Things You Can Still Do During Illinois’ ‘Stay-At-Home’ Order

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order to limit the risk of the spread of COVID-19 to Illinois residents remains in place. Beginning May 1, a modified version will go into effect and run through May 30.

Some new changes include reopening state parks with limited use and adding new essential businesses such as garden centers and greenhouses. But what exactly does this mean? Here, we’ve broken down what this order is and what it allows.

Keeping safe

The goal of the “stay-at-home” order is exactly how it sounds – to keep people indoors and away from one another.

The idea is to “flatten the curve,” or reduce the projected number of people that will contract coronavirus, so as not to overwhelm state hospitals and medical providers with a huge influx of sick people.

Under this order, you and your family should stay inside as much as possible. If you do need to go out, you should follow the CDC’s guidelines to:

    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
    • Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose and mouth
    • Keep at least six feet away from others not in your family
    • Stay home as much as possible
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public (not recommended for kids under 2).

Face coverings

Beginning on May 1, individuals in Illinois are required to wear a mask or face covering at indoor and outdoor public places where they can’t practice social distancing. This requirement applies to individuals (ages 2 and older) who are able to medically tolerate a face covering. Essential businesses will be required to provide face coverings to all employees.

What is considered “essential” 

According to the order, some of these businesses exempt from the “stay at home” order include:

    • Hospitals and health care
    • Law enforcement, public safety, first responders
    • Grocery stores and pharmacies
    • Restaurants (pick-up, delivery and drive-thru only)
    • Liquor stores
    • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
    • Media
    • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
    • Banks
    • Hardware and supply stores
    • Post offices and shipping services
    • Laundry services
    • Public transportation
    • Airports
    • Day care centers (for employees exempted by the executive order)
    • Hotels
    • Funeral services

Beginning May 1, the following businesses will also be considered essential and may reopen:

    • Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries
    • Animal grooming services
    • Non-essential retail stores (for telephone and online orders only)

While working, employers and employees must still adhere to the requirements of social distancing.

    • Restricting the number of workers on the premises and allowing employees to work from home as much as possible
    • Keep workers at least six feet apart
    • Increase cleaning standards
    • Adopt policies to prevent sick workers from coming in

What you’re allowed

The order allows:

    • Outdoor activities like hiking, walking, running and biking, maintaining six feet from anyone outside your household.
    • Grocery shopping, picking up take-out food, buying medicine, seeking medical or dental care.
    • Care for a family member or a family member’s pet in another household, minors, dependents, the elderly, people with disabilities or other vulnerable people.
    • Go to a hospital to visit the sick, while adhering to hospital rules.
    • Work or volunteer for a business that provides food, shelter or other needs for economically disadvantaged people or other individuals in need, such as people with disabilities.

Beginning May 1, the following modifications will be added:

    • Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pickup of necessary supplies or student belongings. This includes dormitory move-outs.

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This article originally published on March 26, 2020. It has been updated with the most recent information. 

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