Daywatch: Free COVID test kits are coming back

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Good morning, Chicago.

The Biden administration announced yesterday that it is providing $600 million in funding to produce new at-home COVID-19 tests and is restarting a website allowing Americans to again order up to four free tests per household — aiming to prevent possible shortages during a rise in coronavirus cases that has typically come during colder months.

The Department of Health and Human Services says orders can be placed at starting next week, and that no-cost tests will be delivered for free.

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Proposal to raise Chicago’s minimum wage for tipped workers advances

Marking a victory for Mayor Brandon Johnson and fellow progressives on the City Council, a measure that would make Chicago the largest American city to independently abolish a subminimum wage for workers who get tips moved forward yesterday.

Mayor Brandon Johnson quietly signs $29 million deal with private security firm for asylum-seeker ‘base camps’

Johnson’s administration is moving forward with plans to put up migrant base camps across the city by signing a nearly $30 million contract with a private security firm at the center of controversies related to its handling of asylum-seekers elsewhere, including on behalf of GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The mayor has yet to reveal details about the timeline or locations of the camps, but the contract reveals some specifics about the tents it would assemble.

Suspect in Romeoville killings dead in car crash, passenger in critical condition, police say

A suspect in the shooting deaths of a south suburban couple and their two children has died while another is in critical condition following a fiery traffic crash in Oklahoma, Romeoville police said.

Jeep maker Stellantis makes new contract offer as auto workers prepare to expand their strike

General Motors and Stellantis announced fresh layoffs Wednesday that they blamed on damage from the United Auto Workers strike, and the labor standoff grew more tense just two days before the union was expected to call for new walkouts.

Bears QB Justin Fields makes a bold vow

If you were looking for a case-in-point moment to demonstrate why Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields seems to be playing, in his own words, “robotic” to begin his third NFL season, it came late in the first half Sunday, writes Dan Wiederer.

Column: ‘Royalization’ of the White Sox is full steam ahead

Whenever Chris Getz hears Lorde sing “We could be Royals,” he must feel compelled to sing along at the top of his lungs, writes Paul Sullivan.

On his first day as Chicago White Sox general manager, Getz revealed manager Pedro Grifol, his former coach with the Kansas City Royals, would be retained.

Great concert films? As we wait for the Taylor Swift movie, here are some highlights of the genre — one’s in theaters right now

All you need is two concert films to make a strong case for the vitality of the genre, writes critic Michael Phillips.

‘Young Love’ review: An Oscar-winning short becomes an animated series on Max

Nearly dialogue-free, the Oscar-winning, six-minute 2019 animated short “Hair Love” from Matthew A. Cherry was inspired by videos on social media of Black fathers caring for their children’s hair, writes critic Nina Metz. With the new series “Young Love,” Cherry has expanded that premise to focus on the close-knit family at the story’s center with a 12-episode animated comedy for Max.

Column: In the wake of the Lauren Boebert incident, how do we behave in the theater?

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert’s infractions included vaping inside the theater (cough); mutual groping with her date (take it outside!); selfies with the flash on (a hard no); and singing along with the cast (at least wait for the “Mamma Mia!” tour). Other infractions that night allegedly include Boebert’s straight-faced use of the phrase “Do you know who I am?” — a line yet to be delivered, on a stage, a screen or in life, by a single sympathetic character.

Is theater etiquette on its last legs? Two former theater critics offer a few of their experiences and offer some ground rules we might try now and then. For old times’ sake.

Enjoy summer’s end Italian style at these 5 Chicago restaurants

Each one of Italy’s 20 regions has its own late-summer specialties that you can explore right here in Chicago.