Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021

YouTube yanks school board meeting from site over COVID-19 comments, later restores it

YouTube has restored a video of a Springfield District 186 board meeting with public comments critical of COVID-19 policies.

The social media company pulled the June 21 video from its website for violating it’s policy on COVID-19 information.

The district said Monday that’s why they are no longer including public comments in their YouTube uploads.

But when asked about the censorship Wednesday, a YouTube representative said they restored it. The district didn’t respond when asked if they’ll allow public comments to be included in future YouTube videos.

70,000 fewer Illinoisans get unemployment benefits

More than 70,000 fewer Illinoisans are getting unemployment benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s weekly report.

For traditional unemployment benefits, there were 964 more initial filers last week than the week before for a total of around 9,000.

But continued traditional benefits decreased by 4,100 overall with pandemic unemployment assistance benefits dropping by more than 63,600.

Hearings highlight staffing shortages at Illinois’ long-term care facilities

Staffing issues was at the forefront of a House subject matter hearing Wednesday on the current state of Illinois nursing homes.

Matt Pickering, executive director of the Health Care Council of Illinois, told state representatives he believes the vaccination mandate for workers in congregate facilities in Illinois may drive some people out of the industry.

A majority of workers have been hesitant to get the shot.

Some towns have yet to apply for federal COVID-19 funds

There are still around 240 smaller local governments in Illinois that have yet to claim nearly $20 million in federal funds meant for COVID-19 relief.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said more than 1,000 local governments have taken steps to claim more than $361 million so far.

The application window closes on Sept. 30.

Investigators look into safety checks after sex offender gets job at state fair

Investigators want to know how a child sex offender evaded background checks and gain employment working on carnival rides at the Illinois State Fair.

Despite background checks and state laws designed to keep child sex offenders away from children at fairs, an investigation by WCIA revealed loopholes that allowed 41-year-old Jason Flynn to land a job for a carnival vendor where he worked for at least 4 days last month.

State officials urge people to mask up at haunted houses

Don’t forget to wear your mask to the haunted house.

That’s the message from the Illinois Department of Labor, which said because of Illinois’ indoor mask mandate, visitors must wear masks despite vaccination status.

Haunted houses in Illinois must also have a permit to operate and follow other rules like random drug tests and background checks of non-volunteer workers.

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