations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new guidelines that put Illinois in line with the new federal guidance. In Chicago, which has at times maintained separate rules from the state throughout COVID-19, public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday that fully vaccinated people can go maskless in most settings, but some businesses will be strongly advised to maintain mask requirements.

According to that guidance, people who are fully vaccinated should still wear masks in health care settings or while riding trains, buses, planes or other forms of public transportation, as well as at airports, bus or train stations.

We asked people who live and work in different areas where they would and would not wear masks, and what they were considering as they made these decisions.

Read more here. —Alison Bowen

1:20 p.m.: Fully vaccinated people in Chicago won’t be required to wear masks in most settings, public health commissioner says

Chicago will follow the state of Illinois in allowing fully vaccinated people to go maskless in most settings — but businesses will be strongly advised to keep a requirement in place, public health officials announced a day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker loosened mask requirements to follow the latest federal guidance.

Under Tuesday’s update to the city’s mask guidance, those who are two weeks after their final vaccination dose can take off the mask except when in hospitals, public transportation, jails and schools, public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a news conference. But businesses who cannot regulate who is vaccinated and who isn’t will be strongly advised to keep mask requirements.

“We continue to strongly advise, though not require, masking policies for all indoor settings in Chicago until COVID capacity restrictions are lifted and we are in Phase Five.,” Arwady said.

Read more here. —Alice Yin

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Chicago police officers watch as fans arrive for day one of Lollapalooza in Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019. © Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune Chicago police officers watch as fans arrive for day one of Lollapalooza in Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019.

12:39 p.m.: Indiana clears Chicago’s emergency travel order, now only 7 states remaining on list

Only seven states remain on Chicago’s emergency travel order, which just bumped Indiana off the list on Tuesday, officials said.

The removal of Indiana — two weeks after it was reinstated on the travel order — means none of Illinois’ neighbors are subject to additional coronavirus restrictions, although Midwestern states Minnesota and Michigan are still on the list. In total, 11 states and Puerto Rico moved from the “orange” tier to the “yellow” one, according to a Tuesday Chicago Department of Public Health news release.

a group of people standing around a table: Attendees walk past dozens of drinks left by other attendees at the opening of Lollapalooza in Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019. © Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune Attendees walk past dozens of drinks left by other attendees at the opening of Lollapalooza in Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019.

The full list of states subject to the orange tier restrictions contains: Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia and Washington.

Read more here. —Alice Yin

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Fans line up for the opening of Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019. © Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune Fans line up for the opening of Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2019.

12:07 p.m.: 1,495 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths reported

Illinois public health officials on Tuesday reported 1,495 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths. That brings the state’s totals to 1,368,709 cases and 22,466 deaths.

There were 58,222 tests reported in the previous 24 hours and the seven-day statewide positivity rate as a percent of total test fell to 2.3%.

There were 25,936 vaccine doses administered Monday, but the server pharmacies use was experiencing delays. Those doses should be included in Wednesday’s data, officials said. The seven-day rolling average of daily doses is 56,593.

11:43 a.m.: ‘The opportunity to take a step back’: Pandemic benefits, stimulus checks give some workers time to rethink careers

There’s a wild card in the push to return to post-pandemic life: Many workers don’t want to go back to the jobs they once had.

Layoffs and lockdowns, combined with enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, gave many Americans the time and the financial cushion to rethink their careers. Their former employers are hiring again — and some, like Uber and McDonald’s, are offering higher pay — but workers remain hesitant.

In March, U.S. job openings rose 8% to a record 8.1 million, but overall hiring rose less than 4%, according to government data.

a person sitting on a couch: King Princess performs during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune King Princess performs during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago.

Employers and business groups argue that the $300-per-week federal unemployment supplement gives recipients less incentive to look for work. Several states have begun requiring those receiving the benefits to show they are actively searching for work, and a few will stop providing the supplement.

a person holding a guitar: King Princess performs during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune King Princess performs during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago.

But Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist who researches low- and middle-income workers with the Economic Policy Institute, said health concerns and child care responsibilities seem to be the main reasons holding workers back.

Read more here. —Associated Press

a person wearing a costume and holding a microphone: H..E.R. performs at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune H..E.R. performs at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago.

11:14 a.m.: It’s official: Lollapalooza returning in 2021

Lollapalooza will return to Grant Park at full capacity July 29-Aug. 1, organizers announced Tuesday. The lineup will be revealed at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with tickets going on sale at noon at www.lollapalooza.com.

Lollapalooza typically welcomes 100,000 daily attendees to see more than 170 acts perform across eight stages. This year, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results will be required to attend. For patrons who are not fully vaccinated, a negative COVID-19 test result must be obtained the day before entry. Organizers said they will detail the festival entry process in early July.

a woman wearing a dress: Hayley Kiyoko performs during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune Hayley Kiyoko performs during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago.

Read more here. —Tracy Swartz

10:10 a.m.: Navy Pier announces full reopening Thursday, plus summer programs and fireworks

Navy Pier announced plans for a full reopening this summer, with indoor spaces, retail stores and summer programs gradually joining the outdoor Pier, fireworks shows, businesses and rides that began reopening April 30.

This second phase of reopening for Navy Pier, the indoor hallways and spaces will reopen Thursday, with select businesses and retail stores following, according to the Tuesday announcement, “with the goal of being fully open by Memorial Day weekend.” Happy summer news for tourists and Chicagoans unafraid of looking like tourists.

Isabella Yataco plays an over-sized game of connect four at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune Isabella Yataco plays an over-sized game of connect four at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago.

The current fireworks schedule will expand to add Wednesdays, with shows Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m. through Sept. 4.

Free summer programs also will resume, beginning with Neighborhood Artisan Markets outdoors on May 28, highlighting local artisans and small business owners from across Chicago. Markets will continue through Sept. 5 on the South Dock.

a group of people in a large city: Ruben Sebastian holds up his daughter Noa Sebastian, 4, while she makes a rock symbol with her hands during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune Ruben Sebastian holds up his daughter Noa Sebastian, 4, while she makes a rock symbol with her hands during the first day of the 2019 Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Aug., 1, 2019, in Chicago.

Hours of operation from May 28 through Labor Day will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 12 midnight on Friday and Saturday. Parking garage rates will also change from the current flat rate of $29 to tiered hourly rates.

Read more here. —Doug George

6:55 a.m.: Cook County brings back one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Des Plaines mass vaccination site

Cook County Health was set to resume administering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at its Des Plaines mass vaccination site Tuesday, a week after the health agency expanded hours at five of its 11 vaccination sites.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Festival goers fill water containers at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune Festival goers fill water containers at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago.

Officials already were administering the two-shot Pfizer vaccine at the Des Plaines mass vaccination site, 1155 E. Oakton St., according to a news release. The Tinley Park Convention Center site gives out the Johnson & Johnson shot, as well as the two-shot Moderna vaccine.

On May 11, Cook County expanded hours for five its 11 mass vaccination sites, spread across the county.

The Des Plaines site and four others had their hours expanded to 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The other four sites, all of which give out the Pfizer vaccine, are:

  • Matteson, 4647 Promenade Way;
  • River Grove- Triton College, 2000 5th Ave.;
  • South Holland- South Suburban College, 15800 State St.;
  • And Forest Park, 7630 W. Roosevelt Road.

People who visit the Des Plaines site can choose which shot to receive, although only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children ages 12-17. For more information, check the health agency’s vaccination website. — Chicago Tribune staff

a woman sitting on a stage: Normani performs at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago. © Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune Normani performs at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 1, 2019, in Chicago.

6 a.m.: When COVID-19 hit, study abroad students scrambled to get home. Will those programs resume this year? Some schools say there’s still too much uncertainty.

After delaying the start of college, partly because of the coronavirus pandemic, 19-year-old Claire Noland is certain she’ll begin school this fall. She just doesn’t know in which country.

a group of people sitting next to a woman: Katararina Robinson, 17, left, and Jenna Somberg, 18, sit in the shade while waiting for Smino to take the stage during the third day of Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 3, 2019, in Chicago. © Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune Katararina Robinson, 17, left, and Jenna Somberg, 18, sit in the shade while waiting for Smino to take the stage during the third day of Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 3, 2019, in Chicago.

Noland, an incoming freshman at New York University, hopes to spend her first two semesters in Italy. But if her study abroad program in Florence falls through due to travel restrictions, she’ll have to settle for stateside classes.

“I am trying to prepare myself for the next year of my life,” said Noland, who grew up in Elgin and must wait until summer to learn the final status of her program. “That can be somewhat nerve-wracking.”

More than a year has passed since study abroad programs screeched to a near-universal halt in the early days of the pandemic, but the fate of the international experiences is still up in the air. Many college students don’t know if they should start packing their bags yet, let alone book flights.

And though local universities planned to relaunch programs this fall, some of the most popular study abroad locations — France, Spain and Italy — were recently singled out on the U.S. State Department’s “Do Not Travel” list, which could change the outcome.

Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago have announced intentions to resume study abroad in a limited number of countries if health conditions allow. Loyola, for example, aims to reopen a program in Rome but not in Vietnam “due to the complexities of creating and maintaining a safe environment for students.”

The state’s largest school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is taking a more conservative approach. It has suspended all study abroad programs through December and is looking to expand virtual international exchange opportunities. The university hopes to resume study abroad in the spring, according to a spokeswoman.

Read more here. —Elyssa Cherney

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