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PSA: Not all businesses are mask-free

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


Not all Chicagoans are ready to be mask-free after the city and state lifted restrictions — including community organizer Cait Guerra.

Guerra started crowdsourcing a list of businesses that are still keeping requirements in place. She said that as an immunocompromised person, she wanted to feel safe. 

In a tweet Monday, she said it’s unfair “we have to rely on community knowledge to protect ourselves but unfortunately that’s where we’re at.” 

Guerra is not alone: People have already submitted dozens of restaurants, bars, stores, theaters, music venues, and more to the list of places keeping mitigations.

Some places, like Split-Rail in West Town, continue to require both vaccine cards and masks. Some like Avondale Bowl require proof of vaccine but are mask-optional. Others only require masks, like vegan restaurant Plant Based Junkie in Avalon Park and Semicolon Bookstore in Wicker Park.

“For us, it’s the sense of safety. Immunocompromised people exist. Including myself,” Danielle Mullen, Semicolon’s owner, told WTTW.

Still, support for mask mandates is waning: Half of Americans support the mandates now, but that’s down from 55% in August 2021 and 75% in December 2020, according to a new AP-NORC poll

👉 Contribute to Guerra’s list. Check out Eater Chicago’s list of restaurants and the Trib’s list of entertainment venues keeping requirements.


Ten years ago, Vivonell Brown was a teacher at Woodson Elementary in Bronzeville, on track to become a principal, when he lost his job. 

And he wasn’t the only one: More than a hundred Black educators were laid off or fired from schools that CPS deemed to be underperforming. Brown and two other teachers filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2012, which finally reached a settlement in December.

Lack of representation is still a problem in Chicago schools, especially for Black male educators. 

🎧 Brown and teacher Kirby Birgans, a member of the Black Male Educators Alliance, tell us about the importance of representation in the classroom.


▪️ Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike is stepping down, Gov. JB Pritzker announced. Her last day is March 14. Dr. Amaal Tokars will lead the department while the state searches for a new director.

▪️ Chicago is suspending its sister city relationship with Moscow. The mayor’s statement comes after City Council emails got heated.

▪️ It’s official: Former U.S. Secretary of Education and ex-CPS CEO Arne Duncan announced he is not running for mayor.

▪️ Lineups for the Hyde Park Summer Fest and a new Lincoln Park women-led fest are out!

▪️ See “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry in Chi, the real greatest city in the world, in April.

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‘Tis the season for films for all types of movie lovers: 

☘️ Chicago Irish Film Fest will show dark comedies, historical pieces, and more online and in person during its 10-day fest starting Thursday. 

🤎 Afro Film Series showcases movies from African and Caribbean filmmakers on Thursdays at Harper Theater in Hyde Park.

🇫🇷 Chicago European Union Film Fest at the Siskel downtown celebrates 25 years with films from EU countries over the next two weeks. Friday’s opening film is “Lost Illusions,” a comedy from France and Belgium.

🎥 “Flesh to Spirit” will feature Black abstract shorts from the ‘60s to today at the Block Museum of Art in Evanston Friday. 

🍃 One Earth Film Fest includes films about Native Americans’ land restoration efforts, bee colonies, and the future of plastic waste. Starting Friday, see movies during the weeklong event across Chicagoland.