On March 20, 2020, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10, invoking his powers under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to order “stay at home” measures in an effort to combat the spread of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (“COVID-19”).
Many of our business clients have asked how this Executive Order will impact their businesses and, in particular, whether they can remain open (as opposed to permitting work from home, which is allowed for all businesses). This Client Alert summarizes the Order in an effort to provide useful information when analyzing the impact on your business and whether your business can remain open. For specific questions, please reach out to one of our attorneys. Although we are working remotely, there is no disruption in our handling of all legal matters, and our attorneys and staff remain available to fully assist you with all of your legal needs.
Pursuant to the Order, effective 5:00 p.m. Central time, March 21, 2020, all businesses, other than “Essential Businesses and Operations” (defined by the Order) are required to cease all activities in the State except for “Minimum Basic Operations” (also defined by the Order).
“Essential Businesses and Operations” is defined in detail in the Order. We generally summarize each category in this Client Alert. However, to determine if your business is included in this category, please contact one of our attorneys and we will address your specific business operation directly. Essential Businesses and Operations generally include the following:
- Businesses involved in “Healthcare and Public Health Operations,” such as hospitals, clinics, dental offices, pharmacies, medical device and equipment companies, licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis cultivation centers; reproductive health care providers; eye care centers, including those that sell glasses and contact lenses; home healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use providers;
- Businesses involved in “Human Services Operations,” such as long term care facilities, residential settings and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with certain disabilities; and businesses that provide food, shelter and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals, disabled individuals, or otherwise needy individuals;
- Businesses involved in providing “Essential Infrastructure,” such as food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities; distribution centers; cybersecurity operations; flood control, and internet, video and telecommunications systems;
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine;
- Businesses involved in food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture;
- Organizations providing charitable and social services;
- Businesses engaged in media services (e.g., newspapers, television, radio);
- Gas stations and transportation businesses;
- Financial institutions;
- Hardware and supply stores;
- Critical trades, such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving, and other service providers who provide services necessary for the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences or essential businesses;
- Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services;
- Educational institutions, for the purposes of research or facilitating distance learning;
- Laundry services;
- Restaurants, for consumption off-premises only, either through delivery, drive through, pickup or carry-out;
- Businesses that sell, manufacture or supply products needed for people to work from home;
- Businesses that sell, manufacture or supply other essential businesses with the support or materials necessary to operate (e.g., computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances, etc.);
- Businesses involved in transportation, including airlines, taxis, rental services, and ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft;
- Home based care and services;
- Residential facilities and shelters;
- Professional services, such as legal, accounting, insurance or real estate services;
- Day care centers granted an emergency license to operate an emergency day care program for children of employees permitted to work by the Order;
- Manufacturing companies, distributors and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations;
- Critical labor union functions, such as the administration of health and welfare funds, and personnel checking on the wellbeing and safety of members;
- Hotels and motels; and
- Funeral services.
Businesses not classified as Essential Businesses and Operations are permitted to conduct “Minimum Basic Operations” in addition to work conducted by their employees remotely (which is expressly permitted). “Minimum Basic Operations” consist of:
- 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; and
- The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees to work remotely from home.
All businesses, whether Essential Businesses and Operations or other businesses engaged in Minimum Basic Operations, are required to take certain steps to maintain social distancing, such as encouraging personnel to maintain at least a six-foot social distancing 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 not shake hands. Businesses are also required to take the following proactive measures where possible:
- Designating (with signage, tape or by other means) six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distances;
- Having hand sanitizer readily available for employees and customers;
- Having separate operating hours for vulnerable populations;
- Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces; and
- Providing online information about whether the facility is open, how best to reach the facility, and permitting customers to continue services by phone or remotely.
As you can see from the Governor’s Order, the State is taking aggressive steps to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The dedicated professionals at Gozdecki, Del Giudice, Americus, Farkas & Brocato LLP are here to provide you with any support you need as your business navigates these challenging times. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the Governor’s Executive Order, or for any other legal matter related to your business.