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Friday, May 1, 2020

Governor Issues New Disaster Proclamation & Stay at Home Order for May

There was a lot of action late yesterday by the Illinois Governor's Office that will be of interest to Illinois residents and local governments, including the issuance of a new disaster proclamation, stay at home order, and reissuance of previous executive orders. We have summarized some of the key points below, but you will want to read through the new stay at home order for information about the new state-wide face covering requirement that begins today (May 1st). Links to the documents are in the section titles.

On March 9, 2020, and then again on April 1, 2020, the Governor declared all counties in the state of Illinois a disaster area. Yesterday, the Governor issued his third Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation declaring the state a disaster area. The proclamation was issued pursuant to the Governor's powers under the Illinois Emergency Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305/7, and  remains in effect for 30 days.

We reported last week on the Governor's intention to extend and modify his previous executive order that required Illinois residents to "stay home" except for essential business and operations, essential government functions, essential activities, and essential travel. Yesterday, the Governor signed Executive Order 2020-32 extending his previous stay at home order but modifying certain provisions to allow some non-essential businesses and activities to proceed with restrictions and supplementing the order with new requirements for face coverings. 

We have summarized some of the key provisions in this blog post but encourage everyone to read through the actual order to make sure you and your local government officials and employees understand the new requirements for workplace safety, including social distancing and face coverings. 

Section 1. Public Health Requirements for Persons Leaving their Homes

Face covering requirement

All persons over the age of 2 who are medically able to tolerate a face covering (a mask or cloth face covering) must cover their nose and mouth when in a public place and unable to maintain a six foot social distance. Face coverings are required in public indoor spaces such as stores.

Obligations of employers

  • Employers must provide employees with appropriate face coverings and require employees to wear them when maintaining a six-foot social distance is not possible at all times.
  • Employers must provide other PPE if work circumstances require it.
  • Employers are encouraged to facilitate remote work from home when possible. 
  • Employers that have employees physically reporting to work must post the IDPH and IAG guidance regarding workplace safety. 
  • Employers must provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing products.
Retail stores have additional obligations, such as designating six foot spaces for employees and customers in line, providing face coverings to all employees who cannot maintain six foot social distance, capping occupancy at 50% or the occupancy limit set by DCEO, make aisles one-way where practicable, discontinue the use of reusable bags, and post signage. 

Manufacturers also have additional obligations to increase workplace safety, including staggering shifts, providing face coverings, reducing line speeds, etc.

Section 2. Stay at Home; Social Distancing; Essential Businesses and Operations

The previous provisions requiring persons to stay at home unless engaging in essential business, activities, functions or travel remain in effect for the month of May, with a few changes, some of which are discussed below.

Essential Businesses or Operations

  • Non-essential businesses can now open for curb-side or delivery services.
  • Pet grooming is now an essential business.
  • Nurseries and garden centers are now essential businesses.

Essential Government Functions

We continue to receive a lot of questions about local government operations and what functions are permitted during the stay at home order. The Governor's stay at home order, as extended by the April 30 order, authorizes units of local government (such as municipalities, counties, townships, park districts, libraries, and others) to determine for themselves what government functions are "essential." That means that each unit of local government must decide for itself what government activities or functions will continue and which will cease temporarily while the stay at home order is in place.

It is important to note that there are a few activities that the Governor has expressly called out as either permitted or not permitted under the stay at home order. For example, the Governor has expressly stated that playgrounds, water parks, carnivals, zoos, museums, and a variety of other places of amusement must remain closed during the stay at home order. The Governor has not distinguished between these activities provided by governments or by private industry. 

The Governor has also called out golfing, fishing, and boating (with restrictions) as now being permitted.

Finally, the Governor issued Executive Order 2020-33 yesterday reissuing a number of his previous executive orders. Of interest to local governments, is the reissuance of Executive Order No. 2020-07 which suspended certain requirements of the Open Meetings Act regarding remote participation in meetings. The order also reissued previous orders addressing annual township meetings, school closures, notary and witness guidelines, and many other previously issued executive orders.


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