Article published : Friday, May 22nd, 2020 9:57 am
What will offices look like when on-site work resumes in Chicago? (LIVE UPDATES) Provided Here's what we know today about the continuing spread of coronavirus and its ripple effects in Chicago and Illinois. The latest What will offices look like when on-site work resumes in Chicago? Provided One thing that seems certain: The work-from-home phenomenon, now so popular that "WFH" is part of our messaging shorthand, will endure, experts on workplace trends say. What else is ahead? When people get back to the office, they're going to notice changes, mostly those that are easiest to make. Masks could be required gear, made available to those who lack them. Deep-cleaning crews will be purposely visible. And there will be signs and floor markers attesting to the need for social distancing. Fussier places might designate one-way pathways. There is less clarity over temperature checks. Do you do it for everybody or just for visitors? Who is responsible — the tenant or the landlord — especially if something goes wrong? Then, there are the dreaded elevators. For buildings that can afford it, some are trying a "destination dispatch" system that summons one whenever you scan your way in, perhaps using your smartphone. The elevator knows your floor and takes you there, no buttons needed. Some buildings might enforce a limit of four or even two people to an elevator. Read the full report from David Roeder here. News 8:43 a.m. 6th CTA employee dies of COVID-19 A sixth CTA employee has died from the coronavirus, the agency announced Thursday. The employee was a bus driver who joined the CTA in 1997, the CTA said in a statement. "At CTA, we are very much a family and we offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this beloved employee," CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr said. "We join with all of Chicago in appreciation of this employee's dedication to our city and our CTA customers." The announcement comes two days after the agency said a fifth employee had died of the virus, a bus driver who joined the CTA in 2012. Read the full story here. 6:45 a.m. A 'slap in the face' or a wise decision? Restaurateurs split on Lightfoot's move to keep patios closed Doug Dunlay was "absolutely thrilled" when Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that restaurants could start serving customers on their patios as soon as May 29, the day his current stay-at-home order expires. Dunlay, the owner of Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park, said he and his team immediately sprang into action and started mapping out the restaurant's patio to adhere to the state's social distancing guidelines. After struggling for months after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, he said the announcement marked "the first time we actually had any hope." So when Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Thursday that she doesn't think Chicago restaurants will be ready to reopen by next week, Dunlay said he felt as if she "pulled the carpet out from under us." "I think it's short-sighted and I think it's a slap in the face or a gut punch," said Dunlay. Read the full story by Tom Schuba here. 5:50 a.m. County Board approves property tax relief plan, extension of disaster proclamation giving Preckwinkle emergency powers The Cook County Board approved a plan to waive fees on late property tax bills and extended the county's disaster proclamation at its Thursday meeting, providing some relief to property owners and allowing Board President Toni Preckwinkle the power to make some unchecked, emergency decisions for another three months. Some commissioners still questioned the finer points of the plans — as well as the need to extend the county's disaster proclamation until the end of September. Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison, R-Palos Park, previously called the extension a "massive overreach." At Thursday's meeting, he and Commissioner Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago, were the only no votes on the measure, despite other commissioners calling into question why such a long extension was needed. Read the full story by Rachel Hinton here. New cases State health officials on Thursday announced 87 more people have died of the coronavirus in Illinois while an additional 2,268 tested positive for the virus. That raised the state's death toll to 4,607 and the overall statewide case tally to 102,686 since the virus first hit Illinois four months ago. Of the 533 total confirmed COVIC-19 cases in the Chicago Police Department, 506 are officers and 27 are civilian employees, police said. Another employee at the Cook County Circuit Court clerk's office has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the overall total to 25. Seven more employees of Cook County's Juvenile Temporary Detention Center have tested positive for COVID-19. Graffiti artist Ralphy 'Redr' Campos dies of COVID-19 at 38: 'He really had a great heart' Analysis & Commentary 7:13 a.m. Students with special needs shouldn't become second-class Americans during a pandemic Chicago Public Schools has a long history of shortchanging children with special needs. It has taken years of activism, judges' rulings and monitoring by independent watchdogs to force progress on this front. The district can't be allowed to backslide now, even during a pandemic. Children with special needs deserve access to an education that is equal in quality to that of any other child. We support a CPS policy that requires teachers and clinicians to revise learning plans for special education students to incorporate home-based remote learning. For all its limitations, remote learning is the "new normal" for now, in Chicago and across the country, and likely will continue into the fall in some fashion. Read the full editorial by Chicago Sun-Times editorial board here. 6:18 a.m. Stuck at home? Try living at O'Hare — since April Linda Benavides and her husband, Manuel, slept at O'Hare International Airport Wednesday night. In Terminal 1, near baggage claim. At least they tried to sleep, until 2:30 a.m., when the police kicked them out, again. They went to sleep on the Blue Line. Or tried to. "There was a party on the train," she said. "The Blue Line is bad. Drug addicts." Most likely they will be back at O'Hare tonight, sleeping there again, or trying to, leaning against each other, using their jackets as blankets. They've slept at O'Hare most nights for the past month. A good place to sleep, Linda said, because the bathrooms are right there. But not exactly pleasant. Read the full commentary from columnist Neil Steinberg here.
Author : Sun-Times staff