Rockford Rescue Mission employee tests positive for coronavirus

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - An employee of the Rockford Rescue Mission has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The staff member's age and name have not been released. Mission CEO Sherry Pitney said in a statement that she continues to work with the Winnebago County Health Department, as her team has since the beginning of the pandemic. She said many of the mission's clients have compromised immune systems, prompting extra precautions to avoid…

Best Buy to furlough 51K workers amid coronavirus pandemic

By Jim Hagerty Reporter MINNEAPOLIS - Best Buy, beginning, April 19, will temporarily furlough around 51,000 hourly store employees and almost all part-time workers, the electronic retailer announced Wednesday, April 15. Furloughed employees will retain health benefits at no cost for a minimum of three months. The company says it will retain approximately 82% of its full-time store and field employees on its payroll, including the majority of In-Home Advisors and Geek Squad Agents.…

Woodward to close Rock Cut plant amid coronavirus uncertainty

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Woodward, Inc. plans to close its Rock Cut plant, the company announced Friday. "Woodward is conducting permanent layoffs and temporary furloughs because we are temporarily closing business lines, departments, and portions of facilities due to the public health emergency and physical calamity resulting from the sudden and widespread impact of the infectious disease pandemic known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)," the company said in a statement.…

Sports marketing: Coronavirus shutdown presents challenges for teams, sponsors

By Jay Cohen AP Sports Writer CHICAGO (AP) — There are no sponsored power plays at the moment. No doughnut races in the fourth quarter. No calls to the bullpen presented by phone companies. Amid the coronavirus shutdown, sports business executives are having tough conversations about lucrative advertising and marketing contracts with no games on the horizon. Everyone involved knows the relative insignificance of the talks in the greater scheme of things, but billions of dollars are…

Coronavirus peak: Countries start thinking about easing up on restrictions

By Marina Villenueve and Lori Hinnant Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Even as coronavirus deaths mount across Europe and New York, the U.S. and other countries are starting to contemplate an exit strategy and thinking about a staggered and carefully calibrated easing of restrictions designed to curb the scourge. "To end the confinement, we're not going to go from black to white; we're going to go from black to gray," top French epidemiologist Jean-François Delfraissy said in a radio…

Wall Street climbs 3.4%, holds as coronavirus outbreak moves toward peak

By Stan Choe and Alex Veiga AP Business Writers NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shot to a 3.4% gain on Wall Street Wednesday as investors chose to focus on the optimistic side of data about the coronavirus outbreak's trajectory. It's the latest about-face in this brutally volatile stretch for the U.S. stock market, which has flip-flopped from gains to losses for six straight days. Just a day before, stocks had been headed for a similar gain only for it to vanish in the last minutes of trading. The…

Trump removes inspector general in charge of $2T coronavirus rescue

By Eric Tucker, Matthew Daly and Mary Clare Jalonick Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has removed the inspector general tapped to chair a special oversight board of the $2.2 trillion economic package intended to help businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday. Glenn Fine, the acting Defense Department inspector general and a veteran watchdog, had been selected by peers last month for the position. Now it's unclear who will…

Should Americans wear masks in public during coronavirus outbreak?

By Lauren Neergaar AP Medical Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — If you're not sick with the new coronavirus, should you wear a mask in public? Global health authorities say no. Amid a shortage of masks, the U.S. is sticking with that advice but Tuesday, President Donald Trump suggested people who are worried wear a scarf. That shortage is so severe that the  Joint Commission, which accredits U.S. hospitals, said Tuesday that if facilities can't provide proper masks, health workers are allowed to…

Coronavirus shutters Wimbledon for 1st time since World War II

By Howard Fendrich AP Tennis Writer For the first time in its nearly century-and-a-half history, Wimbledon was canceled for a reason other than war, scrapped in 2020 on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic. With Britain under a nationwide lockdown, the All England Club announced its decision to call off its storied two-week grass-court tennis tournament, something that hadn't happened to the sport's oldest Grand Slam event in 75 years. "It has weighed heavily on our minds that…

Belvidere Chrysler plant to remain closed through April 14 amid coronavirus pandemic

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Belvidere Assembly Plant will be closed through the middle of April. The closure is part of Fiat Chrysler's decision to close all North American plants through April 14 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Belvidere plant is currently on a scheduled two-week shutdown. "FCA continues to take important steps to help flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19, and put the health and safety of our workforce, and the communities where we live and work first" Fiat…

Sports Illustrated launches coronavirus podcast

Staff Report NEW YORK -  Maven Media Brands and Sports Illustrated announce the launch of Coronavirus + Sports, a free podcast sharing candid stories of how the global COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the world of sports. Hosted by Luis Miguel Echegaray, the series features SI reporters, athletes, experts, and sports figures telling daily stories of how those in and around sports are responding to the unprecedented event that brought sports to a halt around the world. "Sports Illustrated…

Coronavirus outbreak strains Illinois meat industry

By Ben Orner Capitol News Illinois SPRINGFIELD – Meat has been among the most in-demand items at supermarkets as people stock up on essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That has people up and down Illinois’ livestock supply chain – especially producers of beef and pork – trying to keep up. Industry leaders say the Illinois factories processing beef and pork are running at normal capacity with multiple shifts a day to keep shelves and meat cases stocked. “There has been and continues…

Senate unanimously approves $2.2T coronavirus rescue package

By Andrew Taylor and Lisa Mascaro Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate late Wednesday passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.  The unanimous vote came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced.  The 880-page…

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus

Staff Report WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a statement posted to his Twitter account said. “He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person,” the statement said. Paul is the first U.S. senator to test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that…

SBA offers coronavirus relief loans to Illinois small businesses

Staff Report ATLANTA - The U.S. Small Business Administration, on Thursday, announced that is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Illinois small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said the organization acted under provisions of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was signed by President Donald Trump following a…