Coronavirus Blog 4/8/20: Bridgestone Plant In Normal To Restart Production | WGLT

Coronavirus Blog 4/8/20: Bridgestone Plant In Normal To Restart Production

Apr 8, 2020

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.

You can also see (or add to) our list of cancellations, closures, and rescheduled events. Find all of our coverage at

8:35 p.m. Wednesday, April 8

Normal Mayor Chris Koos issued an emergency order Wednesday suspending licenses for solicitors during the state's stay-at-home order.

The town licenses solicitors who make door-to-door sales. But they now "represent a unique challenge to the requirements for social distancing and the conduct of nonessential business under the governor's executive order," according to Koos' order. "They represent a danger to the health and safety of the community."

Read the full order at

— Ryan Denham | WGLT


8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8

Bloomington-based Chestnut Health Systems will receive $569,225 in federal grant money through the latest coronavirus rescue package (CARES Act).

The package includes $52 million in grants to support 45 community health centers in Illinois, including Chestnut.

"As a primary health care provider, Chestnut is among the front-line responders to those who suspect they have COVID-19," Chestnut said in a statement Wednesday. "In addition, we remain open to care for physical health, mental health, and substance use needs not related to the pandemic. All of the extra precautions around the coronavirus mean added costs. Social distancing means we need to be creative in how we offer all types of care. We anticipate using the funding to reimburse costs of supplies, personal protective equipment, and supplemental cleaning and to explore added service capacity by phone, video, and other digital means for the safety and protection of our patients, clients, and staff."

— Ryan Denham and Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

2:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 8

The Bridgestone tire plant in Normal will restart production Monday after being closed for several weeks.

The plant shut down around March 19 to avoid coronavirus-related problems. At the time, Bridgestone said it planned to resume normal operations on or before Sunday, April 12.

That is now happening. Bridgestone says the “startup plans reflect the performance trend in several key areas of its commercial and diversified products businesses not as severely affected by the current crisis.”

“The well-being and safety of employees remains the most important priority for the company,” Bridgestone said in a statement. “To ensure the health and safety of employees, plants resuming operations will do so in alignment with the latest safety protocol guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

The Normal plant employs about 420 people on its 82-acre site. The facility has made large tires for mining equipment and heavy construction vehicles since 1964.

— Ryan Denham | WGLT

2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8

The Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market has moved online. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patrons who wish to shop at the April 18 Farmers’ Market will need to place a pre-order.

Online ordering will be available from 5 p.m. Wednesday through noon April 16.

Items purchased will need to be picked up curbside between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. April 18. Curbside pickup will take place on Lee Street along the back side of the Grossinger Motors Arena.

“By moving this market to an online store with the curbside market, we can support the hardworking vendors that are a part of our Farmers' Market community,” said Catherine Dunlap, the market co-manager.

To order online, visit For a complete list of vendors who are participating, follow the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market webpage.  

-- Cindy Hernandez | WGLT

2 p.m. Wednesday, April 8

Bloomington-Normal performers will participate in The Quarantine Concerts at 7 p.m. Saturday to share their work and accept donations during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Quarantine Concerts are a collaborative endeavor among Chicago-based organizations and organizers. The concerts are meant to provide artists experimenting across genres a space to share their work and continue to earn a living during the pandemic. The Quarantine Concerts is hosted by pt.fwd, a nonprofit that organizes contemporary music and sonic arts performances featuring new work by local and regional artists.

All donations contributed will go directly back to the artists performing each day, and pt.fwd is matching the first $50 that each artist raises on Saturday.

The concert will highlight artists and musicians who have been impacted by the coronavirus. The concert will includes performances by Lou Mallazzi and Angel Bat-Dawid, whose upcoming concerts at the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington were cancelled due to the shelter-in-place order.

All performances are 30 minutes and can be streamed live via Experimental Sound Studio’s webpage or Twitch channel. Visit the Experimental Sound Studio’s webpage for full concert details.

-- Cindy Hernandez | WGLT

12:10 p.m. Wednesday, March 8

The Green and Libertarian parties in Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit claiming the governor's stay-at-home order has impeded the petition process necessary to get on the November ballot.

The lawsuit filed in Chicago last week alleges the directive intended to curb the spread of coronavirus has made it "practically impossible" to safely collect signatures in person.

Candidates not from established parties have from March 24 until June 22 to get signatures. The lawsuit seeks to have the signature requirements waived or suspended for November.

The lawsuit names Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose office didn't return a message Tuesday.

— The Associated Press

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.