Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune
·4 min read

The city of Chicago will be releasing more information about centralized vaccine registration in coming days, but most residents will receive COVID-19 inoculations through their health care providers or pharmacies, city health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Thursday.

So far, vaccines largely have been limited to health care workers and people 75 and older. On Monday, the city will move into a new distribution phase, referred to as 1b, by opening up inoculations for residents age 65 or older and front-line essential workers, including teachers.

Also on Thursday, Will and Kankakee counties and a central Illinois region that includes Champaign-Urbana saw restrictions on indoor dining loosened under the state’s coronavirus reopening plan.

Meanwhile, a Mount Greenwood bar and restaurant that hosted a rally for former President Donald Trump in November has been closed indefinitely after violating COVID-19 restrictions by holding an indoor gathering last weekend with 99 people, Chicago officials said Thursday.

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

6:55 a.m.: Chicago Public Schools, city health officials to announce vaccine strategy for CPS

Chicago Public Schools and city health officials were scheduled to announce Friday the CPS and city strategy for vaccinating public schools employees in the city.

Schools chief Janice Jackson and city health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady were scheduled to hold a news conference at Ellington Elementary School in the Austin neighborhood Friday morning, according to a news release.

Jackson and Arwady were join the West Side school’s principal for the morning event. Check back for more information. — Chicago Tribune staff

6:30 a.m.: Decatur’s oldest manufacturing company ceases production at local plant after 113 years, partly because of COVID-19 safety concerns

Farm and food supply company Union Iron recently closed its manufacturing operations in Decatur after more than a century in the community.

Manufacturing ceased near the end of December and operations are being relocated to facilities in Nebraska, Kansas and Canada, according to AGI General Manager David Wernsing.

In 2007, AGI purchased the business and in 2015 moved into the 135,000-square-foot facility at 3550 E. Mound Road. The Decatur business, founded in 1852, began by building steam engines. It has evolved into a maker of conveying equipment and related components for commercial and farm grain handling systems.

Union Iron Works, founded in Decatur in 1864 by James Millikin and Caleb Burroughs, was considered the city’s oldest manufacturing business. Begun as a maker of steam engines, the company shifted to producing corn shellers, parts for grain elevators and mill machinery.

The decision to disperse manufacturing operation out of Decatur was made after consideration of COVID-19 safety pressures and “a change in geographic demand from our customers,” Wernsig said.

“While manufacturing will stop, we will continue to have staff in Decatur and will focus on providing inside sales and customer service support,” he said. A Decatur warehouse will continue being used for distribution, too.

“While these times require us to make changes, AGI will continue to be a business operator, employer and supporter of the Decatur community,” Wernsig said. — Garrett Karsten, Decatur Herald & Review, via Tribune Content Agency

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President Biden signed 10 pandemic-related executive orders, aiming to fast-track vaccinations, reopen schools and mandate mask wearing.

A South Side bar that hosted Trump rally was shut down for violating COVID-19 restrictions. 12 other businesses were also cited.

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