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Monday, March 23, 2020

Details about Governor's Shelter in Place Order


Last week we reported on the Governor Pritzker's "Shelter in Place" Executive Order, which became effective on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Today, we wanted to provide more details about what that EO means to local governments and their officials and employees and how it may affect your operations and activities, both professionally and personally. You can access the Governor's Order on the state's website here.

What is not allowed during the effective period of the order

The general purpose of the shelter in place order is to require individuals in Illinois to stay at home  during this 17 day period, with limited exceptions. So, non-essential businesses must cease operations, non-essential activities and public and private gatherings are prohibited, places of amusement and other operations must close, and non-essential travel must stop.

What is allowed during the effective period of the order

Although the purpose of the order is to keep people at home, there are certain operations and activities that are allowed to continue with appropriate social distancing. While we have summarized some of the key details below, note that this is not an exhaustive list of the permitted activities and operations. If you have any questions about a particular operation or activity, we recommend you review the order itself and consult with your attorney.

The exceptions to the stay at home mandate are identified as follows:

1. Essential Activities
2. Essential Government Functions
3. Essential Infrastructure
4. Essential Businesses and Operations
5. Minimum Basic Operations (non-essential businesses)
6. Essential Travel

1. Essential Activities

Individuals can leave their homes to receive health care and public health services, shop for groceries and necessary supplies, engage in outdoor exercise, or care for a family member, friend or pet, as well as engage in any of the activities or operations identified below.

2. Essential Government Functions

All functions provided by the state or any local government necessary to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies or provide for or support the health, safety, and welfare of the public, and including contractors performing Essential Government Functions can continue. 
  • Each government must determine its Essential Government Functions and identify employees and contractors
  • All first responders, emergency management personnel, dispatchers, court personnel, law enforcement and corrections, hazardous materials responders, child welfare personnel, military, and other governmental employees working for or to support Essential Businesses and Operations are categorically exempt from the order
3. Essential Infrastructure

Individuals may leave their home to provide services or work to provide "essential infrastructure" which are listed in the order. For local governments, that means that employees and contractors can work on the following (not an exhaustive list):
  • public works construction
  • building management and maintenance
  • utility operations
  • road and public transportation
  • flood control
  • solid waste and recycling collection and removal, among others
4. Essential Businesses and Operations

Individuals may leave their home to provide services or work for any essential businesses and operations. The list of essential businesses is quite lengthy, so I encourage you to consult the list or with your attorney if you are unsure whether a particular business is lawfully operating.  Examples of some of these essential businesses include the following (not an exhaustive list):
  • health care and public health operations (excludes fitness centers, spas, salons, barber shops, and similar businesses)
  • grocery stores 
  • pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries
  • gas stations, auto repair (but not sales), and bike shops
  • banks and related financial institutions
  • hardware and supply stores
  • critical trades (plumbers, electricians, etc)
  • postal and other delivery services
  • laundry and dry cleaners
  • restaurants for off-premises consumption
  • supplies for work from home operations
  • transportation
  • professional services (legal, accounting, insurance, real estate)
  • day care for essential workers
  • hotels and motels
  • funeral services

5. Minimum Basic Operations (for non essential businesses)

Other businesses not identified as essential businesses in the order are required to close although employees can continue business from home. There are certain minimum basic operations, however, that are allowed during the order:
  • minimum necessary activities to maintain inventory, preserve plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or related functions
  • minimum necessary activities to facilities employees working from home
6. Essential Travel

Travel is expected to cease unless the travel is necessary to engage in one of the above permitted activities (essential activities, essential business, etc).

Enforcement

The order expressly states that state and local law enforcement agencies can enforce the order under sections 7, 18, and 18 of the IEMA Act. The order itself does not contain a penalty for violations.

While there is authority to enforce the order at the local government level, it is important to note that Governor Pritzker made it clear that he expects residents and businesses to self-regulate rather than have aggressive enforcement by the police. Most local law enforcement agencies will look to compliance by residents and businesses as the goal (meaning verbal warnings for first violations before considering fines or other penalties).

Effect on Local Authority

The order specifically reserves the right of local governments to enact stricter regulations, including quarantine or isolation orders, where appropriate or necessary.

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