Illinois Governor Imposes "Stay at Home Order" for All Non-Essential Businesses beginning March 21, 2020

Date   Mar 20, 2020

In an effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that as of 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, all non-essential businesses in Illinois will be required to close through April 7, 2020. These restrictions follow the earlier restrictions announced closing all schools in Illinois, and closing all bars, restaurants (except for take-out and delivery), and limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people.

With Executive Order 2020-10/ COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8 (, all other non-essential businesses are required to close, including fitness centers/gyms, shopping malls, casinos, museums, zoos, aquariums, play centers, bowling alleys, movie theaters, concert and music halls, country clubs, and social clubs. Most Illinois (state and federal) courts are closed to public access, but electronic filing is still available.

What activities are allowed?

Importantly, individuals will still be allowed to leave their homes to seek essential services (grocery shopping, medical treatment, etc.), travel to places of employment that have been deemed “essential,” go for walks and runs and generally recreate (keeping social distancing procedures in place), care for others, and drive on all Illinois roads (including highways and tollways).

What is an “essential” business in Illinois?

Businesses deemed to be “essential” and allowed to remain open are extensive, and below is a non-exhaustive list.

  • Hospitals/Medical Providers (physicians, dentists, mental health professionals, nurses, etc.) and pharmacies
  • Grocery stores, food banks, convenience stores and other establishments engaged in retail sale of foods, pet supplies, and other household consumer products such as cleaning and personal care products
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation (which includes service at auto dealerships, as well as sales at auto dealerships on an appointment-only basis. Showrooms must remain closed.)
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Restaurants and facilities that prepare food (for consumption off-site)
  • Banks/financial institutions
  • News media (newspapers, television, radio and other media services)
  • Veterinarians
  • Critical trades, including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, security, cleaning and janitorial staff
  • Garbage collection
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes
  • Educational institutions for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions
  • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
  • Businesses that provide supplies for “Essential Businesses and Operations”
  • Airlines, taxis and other private transportation providers
  • Home-based care and services for seniors, adults, children, and people with disabilities
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, children, and people with disabilities
  • Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, real estate services
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in the Order to work as permitted (with limitations).
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries, including pharmaceutical ,technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, and any other products 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
  • Funeral services
  • To provide any services or perform any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of “Essential Infrastructure,” including construction, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, cybersecurity, and telecommunications systems
  • "Essential Governmental Functions" including all services needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public

Small Business Assistance

On March 19, 2019, Governor Pritzker also announced some relief plans being offered to small and medium business, including the deferral of sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small and medium-sized bars and restaurants (those that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year). Governor Pritzker also announced the availability of low interest disaster loans of up to $2 million for small businesses,

If you have any questions regarding this Alert, please contact the author, Kimberly Ross,, or the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.

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