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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week
Good morning,
A nationwide eviction moratorium, credited with keeping 2 million people in their homes throughout the pandemic, expired on Saturday. After protests from activists and lawmakers over the weekend, a last-minute and temporary eviction ban that covers counties experiencing high or substantial COVID-19 community spread was introduced.
The next step, however, is for state and local governments to get rental relief into the pockets of struggling tenants and landlords. Without rent relief, small neighborhood landlords who rely on rental income to pay mortgages and property taxes eventually risk foreclosure. That’s a lose-lose for both tenants and landlords.
Lollapalooza is in the books, and now we wait for the major COVID-19 outbreak that is a likely outcome after the crowded four-day music festival. The warnings from health experts were there, but more than 100,000 people still packed Grant Park for hours on end, day into night. Why did Lollapalooza go forward in a pandemic? It’s about the money, writes columnist Laura Washington.
On social media, we saw how maskless festival-goers flooded the city’s trains on their way to and from Lollapalooza. It was not a good picture for Chicago. Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded over the weekend saying the city is looking at conversations with the CTA about mask enforcement. A Sun-Times reader says people have not been wearing masks on the CTA throughout the pandemic and doesn’t understand why City Hall acted like this was the first time they have been made aware of that behavior. In Letters to the Editor, Michael Pearson of Englewood writes it is a pity that you have to embarrass city officials into action.
— Ismael Pérez, editorial board member

Activists protest for an extension of the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on Sunday. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Activists protest for an extension of the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on Sunday. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images
A public health crisis is not the time for millions of people to be put out of their homes simply because they’ve lost their jobs and income during a pandemic.
President Joe Biden’s plan to impose another federal eviction moratorium is surely due, in part, to intense pressure from left-leaning Democrats since the Supreme Court ruled that last fall’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium was unconstitutional. Those lawmakers warned that a “tsunami” of evictions, impacting mostly low-income renters of color, would be the inevitable result if Biden’s administration didn’t take action to stop it.
Whatever the pressure, a moratorium is on solid ground from a public health perspective. Since the pandemic began, policies aimed at limiting evictions cut COVID-19 infections by 3.8% and deaths by 11%, an analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research found.
Those are numbers to keep in mind with a pandemic surging anew because of the more contagious Delta variant. Every reasonable step to contain the spread of the variant is called for, and Biden’s plan will impose a ban on evictions until Oct. 3 in counties that have been hardest hit by Delta.
Here in Illinois, the impact of the Biden administration’s new moratorium is not yet clear. The statewide eviction moratorium is set to expire on Aug. 31, but that will only mean landlords can once again file court cases to begin the eviction process, which typically takes five or six months.
The next step, as Biden pointed out Monday, is for state and local governments to get rental relief into the pockets of struggling tenants and landlords.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board is the opinion voice of the hardest-working newspaper in America. It is headed by editorial page editor Tom McNamee and includes Thomas FrisbieLorraine ForteLee BeyIsmael Pérez and Mary Mitchell as members.
What others have to say
Laura Washington on Lollapalooza and elected Chicago officials:
What happened to the old Lori Lightfoot? The Lightfoot who, last year, sternly tweeted, scolded, even threatened us to obey the COVID rules, for our own good and for the sake of our lives?
More editorials we published this week
Stop the stall, Illinois lawmakers. Enact a strong pro-climate energy bill for Illinois
A chance for a historic win on immigration reform — if only Democrats will hang tough
In your words
“It’s a pity that you have to embarrass city officials into action when it should be the health and concern for us citizens that spurs action.”
— Michael Pearson, Englewood
Every day we publish submissions from Chicago Sun-Times readers weighing in on issues facing the city and its residents. Send letters to letters@suntimes.com or reply to this email to share your perspective.
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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week

A weekly overview of opinions, analysis and commentary on issues affecting Chicago, Illinois and our nation by outside contributors, Sun-Times readers and the CST Editorial Board.

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