On March 20, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a mandatory “Stay-at-Home” Order, located here, directing all Illinois residents to stay home or at their place of residence.  The Order takes effect beginning Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CDT and will last through Tuesday, April 7, 2020.  Under this Order, all public and private gatherings occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited.  Following current guidance from the CDC, the Order prohibits any gathering of more than 10 people unless otherwise exempted.  Further, all places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, must now be closed to the public during the pendency of the Order.

 Coronavirus, Stay-at-Home

The Order further requires all non-essential business and operations to cease activity as of Saturday, March 21.  However, as with the recent restrictions in California and other states, the Order permits those employers in “Essential Infrastructure” and “Essential Businesses” to continue operations.

Some “Essential Infrastructure” and “Essential Businesses” under this Order include the following:

Essential Merchants Human Services Governmental Functions Health Services Essential Infrastructure
Stores that sell groceries and medicine Long-term care facilities Governmental entities, such as police and fire departments Pharmacies Construction
Restaurants for consumption off-premises Residential settings and shelters Educational institutions in order to facilitate distance learning Home-based care and services Waste and recycling collection and removal
Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation Transitional facilities Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services Healthcare and public health operations Airport operations, taxis, Uber/Lyft
Hardware and supply stores Day care centers for exempted employees Child protection and child welfare personnel Hospitals and clinics Operation and maintenance of utilities
Hotels and motels Rehabilitation facilities Court personnel Medical cannabis dispensaries Railroads and public transportation
Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture Businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities for economically disadvantaged individuals First responders, emergency dispatchers, and emergency management personnel. Biotechnology companies Oil and biofuel refining

If any business does not qualify as an Essential Business or Essential Infrastructure, it may only operate “Minimum Basic Operations,” which includes the minimum requirements to assist employees working remotely, to ensure payroll and benefits continue without interruption, to maintain the value of a business’s inventory, and/or to preserve the condition of a business’s plant and equipment.

The Order does not contain any penalties for non-compliance for Illinois residents or Illinois businesses.  The Order allows Illinois residents to leave their home for essential activities such as for food, gas, prescriptions, and healthcare.  Illinois residents may also leave their homes for outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running or biking, including going to public parks and outdoor recreation areas (except playgrounds).

Notably, the Order further requires Essential Businesses to take certain proactive measures in order to assure social distancing practices are met and followed within the workplace, including where possible: (i) designating with signage, tape, or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line; (ii) making hand sanitizer and other sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers; (iii) implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and (iv) posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.

Additional guidance on the Order from the Governor’s office may be found here.  The Order provides no further guidance to employers regarding other developing issues such as WARN Act notices, sick leave, or the newly enacted federal Families First Coronavirus Act.  Employers are encouraged to reach out to their Sheppard Mullin attorney with questions or for further information and guidance on these developing issues.

For more legal insights visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

*This alert is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Please contact your Sheppard Mullin attorney contact for additional information.*