In an effort to “slow and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order (the Order) on March 20, 2020. The Order became effective at 5 p.m. on March 21, 2020 and will continue through at least April 7, 2020. Like those of other states, the Order generally requires individuals to remain at their homes subject to certain exceptions. Here are the key points for Illinois businesses.
All “businesses and operations” are required to cease all activities in Illinois, with the exception of (a) “Essential Businesses and Operations” and (b) “Minimum Basic Operations.” Illinois companies may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees working from home. Essential Businesses and Operations are “encouraged” to remain open. If open, they are required to comply with “Social Distancing Requirements” to the extent feasible.
What Are “Essential Businesses and Operations”?
Essential Businesses and Operations are categorized as follows:
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine
- Includes stores that sell both grocery and nongrocery products
- Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture
- Includes licensed cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers
- Organizations that provide charitable and social services
- Includes religious and secular nonprofit organizations when providing food, shelter and social services
- Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
- Includes auto supply/auto repair and bicycle shops and related facilities
- Financial institutions
- Includes banks, currency exchanges, lenders and related institutions
- Hardware and supply stores
- Critical trades
- Includes security staff, certain cleaning services and other functions
- Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
- Educational institutions
- For the purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research or performing essential functions so long as social distancing is maintained
- The Order is explicitly consistent with other Executive Orders closing schools, except that they are now ordered closed through at least April 7, 2020.
- Laundry services
- Restaurants for consumption off-premises
- The Order is consistent with the previous Executive Order closing bars and restaurants for on-site consumption, except that it is extended through April 7, 2020.
- Supplies to work from home
- Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
- For companies that sell, manufacture or supply necessary materials to other Essential Businesses and Operations
- Includes private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for activities permitted under this Order
- Home-based care and services
- Residential facilities and shelters
- Professional services
- Includes legal services, accounting services, insurance services and real estate services
- Day care centers for employees exempted by this Order
- See here for an amended definition of “day care center” and licensing requirements
- Manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries
- Includes manufacturers, distributors and supply chain companies providing and supplying “essential products and services” in and for multiple industries
- Critical labor union functions
- Hotels and motels
- Funeral services
Note as well that Essential Businesses and Operations appears to include and expand upon the list of workers identified by the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency as “Critical Infrastructure Workers,” which can be found here.
What Other Types of Businesses May Stay Open?
Essential Businesses and Operations are defined to also include the following:
- Health Care and Public Health Operations
- This is broadly construed to include hospitals, clinics, dental offices, pharmacies and other health care facilities/providers and ancillary health care services, but excludes fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors or similar facilities.
- Human Services Operations
- This is broadly construed to include providers funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, or Medicaid and other operations. For a more detailed list of included facilities, see here.
- Essential Government Functions
- This includes court personnel, first responders, emergency management personnel and the like, as well as related contractors.
- Essential Infrastructure
- This is broadly construed and includes but is not limited to:
- Food production, distribution and sale
- Building management and maintenance
- Airport operations
- Operation and maintenance of utilities
- Distribution centers
- Oil and biofuel refining
- Roads, highways, railroads and public transportation
- Cybersecurity operations
- Flood control
- Solid waste and recycling collection and removal
- Internet, video and telecommunications systems
What Are Minimum Basic Operations?
Minimum Basic Operations include the following, provided “to the extent possible,” employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements:
- Minimum activities necessary to maintain inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical location, ensure security, process payroll/benefits or “related functions”
- Minimum activities necessary to facilitate employees working remotely
What Is “Social Distancing”?
Proper social distancing includes the following:
- Maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals
- Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer
- Covering coughs or sneezes into the sleeve or elbow
- Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces
- Not shaking hands
Essential Businesses and Operations and businesses engaged in Minimum Basic Operations must also do the following, “where possible”:
- Designate six-foot distances with signs, tape or other means.
- Have hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers.
- Implement separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.
- Post online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.
What Does This Mean for Illinois Employees?
Individuals may leave their residences only for limited reasons, including to “perform work providing essential products and services” at Essential Businesses or Operations or to carry out Minimum Basic Operations. Thus, employees of the above entities, if performing essential products and services for these entities, or facilitating Minimum Basic Operations, may leave their homes for this work.
Illinois employers are encouraged to review the Order carefully to determine whether they may be covered as an Essential Business or Operation or otherwise may require employees to leave home for work. Employers should tread carefully and consider remote work opportunities as needed. Organizations staying in business should ensure social distancing and other similar steps are followed.
As the number of cases around the world grows, Faegre Drinker’s Coronavirus Resource Center is available to help you understand and assess the legal, regulatory and commercial implications of COVID-19.