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A residential street in Wicker Park in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that the state’s ban on evictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be phased out during the next three months before expiring in August.

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People walk past Sugar Bliss Bakery in Chicago’s famed Loop on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (AP Photo / Shafkat Anowar)

In many downtown areas where companies closed their offices and commuting ground to a halt, sandwich shops, bakeries and other small businesses are waiting with guarded optimism for their customers to return.

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FILE- This Aug. 8, 2018, photo shows logos of McDonald's Chicago flagship restaurant. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File)

McDonald’s follows other chains including Chipotle, which said Monday that it will raise workers’ pay to an average of $15 per hour by the end of June. 

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An Amazon truck drives in in Philadelphia, Friday, April 30, 2021. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)

The jobs are for delivery and warehouse workers, who pack and ship online orders. Amazon, which already pays at least $15 an hour, gave out raises for some of its workers last month, and the company said Thursday that new hires will make an average of $17 an hour.

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A man walks out of a Marc’s Store, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. (AP Photo / Tony Dejak, file)

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to a new pandemic low, the latest evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs as consumers ramp up spending and more businesses reopen.

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(Photo by Brian Lundquist on Unsplash)

The U.S. economy has come roaring back from pandemic lows, but a disappointing jobs report that fell far short of analysts’ predictions highlighted some potentially worrying trends.

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Consumer spending is on the rise -- but for how long? (WTTW News)

The U.S. economy grew at 6.4% in the first quarter of 2021 as the combined impact of a mass vaccination rollout and federal stimulus checks triggered a surge in consumer spending. But how long can this economic boom last?

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President Joe Biden arrives to speak to a joint session of Congress, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Melina Mara / The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

President Joe Biden laid out a long list of policy priorities in his speech to Congress — and some are more politically plausible than others. A look at what’s possible, and what’s unlikely, when it comes to action in Congress.

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Chicago police officers work a crime scene in this file photo. (WTTW News)

Concerned that a surge in violence that begin in 2020 will turn into a bloody summer, aldermen urged city officials to spend the city’s $1.9 billion share of the latest federal COVID-19 relief package on efforts to stop shootings and murders by funding mental health services and job programs.

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A small business in Wicker Park highlights its opening hours in 2020. (WTTW News)

Cook County officials are marking Small Business Week, which runs through Saturday, with the launch of a new initiative aimed at supporting small businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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(WTTW News)

The next round of grants, set to open this month, could provide residents with 15 months of rental assistance to cover past-due rent from the previous 12 months and three additional months.

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A mural in Chicago’s South Loop. (WTTW News)

Arts 77, a new citywide arts recovery and reopening plan named with a nod to Chicago’s 77 community areas, will work to support local artists and organizations, a sector “decimated by the global pandemic,” according to an official.

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(WTTW News)

More and more colleges and universities are making vaccination for COVID-19 a requirement in the fall. Other businesses are more circumspect. But during a global pandemic, should vaccines be mandatory? And what are your rights if you refuse a vaccine?

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(Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash)

The U.S. poverty rate last month reached its highest point during the pandemic at 11.7%, according to researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. We discuss the issue as part of WTTW’s Firsthand initiative exploring poverty.

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(Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine)

COVID-19 has put some people on disability benefits, but others say the system isn't built for people with the virus. We discuss the obstacles people with long COVID-19 symptoms are facing.

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(Photo by Add Weed / Unsplash)

Plans to expand a medical marijuana dispensary on Chicago’s Far Northwest Side are on hold after members of the City Council’s Black Caucus blocked them from advancing over concerns that none of its owners are Black or Latino.