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Gov. J.B. Pritzker's plan to reopen Illinois breaks the state into four regions.
Restore Illinois Plan, Office Of The Governor

The Regions and Phases of Pritzker’s Plan To Reopen Illinois

Illinois is in Phase 2 of Restore Illinois – the five-step plan Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled this week to reopen schools, colleges, parks and businesses, while addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Some state parks are open. More shops can operate to fill online and pick up orders, and in some places, residents can go to a drive-in movie theater. While the stay-at-home order still applies to the whole state, Pritzker said going forward, that will change as it’s a regional plan.

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Community Voices

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

More Sangamon County Residents Getting Tested For COVID-19, Some Repeat Tests

More than two months after Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared testing would be key to Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus testing is still limited in Sangamon County. Meanwhile, state officials report more than 13,600 tests done in the county. Local officials, however, estimate that with repeat tests and people from outside the county limits screened here, only 5,600 individual Sangamon County residents have been tested. A look at the numbers from one recent week provides a...

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Should I Get Tested For Coronavirus Just For The Heck Of It?

Earlier in this pandemic, the shortage of tests for the coronavirus was a major problem in fighting the spread of COVID-19. The shortage was such that many hospitals and clinics would test only someone who had traveled to a country with an outbreak, had a known exposure to a positive case or showed symptoms of the disease. But access to tests has improved significantly, and in some places, people can now get tested without having to show any symptoms at all. So if you can get tested, should...

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Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Don Bryant

Where: Memphis, Tenn.

Recommendation: Picking up an instrument and playing your favorite songs

One of the characters that comes to the fore in the second half of Brit Bennett's new novel, The Vanishing Half, is a young actress named Kennedy Sanders. She's an attractive blonde pushing 30, who, after years of trying to make it in the serious theater, lands a role on a soap opera.

Bennett writes that when Kennedy calls her parents to tell them about her big break, she assures them that "There was nothing wrong with melodrama, . ... In fact, some of the greatest classic actresses — Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo — trafficked in it from time to time."

If you saw the first Heat Check Live on NPR Music's Instagram this past weekend, you rocked with us for a live DJ set of all your favorite new songs. Afterward, New York-based artist Linda Diaz, whose work has been featured on Heat Check before, reminded us why we create spaces for the playlist to exist: "Community is invaluable. Black joy is radical," she wrote.

In Montgomery, Ala., just down the road from where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, a noisy trailer sits in a tiny church parking lot.

The trailer is like a mini laundromat, equipped with three washers and dryers and two shower stalls. Every week, it serves a homeless congregation at River City Church — even through a pandemic.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robin Rokobauer doesn't like to chance it. When there's a hurricane, she almost always evacuates.

Rokobauer lives in Cocoa Beach, Fla., on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and 153-mile-long Indian River Lagoon. Her mother is 93.

"She's got to have flushing toilets," Rokobauer says of her mother. "She's got to have fresh water. She's just got some physical needs that require that."

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Being Black In America Today: Share Your Experience

Widespread protests across the nation have followed several high-profile deaths of African Americans in recent weeks, including George Floyd , Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor , as well as allegations of racial profiling, from the woman calling police on the birdwatcher in Central Park to police in Texas holding a man at gunpoint after they said he ran a stop sign. NPR would like to hear about your reaction to these incidents and your personal experience as a black person in America. Please...

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Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

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Arts & Life

Demonstrators and police clashed this weekend as anguish and rage swept through cities across the U.S. in response to the death of George Floyd. Protesters were tear-gassed, police cars destroyed, buildings vandalized and businesses looted in some of the nation's worst civil unrest in years.

Here's a look at some of the cities.

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Education Desk

Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

As University of Illinois officials deliberate over how to reopen the Urbana campus this fall, a group of faculty members say they don’t believe the university can safely allow tens of thousands of students back into residence halls and classrooms this year. 

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Equity & Justice

Maxica Williams / Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has created a mutual aid fund that will give out grants of up to $500 for Illinoisans who are homeless, have been without a home or are at risk of being unsheltered.

CCH grassroots leaders – people who have experienced homelessness and work in partnership with CCH staff – run the fund and will decide what requests should be supported.

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Illinois Economy

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Diabolo-2 / Shiny Colors

As the hospitality industry continues to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois lawmakers approved a measure to allow bars and restaurants to serve cocktails for curbside pick-up and delivery. The bill awaits the governor’s signature.

Read More Illinois Economy Coverage

Statehouse

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois enters Phase Three of "Restore Illinois", Governor Pritzker is responding to  criticism and lawsuits surrounding his re-opening plan.  Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its short special legislative session last weekend after passing a state budget. The panel also discusses a controversy over whether or not lawmakers will see their pay go up.

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel joins the panel.

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Politics

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

With the widespread expansion of vote-by-mail this year in response to the pandemic, both major political parties and their allies are waging an intense legal battle to shape the rules around absentee and mail-in voting.

The details matter a lot and could affect the outcome in November.

Through days of unrest, dozens of American cities — from Minneapolis to Atlanta, from New York to Grand Rapids, Mich. — have been wracked by violent protests.

Updated at 7:27 p.m. ET

As overlapping crises convulse an anxious nation, President Trump on Sunday sought to cast blame for widespread protests gripping cities on "radical-left anarchists," while adding that the media "is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy."

Rep. Joyce Beatty, the Ohio Democrat who was pepper-sprayed at a demonstration in Columbus on Saturday, says property destruction accompanying protests over the death of George Floyd is a "distraction to the message."

Speaking to NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, Beatty said she understands the sentiment that attempting to have a "healthy dialogue" about race hasn't worked, but that "violence doesn't work — violence either way."

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Our Daily Breather: Ketch Secor Is Listening To Music From Around The Globe

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Who: Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show Where: Nashville, Tenn. Recommendation: Widening your musical horizons One thing about a global pandemic is that you know it's happening to everyone. It's a phenomenon that crosses every cultural divide around the globe, putting it at odds with other geopolitical forces, but...

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NPR Illinois Classic - LISTEN ON 91.9-2 HD OR STREAM

Opera For Newbies: Busting Myths And Belting High Notes

We've been starting this new year off with genres of music you might not listen to, or that you say you're not a fan of — so far, we've covered jazz , country and deep house . One of those styles of music people love to say they hate is opera, so we asked NPR's resident opera expert Tom Huizenga to explain what he loves about the music and to soothe some common opera-related anxieties. On what to love about opera Well there's a lot to love about opera. For one thing, it's one of the most...

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