WATCH ABOVE: Governor JB Pritzker is expected to provide an update on COVID-19 in Illinois at 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
CHICAGO — On Tuesday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker warned of a “nightmare scenario” of cuts and layoffs of first responders and other government workers if the federal government doesn’t offer more assistance.
Lawmakers and aides in Washington offered glum assessments both publicly and privately over whether Congress will approve a new round of coronavirus aid Wednesday. Democratic leadership in the House rejected a bipartisan $1.5 trillion proposal that includes a second round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans.
The federal government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of skepticism rippling across the land.
Pritzker also announced $245 million in new grants for Illinois businesses impacted by COVID-19 and recent unrest Tuesday.
The coronavirus pandemic has been especially hard on businesses like those in the Wrigleyville neighborhood that rely on ballpark traffic, as restrictions have eliminated crowds at major league games and limit the amount of people they can have inside their doors at the same time.
Retail sales rose for a fourth straight month as Americans kept spending in August, but the pace of that growth is slowing as millions of people who lost jobs have now lost a $600 a week boost in their unemployment checks.
Debate over reopening schools and sports
Students and parents in suburban Crystal Lake rallied in support of resuming in-person learning Tuesday, as some say schools can safely reopen their doors and resume high school sports amid the pandemic.
The Big Ten reversed course on Wednesday and announced plans for an eight-game football season starting the weekend of October 24.