State will offer small businesses free ‘infection prevention’ training
The Illinois Department of Labor announced Tuesday a free consulting program to help small businesses reopen under COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The service, called Back to Business Illinois, will connect businesses with up to 250 with consultants in the department’s Workplace Safety and Health Consultation Division, the department said in a statement.
The consultants will “help local small businesses audit their physical operation, identify best practices and find ways to implement them efficiently,” the statement said. They will be paired with businesses “based on their expertise and specific needs to customize the best plan for their business.”
“While this pandemic has affected Illinois’ small businesses in unexpected ways, IDOL remains committed to promoting health and safety during every step of recovery. We are excited to offer this new program in support of our small business owners’ efforts to keep workers and customers safe as these businesses continue to operate,” said IDOL Director Michael Kleinik.
Read the full story from Sam Kelly here.
7:58 a.m. College in Grant Park? Columbia faculty move classes outdoors amid dispute over coronavirus protections
Columbia College instructors and students have been forced to trade-in their state of the art dance and theater facilities for Grant Park’s greenways and concrete walkways over a dispute about coronavirus protections.
After the college’s part-time faculty union, Columbia Faculty Association Local 6602, and school officials failed to come to a safety agreement for the fall semester, several faculty members decided to hold classes outdoors at 11th Street and Michigan Avenue rather than in classrooms that did not meet their safety expectations.
Last week the union filed an unfair labor practices charge against the school over coronavirus-related concerns. The union wants portable air purifiers in all classrooms where in-person instruction will take place, while the college said it’ll only take that precaution where “science shows there is a higher potential of risk,” like in classes that require singing, playing a musical instrument or dancing, according to Lambrini Lukidis, Columbia’s associate vice president for strategic communications.
Reporter Adam Mahoney has the full story.
Analysis & Commentary
8:23 a.m. How COVID is hammering Chicago’s arts and entertainment scene
Two years ago, we visited Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park to better understand the role of the arts in a community’s development.
We described in an editorial how Lifeline had been critical to a small but promising resurgence in that small corner of the neighborhood, as if a seed had been planted, leading to new energy and investment.
Now, as COVID-19 rages on, we visited Lifeline again last week, wondering how the theater and the neighborhood are faring.
We found that the symbiotic relationship between the arts and nightlife and a community — where one’s success begets the other’s — continues to hold, for better and worse, in hard times. We found a theater company and neighborhood struggling, yet determined, to hang in there — a story to be found all over town.
We also found ourselves wanting to reaffirm the message of our original editorial. Support the arts, fellow Chicagoans. Now more than ever. They are essential to our city’s identity and post-pandemic future.
Read the full editorial from the Sun-Times editorial board here.