Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Sept. 30 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

“IDPH recognizes that some who will choose to gather together anyway, and instead of denying that reality, we are issuing guidance and recommendations for safer ways to celebrate together in person,” IDPH director Dr. Ngozi Ezike wrote in a statement. “Remember, we know what our best tools are: wearing our masks, keeping our distance, limiting event sizes, washing your hands, and looking out for public health and each other.”

Additionally, the central Illinois region around Champaign-Urbana could be hit with stricter restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses as the percentage of positive coronavirus tests is on the rise, state public officials warned on Wednesday.

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

8:35 p.m.: American Airlines to furlough 19,000 employees as clock runs out on deal for federal aid

American Airlines will begin furloughing 19,000 employees on Thursday after lawmakers and the White House failed to agree on a broad pandemic-relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines.

CEO Doug Parker said Wednesday night that if Washington comes up with a deal for $25 billion in airline aid “over the next few days,” American will reverse the furloughs and recall the employees.

The move by American represents the first — and likely the largest — involuntary jobs cut across the industry in coming days. United Airlines has indicated it could furlough nearly 12,000 workers.

8:15 p.m.: Pelosi, Mnuchin have ‘extensive’ talks on coronavirus relief

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held an “extensive conversation” Wednesday on a huge COVID-19 rescue package, meeting face to face for the first time in more than a month in a last-ditch effort to seal a tentative accord on an additional round of coronavirus relief.

After a 90-minute meeting in the Capitol, Pelosi issued a statement saying the two would continue to talk. “We found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” she said. Talks resume Thursday.

“We made a lot of progress over the last few days. We still don’t have an agreement,” Mnuchin said after meeting with Pelosi and briefing top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell.

At the very least, the positive tone set by Pelosi and Mnuchin represented an improvement over earlier statements. But there is still a considerable gulf between the two sides, McConnell said.

“I’ve seen substantial movement, yes, and certainly the rhetoric has changed,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said.

7 p.m.: Cook County Board commissioner tests positive for COVID-19

A Cook County commissioner who appeared in a news conference with board President Toni Preckwinkle last week announced on Wednesday he tested positive for coronavirus.

Commissioner Kevin Morrison, D-15th, released a statement late afternoon that he will self-isolate for 14 days and not resume activities until he tests negative. He said he is mostly asymptomatic.

“Unfortunately, I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Morrison wrote. “Fortunately, I am feeling well with very little symptoms. … I encourage everyone to continue to follow public health guidance and to stay safe.”

Preckwinkle,

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

Illinois officials announced that a resurgence in coronavirus rates in a northwest Illinois region that includes Rockford and Northern Illinois University will result in a return to tighter restrictions aimed at curbing the disease’s spread.



a group of people sitting at a table with a bunch of stuffed animals: Mourners add to a memorial on Sept. 9, 2020, during a vigil in memory of Dajore Wilson, 8, near where she was killed at 47th Street and South Union Avenue in the Canaryville neighborhood.


© Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Mourners add to a memorial on Sept. 9, 2020, during a vigil in memory of Dajore Wilson, 8, near where she was killed at 47th Street and South Union Avenue in the Canaryville neighborhood.

The news comes as the state reported 1,362 newly diagnosed cases and 23 additional confirmed deaths of people with COVID-19, raising the statewide tally to 291,001 known cases and 8,637 deaths.

COVID-19 in Illinois by the numbers: Here’s a daily update on key metrics in your area

COVID-19 cases in Illinois by ZIP code: Search for your neighborhood

Chicago’s travel quarantine list: Here’s what you need to know to avoid a large fine



a traffic light at night: The setting sun is is seen along East Madison Street before the fall equinox on Sept. 21, 2020, in Chicago.


© Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
The setting sun is is seen along East Madison Street before the fall equinox on Sept. 21, 2020, in Chicago.

Illinois coronavirus graphs: The latest data on deaths, confirmed cases, tests and more

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

7:10 a.m.: Lightfoot to hold final online budget town hall with city officials

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and City Budget Director Susie Park were scheduled to hold a final online town hall Wednesday regarding Chicago’s 2021 budget.

The city is running an $800 million budget deficit for 2020 following tax shortfalls because of the coronavirus pandemic and facing a hole of about $1.2 billion for 2021.



a person preparing food in a kitchen: Kelly Helgesen of Takeaway Bagel makes sourdough bagels at Superkhana International on Sept. 19, 2020, in Chicago.


© Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Kelly Helgesen of Takeaway Bagel makes sourdough bagels at Superkhana International on Sept. 19, 2020, in Chicago.

Since late August, the city has held a series of online town halls and gathered more than 38,000 survey responses about residents’ budget concerns and spending priorities, according to a news release from the mayor’s office. Wednesday evening’s town hall will be livestreamed on Facebook from 6-7 p.m.



Isabel Aguilar and her son, Diego, 5, create a poster at a rally to protest the possible future redevelopment of the Discount Mall in the Little Village neighborhood on Sept. 16, 2020, in Chicago.


© John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Isabel Aguilar and her son, Diego, 5, create a poster at a rally to protest the possible future redevelopment of the Discount Mall in the Little Village neighborhood on Sept. 16, 2020, in Chicago.

Lightfoot is to detail more of her plans for the 2021 budget when she gives her annual budget address in mid-October. — Chicago Tribune staff

6:46 a.m.: COVID-19 cases traced to adult volleyball games at Gages Lake restaurant

Almost 200 players and spectators were potentially exposed recently to COVID-19 during adult volleyball games at a Gages Lake restaurant and bar, with 14 testing positive for the virus as the result of an investigation by the Lake County Health Department.

The health department began its investigation on Sept. 23 after investigators and contact tracers identified people who watched or played volleyball with symptoms of the coronavirus pandemic at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink, according to a department press

Mayor Lori Lightfoot easing Chicago restrictions on indoor bars, restaurants, fitness class sizes

Chicago bars that don’t serve food will be allowed to reopen for indoor service starting Thursday, and bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol until 1 a.m., Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.



a dining room table: Chicago bars that don t serve food will be allowed to reopen for indoor service beginning Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.


© Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Chicago bars that don t serve food will be allowed to reopen for indoor service beginning Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.

In addition, Lightfoot said the city will now allow shaves, facials, and other personal services that previously were banned because they required the removal of face masks. The city also will increase the maximum group size for health and fitness classes and after-school programming from 10 to 15 people, officials said.

The moves are Lightfoot’s latest attempt to ease the financial burden on Chicago businesses by lifting frequently criticized restrictions. But the moves also come as the city prepares for flu season and the number of new COVID-19 cases per day hovers around 300.

Lightfoot has been eager to showcase Chicago as America’s most open big city during the pandemic, while also pledging to heed scientific advice on how much leeway to give businesses and other public places where people congregate.

Monday’s announcement keeps the city in phase four of its reopening framework, but loosens several standards.

This is the second time during the pandemic that the mayor has let bars that don’t serve food welcome patrons inside. But they will be limited to 25% of capacity under the new rules.

These establishments have drawn particular focus from the city as spots where coronavirus spreads, with Lightfoot repeatedly saying lower inhibitions as patrons drink can cause them to become lax about maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.

Bars were allowed to serve some people inside when the city moved to phase four of its reopening framework in late June when new cases were around 167 per day. But in mid-July, as virus cases spiked to around 233 per day, Lightfoot rolled that back and restricted those taverns to outdoors only.

As of Monday, Chicago’s average daily case count for the past week sat at 299, according to the city’s coronavirus dashboard website, a 28% increase over the number at which the mayor opted to close taverns to inside service and put other stricter rules in place two months ago.

With Chicago weather getting dodgier deeper into autumn, the city’s hundreds of bar operators have been clamoring to again open their doors to drinkers, arguing the distinction between those businesses that serve food and those that don’t is in many cases not relevant.

According to Lightfoot’s plan, Chicago won’t move on to phase five until there’s a coronavirus vaccine. But she left herself a lot of room to continue to “turn up the dimmer switch” on a return to normal within phase four.

Although Lightfoot is easing some rules, the city will still require patrons to wear face masks “except when actively eating or drinking.” They also will be required to order from their seats at indoor bars