The coronavirus story is developing quickly in Illinois. Here are updates from WGLT's newsroom and our partners at Illinois Public Radio, NPR, and The Associated Press.
STATE FARM CEASES IN-OFFICE WORK NATIONWIDE
6:53 p.m. Wednesday, March 25
State Farm is shutting down its offices nationwide amid the pandemic. The Bloomington-based company says most of its 58,000 workers had already transitioned to work from home, but State Farm is updating its response.
State Farm asked for patience from customers amid the rapidly changing coronavirus situation. State Farm said in a news release that its decisions try to balance health concerns with the obligation to serve customers.
The company said most agent offices are running virtually by phone or email and there are apps and web connections available as well.
– Charlie Schlenker | WGLT
IHSA UPDATES SCHOOLS ON SPRING SPORTS PROSPECTS
5:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 25
Illinois High School Association Executive Director Craig Anderson is telling school adminstrators and coaches he remains hopeful that schools will be able to resume their spring sports schedules should schools reopen on April 7 following Gov. JB Pritzker's order.
Latest COVID-19 Update from IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
— IHSA #IHSA (@IHSA_IL) March 25, 2020
"We continue to support the possiblity that our member schools completing both regular and postseason spring sports schedules," Anderson said. "We will be working with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to determine the need for an acclimitization period in advance of competition once school resumes."
Anderson added the IHSA could consider expanding partipation opportunities for students, including extending the timelines for postseason competition.
-- Eric Stock | WGLT
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAYS CONNECTED WITH CHATS
2:52 p.m. Wednesday, March 25
The McLean County Chamber of Commerce has created Chamber Chat, a new Facebook group for members to connect.
George Wood of Hartweg, Turner, Wood and Devary, P.C. will host a Facebook Live presentation and Q&A on employer law under the current pandemic at 10:30 a.m. Thursday for members to join.
The group is designed for members to contribute resources, share promotions and start dialogue about the McLean County business community.
Chamber Chat will be used to host educational Facebook Live presentation, discuss ideas for online networking and poll membership on how to support local businesses.
– Cindy Hernandez | WGLT
MUSEUM OFFERS RESOURCES WHILE SHELTER IN PLACE CONTINUES
2:27 p.m. Wednesday, March 25
Since the McLean County Museum of History closed its doors March 14, the staff has continued to meet regularly virtually and only essential staff have been working in short shifts to ensure the facilities are sound and the archives and collections remain safe.
The staff will continue to communicate with members and community partners concerning event and programming rescheduling and cancellations.
In the meantime, the museum has put together a list of resources on its digital platform, including MUSE 2U, a new series of at-home activities to provide distance learning for museum visitors.
For more information, the staff can be reached at email@example.com or (309) 706-9866.
– Cindy Hernandez | WGLT
DOMINO'S IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS HIRING 150 TEAM MEMBERS
1:32 p.m. Wednesday, March 25
Domino’s locations in the Peoria and Bloomington area are looking to hire about 150 new team members.
Domino’s stores are providing contactless delivery and carryout options to customers. To make sure they are able to keep up with the services, franchise-owned locations throughout the region need additional team members.
“While many local, state and federal rules are closing dine-in restaurants, the opportunity to feed our neighbors through delivery and carryout continues,” said Mark Ratterman, a local Domino’s franchise owner. “We want to make sure we’re not only providing food to people, but also delivering opportunity to those who are looking for work.”
The positions include delivery drivers, customer service representatives, assistant managers and managers. Those who are interested in applying for a position should visit jobs.dominos.com.
– Cindy Hernandez | WGLT
MORE FIRST-TIME VISITORS AT FOOD PANTRY
10 a.m. Wednesday, March 25
The Salvation Army says demand is up at its food pantry in Bloomington, with about one-third of the families served in the past week being first-time visitors.
Over a five-day period ending Monday, The Salvation Army's food pantry served 194 families, including 61 first-time visitors. The food pantry served 215 families in all of February.
"We think that trend will continue," said Angie Bubon, director of development at The Salvation Army's Bloomington Corps.
The Midwest Food Bank has been good at increasing the supply of food flowing to the Salvation Army program according to Food Bank director Joanna Callahan.
“Many other food pantries have chosen to close because they might not have the proper staffing or structure to keep open. That actually provides us enough resources to keep us afloat. I wouldn’t say there is an abundance, but we have enough to keep afloat,” said program director Joanna Callahan.
Callahan said the pantry has reduced the intake paperwork to minimize contact and instead of letting patrons choose food, they are given bags of food sized for a particular number in a household.
“While people are hesitant to volunteer because of the contact, the way our pantry is set up, one can help pre-pack these bags in a space that is away from others and would have no contact with the clients,” said Callahan. “The community has been really great. Our staff has been really great.”
— Ryan Denham | WGLT
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