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Last updated on March 21st, 2020


On March 20, 2020, Governor Pritzker announced that Illinois will issue a Shelter in Place Order starting at 5 pm on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Ever since the order has been announced (and even before then), business owners everywhere have been wondering how their business will be impacted. This is new territory for pretty much everyone and the rules for each Shelter in Place order can vary.

So for right now, we have to turn to the text of Illinois’ Shelter in Place Order.[1] We’ve summarized the rules for businesses here:


The General Rule

  1. Stay at home, except for Essential Activities or working at Essential Businesses/Operations.
  2. Shut down your business, except (a) to the extent companies use remote employees and (b) Essential Businesses/Operations. Everyone else can only do Minimum Basic Operations.


So companies with remote employees can stay open?

Yes, companies that have workers, employees, and contractors working from home can continue to have those workers, employees, and contractors work remotely. All non-remote operations need to cease, except the Minimum Basic Operations.


What are the “Essential Businesses and Operations” that can stay open?

  1. Healthcare and Public Health Operations. “Healthcare and Public Health Facilities” will be construed broadly so there are no impacts on the delivery of healthcare. These businesses include:
    1. hospitals, clinics,
    2. dental offices, eye care centers,
    3. pharmacies,
    4. mental health and substance use providers,
    5. medical cannabis dispensaries/cultivation centers,
    6. veterinarians, and
    7. certain other supporting businesses (those that compile, analyze, and communicate health information; develop/manufacture biotechnology; collect blood/necessary materials; and so on).
    8. [Note: some facilities are specifically excluded, namely, gyms, spas, barber shops, salons, and tattoo parlors]
  2. Human Service Operations. “Human Service Operations” will be construed broadly so there are no impacts on the delivery of human services. These include:
    1. long-term care facilities
    2. certain licensed childcare facilities
    3. residential settings/shelters for individuals with special needs
    4. transitional facilities
    5. home-based settings to provide special needs services
    6. field offices that provide/help determine eligibility for basic needs
    7. developmental centers
    8. adoption agencies
    9. businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals or individuals with special needs.
  1. Essential Infrastructure Businesses. “Essential Infrastructure” will be construed broadly so there are no impacts to essential infrastructure. This includes:
    1. food production, distribution, and sale
    2. construction (including, but not limited to, construction required in response to this public health emergency, hospital construction, construction of long-term care facilities,
    3. public works construction, and housing construction)
    4. building management and maintenance
    5. airport operations
    6. operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, gas, and electrical
    7. distribution centers
    8. oil and biofuel refining
    9. roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation
    10. ports
    11. cybersecurity operations
    12. flood control
    13. solid waste and recycling collection and removal
    14. internet, video, and telecommunications systems
  1. Essential Government Functions. “Essential Government Functions” means all services provided by any state or city government agency. Each agency will determine its own essential functions.
  2. Stores that sell groceries and medicine. This is somewhat broadly defined, and includes liquor stores, farm/produce stands, certified farmers’ markets, and convenience stores.
  3. Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture. This also includes animal shelters, kennels, and pet stores, as well as licensed medical and adult use cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis cultivation centers.
  4. Organizations that provide charitable and social services, like food banks
  5. Media
  6. Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, including auto repair facilities and bicycle shops
  7. Financial institutions
  8. Hardware and supply stores
  9. Critical trades, such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HV AC, painting, moving and relocation services
  10. Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  11. Educational institutions for the purpose of facilitating distance learning, performing research, or performing essential functions
  12. Laundry services
  13. Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  14. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home
  15. Businesses that support/supply other Essential Businesses and Operations, which includes firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security
  16. Transportation (including Uber and Lyft!)
  17. Home-based care and services
  18. Residential facilities and shelters
  19. Professional services (accountants, insurance, law firms)
  20. Daycare centers granted an emergency license for children of employees exempted by this Executive Order to work as permitted
  21. Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  22. Critical labor functions, like labor union essential activities
  23. Hotels and motels
  24. Funeral services

What about all of the other businesses?

If your business is not remote, and not listed as an “Essential Business”, it can only do the following:

  1. The minimum necessary to maintain the value/condition of the business’s inventory, physical plant, and equipment; ensure security; process payroll and employee benefits; or for related functions
  2. The minimum necessary to help employees work remotely from their residences


What are the requirements if we do stay open or do anything to maintain the temporarily closed business?

If your business is staying open, or if you are doing any of the permitted activities for a temporarily closed business, you need to:

  1. Designate six-foot distances with signs, tape, or other means spacing employees and customers in line
  2. Have hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers
  3. Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations
  4. Online and remote access: posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely


[1] https://www2.illinois.gov/Documents/ExecOrders/2020/ExecutiveOrder-2020-10.pdf