Business and Economy | WGLT

Business and Economy

Madigan in a mask
Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool

The Illinois General Assembly passed a $40 billion state budget along party-line votes Saturday night in the House and early Sunday morning in the Senate: 68-44 in the House and 37-19 in the Senate.

PRitzker in studio
Cindy Le / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker released industry-specific guidelines Sunday that tell businesses what they must do in the next phase of reopening during the pandemic.

All four regions of the state are on track to advance to Phase 3 of the plan in the coming days, said Pritzker. Retail, offices, manufacturing, barbershops and salons, summer programs, various outdoor recreation activities and bars and restaurants for outdoor dining will all be able to resume business in some form under the plan.

A 28-year-old Bloomington man who says he fell behind on rent after losing his hotel job because of the coronavirus says his landlord cut off his power after sending his son over to try to forcefully collect the money.

utility poles
Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council on Monday approved spending nearly $250,000 to move more Uptown utilities underground, keeping on track a new brewpub and restaurant that will help offset about half the cost of that work.

bags of edible marijuana in chocolate
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A half-dozen people lined up to buy McLean County's first recreational cannabis at the first opportunity Monday morning.

Kid with hand sanitizer
Alvaro Barrientos / AP

If all goes as planned, more and more parents in Bloomington-Normal will be going back into work in June and July after months of being furloughed or working from home.

Person outside IDES office
Nam Y. Huh / AP

Another 5,200 people in the Bloomington-Normal area filed for unemployment for the first time in April —  a staggering number that exceeded March's historic high.

A scene from Summercamp in May 2019
Aaron Bradley

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the live music scene to a screeching halt.

Congressman Rodney Davis at a microphone.
Staff / WGLT

Central Illinois lawmakers have reacted to a lawsuit by a southern Illinois state representative by pointing to what it might influence rather than any legal result it might have.

Michelle poses
Michelle Sanders / Facebook

There’s really no socially distant way to do massage therapy. That’s put Michelle Sanders out of work.

Doug Johnson
Courtesy / Doug Johnson

Those helpers on the front lines of the coronavirus economic collapse say they’re seeing more and more people seeking assistance for the first time. People like Doug Johnson.

Boys & Girls Club
Bridget Caldwell

The McLean County Ag in the Classroom program is finding new ways to engage students since classrooms are closed because of COVID-19.

Two Congressmen and a Regional HHS Director at a podium
Staff / WGLT

Two Central Illinois congressmen said they expect debate over a fourth coronavirus disaster recovery bill to be bipartisan, though they also preferred GOP drafts originating in the Senate.

Mavidea truck
Mavidea / Facebook

A Bloomington technology firm claims in a federal lawsuit that one of its former top employees stole its secret customer list and used it to bolster his own competing company.

State Farm HQ building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

An insurance industry expert says state regulators should take a more aggressive approach in forcing companies to refund premiums to policyholders who are driving less because of the coronavirus.

Congress voted during coronavirus outbreak
House Television / AP

An economics professor at Illinois Wesleyan University said a recession is inevitable, but flattening the curve on the coronavirus would limit the economic damage.

Tony Roma's in Bloomington.
Google Maps

Editor's note: Hours after this story was published, former Tony Roma's front-of-house manager Mary Sigler said she was just notified that employees will be getting paid March 30.

Employees at Tony Roma’s restaurant in Bloomington say their bosses stiffed them out of their final paycheck, for hours worked before the business shut down.

The staff at Fort Jesse Cafe in Normal
Facebook / Fort Jesse Cafe

Bloomington-Normal’s restaurant workers need help.

That’s the message from Nick Birky, general manager at Fort Jesse Cafe, the popular breakfast and brunch spot in Normal. His entire staff of nearly 30 people is now out of work. (Fort Jesse Cafe opted not to offer curbside pickup for customer and staff health reasons.)

Rodney Davis working at desk
Ashley Phelps

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said Monday the coronavirus aid package which stalled in the U.S. Senate would provide much-needed help for small-business owners who face uncertain times.

Now hiring sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

Service industry employees who have lost work due to the COVID-19 response could possibly find employment in one job sector that’s rapidly hiring to meet demand: grocery stores.

Sonny Perdue
John O'Connor / AP

McLean County farmers and landowners have been sent over $68 million in USDA trade relief payments so far—and one ag industry watcher says more may be on the way.

Unemployment Office

One of the last jobs report to precede the full impact COVID-19 is having on the Illinois economy shows job losses in McLean County, despite a drop in the unemployment rate.

Inside the Bridgestone plant in Normal
Monty Greutman / Bridgestone

The Bridgestone tire plant in Normal will shut down starting this weekend to avoid coronavirus-related problems, the company said in a news release Thursday.

Chris Koos
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Mayor Chris Koos of Normal said the town will enforce the restaurant and bar closure ordered by the governor because of the coronavirus.

Epiphany Farms restaurant entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker's decision to close bars and restaurants for the next two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was just the latest in a series of developments that have upended the food service industry in Illinois in recent days.

Chicago Farmer and the Fieldnotes at a recent show at FitzGeralds in Berwyn, IL
Ron Horne

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order that all bars and restaurants in Illinois shut down until at least March 30 has delivered another blow to independent musicians already devastated in just the last week from the damage brought by the coronovirus.

hotel exterior
Google Maps

The Bloomington-Normal hotel industry started 2020 off strong.

Booking were solid thanks to big events like the Illinois High School Theatre Festival at Illinois State University. And Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington hosted three state finals for wrestling, competitive cheer, and competitive dance.

State Farm signage
Staff / WGLT

More retirements, low unemployment, and increased competition from other industries have all contributed to a “war for talent” in the insurance business, according to a hiring expert.

Ruth Handler with a barbie
Andrew Harnik / AP

You never forget your favorite toy or board game from when you were a kid. But those who invent those toys and games are often forgotten to time. Especially the women.

Steven Weisbart
Insurance Information Institute

Exposure to increased regulation and choosy customers not interested in one-stop shopping for insurance and banking are likely among the reasons why State Farm is exiting the banking business, according to industry economist.