Illinois Governor Pritzker Issues Shelter in Place Order

On March 20, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10, which takes effect at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, and lasts through at least April 7, 2020.

Update: On April 30, 2020, the Illinois Governor issued Executive Order 2020-32, which modified the Shelter-in-Place order described below effective May 1, 2020. Similar to the Shelter-in-Place, this new order allows residents to leave their home for essential activities, which now includes engaging in the free exercise of religion. It also expands the definition of “Minimum Basic Operations” and allows certain non-essential businesses to re-open for limited purposes and subject to social distancing requirements. In addition, the new order requires individuals over the age of two and medically able to tolerate a face covering to wear a face covering when in public indoor spaces as well as in other public spaces when they are unable to maintain a six-foot social distance.

Pursuant to the order:

  • all individuals must stay at their place of residence unless subject to a specific exception;
  • public and private gatherings outside of a household unit, including any gathering of more than ten people, are prohibited, unless subject to a specific exception;
  • all travel except “Essential Travel” and travel relating to “Essential Activities” is prohibited;
  • all businesses except “Essential Businesses and Operations” are required to cease all activities except “Minimum Basic Operations” or work from home;
  • when outside their residence for any reason, all individuals must maintain social distancing consistent with the order’s prescribed “Social Distancing Requirements”; and
  • all Illinois law enforcement will cease enforcement of residential eviction orders.

The intent of the order is to ensure maximum self-isolation to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible, while enabling essential services to continue. Certain specific requirements of, and exceptions to, the order are described in further detail below.

“Social Distancing Requirements”

Pursuant to the order, all individuals are required to adhere to the following Social Distancing Requirements when outside of their homes:

  • maintain at least six feet of distance from other individuals;
  • wash hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or use hand sanitizer;
  • cover coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands);
  • regularly clean high-touch surfaces; and
  • do not shake hands.

In addition, Essential Businesses and Operations and businesses engaged in Minimum Basic Operations must take proactive measures to comply with the Social Distancing Requirements, including, where possible:

  • designating with signage, tape, or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance;
  • having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers;
  • implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and
  • posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.

Individual Exceptions – “Essential Activities” and “Essential Travel”

Notwithstanding the travel restrictions imposed by the order, individuals may leave their residence to perform the following Essential Activities:

  • to engage in activities for health and safety;
  • to obtain necessary supplies and services;
  • for outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements;
  • to perform work providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or Minimum Basic Operations; and
  • to care for a family member, friend or pet.

Additionally, Essential Travel is permitted by the order. This includes any travel:

  • related to Essential Activities, Essential Businesses or Operations, Minimum Basic Operations, or any government agency or subdivision need to support the health, safety and welfare of the public;
  • to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons;
  • to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, receiving meals, and related services;
  • travel or return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction;
  • travel required by law enforcement or court order, including transportation of children pursuant to a custody arrangement; and
  • non-resident travel to return to a residence outside Illinois.

The order expressly permits travel into or out of Illinois to maintain Essential Businesses and Operations and Minimum Basic Operations.

Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from the “stay at home” directive, and individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe (such as victims of domestic violence) are permitted to leave their home to stay at a safe alternative location. Hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters and similar facilities are considered a residence for purposes of the order.

Business Exceptions – “Essential Businesses and Operations” and “Minimum Basic Operations”

Essential Businesses and Operations are encouraged to remain open, but must comply with the Social Distancing Requirements; these include the following:

  • services relating to the delivery of public health and healthcare, such as hospitals and pharmacies, but specifically excluding fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and similar facilities;
  • services relating to human services, such as long-term care facilities and certain child care facilities;
  • services necessary to provide essential government functions;
  • services necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair essential infrastructure;
  • stores that sell groceries and medicine;
  • food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture;
  • organizations that provide charitable and social services;
  • media;
  • gas stations and businesses needed for transportation;
  • financial institutions;
  • hardware and supply stores;
  • critical trades such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, janitorial staff, moving and relocation services, etc.;
  • mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services;
  • educational institutions for purposes of facilitating distance learning, critical research or essential functions;
  • laundry services;
  • restaurants for consumption off-premises;
  • businesses that provide supplies to work from home;
  • businesses that provide supplies or materials necessary to operate other Essential Business and Operations;
  • transportation services necessary for Essential Activities;
  • home-based care and services;
  • residential facilities and shelters;
  • professional services;
  • day care centers for employees exempted from the order;
  • manufacturing companies, distributors and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services used by other Essential Businesses and Operations;
  • critical labor union functions;
  • hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services; and
  • funeral services.

Businesses that do not qualify as an Essential Business or Operation are nevertheless permitted to engage in operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities from home, as well as the following Minimum Basic Operations, so long as employees comply with the Social Distancing Requirements to the extent possible:

  • the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; and
  • the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

Finally, the order does not apply to the United States government, and the order does not prohibit individuals from performing or accessing essential governmental functions.

Compliance Issues

The order may be enforced by state and local law enforcement pursuant to authority under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305. Individuals and businesses who have a need to engage in travel or other activities following the effectiveness of the order must be aware of, and make necessary arrangements to comply with, all of its requirements.

The full text of the order is available here.

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Lewis Rice has formed a COVID-19 Task Force which brings together subject matter authorities from various practice areas within the Firm who stand ready to assist our clients as they navigate these challenging and evolving issues. If you need assistance with compliance, please contact one of the authors above or your regular Lewis Rice attorney. We stand ready to assist our clients as they navigate these challenging and evolving issues, and will continue to monitor the various legal and other developments that may impact their operations.