Here’s What You Need To Know For Thursday, Oct. 22

chicago bar
Patrons occupy the window table Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at the Nisei Lounge, as the rest of the bar area is tapped off at the Wrigleyville neighborhood establishment in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo
chicago bar
Patrons occupy the window table Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at the Nisei Lounge, as the rest of the bar area is tapped off at the Wrigleyville neighborhood establishment in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

Here’s What You Need To Know For Thursday, Oct. 22

Hey there! It’s Hunter, back from some much needed time off. I pretty much slept all day on Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Chicago cracks down on bars and restaurants as coronavirus cases surge

All nonessential businesses will be under a 10 p.m. curfew beginning tomorrow, and bars without food licenses will no longer be allowed to serve indoor customers, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced today amid a surge in coronavirus cases that health experts warn could rival previous outbreaks. Lightfoot also asked residents to limit gathering to six people or less. [WBEZ]

The restrictions on bars and restaurants come just days after Lightfoot dismissed suggestions that those establishments were playing a role in the spread of the virus.

“We’re not seeing this as a source,” she said on Monday, when she threatened to bring back restrictions if the situation did not improve.

WTTW’s Heather Cherone looked at how Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker are “at odds over the role that bars and restaurants are playing in fueling the spread.” [WTTW]

The restrictions come as Illinois today broke a new record for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day. Officials announced 4,942 new cases and an additional 44 deaths. The state is seeing a weekly average of 4,005 cases per day, up 91% from the average two weeks ago. [New York Times]

In Chicago, the rolling, seven-day average was 645 cases per day as of Tuesday, an increase of 54% from the previous week’s average. [COVID Dashboard]

Meanwhile, Illinois now meets the criteria to be placed on Chicago’s travel quarantine list. That means if Chicago officials applied the same rules to Illinois as they do other states, people who leave the city limits would have to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.

Illinois is seeing a weekly average of about 30 new cases per 100,000 residents, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chicago officials have said that states with an average of 15 new cases per 100,000 residents would be placed on the travel list.

2. Biden and Trump to square off in tonight’s final debate

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are preparing for tonight’s final debate before the Nov. 3 election. WBEZ will air live coverage of the debate, which begins at 8 p.m. CT in Nashville, Tennessee, and is expected to last 90 minutes. Kristen Welker of NBC News is the moderator.

Will tonight’s event be a repeat of the widely panned first presidential debate? Will Trump commit to a peaceful transfer of power? And can Biden maintain his momentum? We’ll find out tonight. [NPR]

Trump’s advisors hope the president can get under Biden’s skin and focus on Hunter Biden’s business dealings without losing control, according to The New York Times.

“The president, in order to have a successful debate, has to go on offense without being offensive,” said Brett O’Donnell, a Republican strategist who has coached candidates in debates. “The American people care more about their own family than they do about the family of Hunter Biden. Especially during the pandemic.” [NYT]

Meanwhile, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon have the highest risk of seeing increased militia activity around the elections, according to a new report. [NPR]

3. How Lightfoot’s proposed budget affects your wallet

There is a lot to unpack in Mayor Lightfoot’s proposed budget, which includes a controversial $94 million property tax hike, as well as annual property tax increases tied to inflation, which has created a rare situation where both local liberal groups and business associations are united in opposition.

WBEZ’s Al Keefe has this handy, easy-to-read breakdown of the mayor’s plan and what it means for city residents. On top of the property tax increases, Lightfoot also proposes raising the city’s gasoline tax and laying off more than 300 city workers. [WBEZ]

Among the groups criticizing Lightfoot’s tax hikes are the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, two groups that are seldom in the same sentence together. The chamber of commerce says the property tax hikes “undoubtedly will place further strain on already-struggling families and businesses, particularly small businesses.”

The DSA says: “A property tax hike will mean higher monthly payments for renters and homeowners just to stay in their homes. The proposed 60% increase in the city gas tax will disproportionately hurt the working poor.” [Crain’s Chicago Business]

4. Weekly jobless claims dropped to lowest level since March

New unemployment claims filed last week dropped to 787,000, according to figures released today by the Labor Department. Economists polled by Dow Jones were expecting jobless claims to reach 875,000.

The dip may suggest the U.S. job market is improving, some economists say, but unemployment claims still remain historically high. And some economists say these gains could be short-lived as the U.S. faces another surge in coronavirus cases.

These outbreaks could cause more people to think twice about shopping and dining out. And the hope that layoffs would be temporary is quickly fading as officials around the country consider bringing back more business restrictions. [AP]

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today that congressional Democrats and the White House are “just about there” on reaching a stimulus deal. But Pelosi said one major issue remains unresolved: providing aid to states and local governments. [CNBC]

5. Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination advances in the Senate despite boycott from Democrats

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is one step closer to being confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court and cementing a 6 to 3 conservative majority.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee today voted to advance Barrett’s nomination as Democrats boycotted the vote, saying she would damage “health care, reproductive freedoms, the ability to vote, and other core rights that Americans cherish,” NPR reports.

The Senate is expected to take a final vote on Barrett’s nomination on Monday. Republicans hold a majority with 53 seats, and Democrats would have to convince at least four Republicans to vote with them in order to torpedo Barrett’s nomination.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins has said she will vote no, and another Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, has said she opposes filling the seat before the election. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • A Minneapolis judge dropped the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, who still faces a higher charge of second-degree in the killing of George Floyd. [NPR]
  • A 2016 deposition of Ghislaine Maxwell, a central figure in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, was released today. [NPR]
  • Many Pilsen residents remain opposed to a historic landmark district for the neighborhood, saying it won’t stop gentrification. [WBEZ]
  • The Chicago Transit Authority will install vending machines with PPE at some train stations. [Chicago Tribune]

Oh, and one more thing …

I remember being in high school when The Matrix came out and everyone was like, “Whoa dude, life will never be the same again. Also, where can I get a leather trench coat?”

This week on Nerdette Recaps with Peter Sagal, the gang rewatches the seminal film from the Wachowski siblings. And hosts Greta Johnsen, Tricia Bobeda and Peter Sagal from Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me want to hear from you by sending an audio recording to

And tune in next week, because The Blair Witch Project is up next in Nerdette’s odyssey into classic films from 1999. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

Are you dressing up for Halloween as you’re social distancing? If so, what are you dressing up as?

Samantha tweets:

“There was an @NPR story about integrating masks into your costumes, and instead of thinking of obvious choices like Nurse or Doctor, my brain went immediately to Mortal Kombat. So, I’m going to be Subzero this year! (Elsa with a warmer clothing, and a mask.)”

Feel free to email at or tweet to @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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