Operating an Essential and Non Essential Business – Under Illinois Executive Order 2020-10

On Friday, March 20, 2020, JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois, acting pursuant to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, issued Executive Order 2020-10 (the “Order”), requiring all Illinois residents to stay at home, except as may be permitted under the Order.  All Non-essential business and operations were required to cease, except for certain Minimum Basic Operations, and all Essential Business and Operations were encouraged to remain open.  All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit were prohibited with limited exception, and gatherings of ten or more people inside a home were banned.  All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, from playgrounds to country clubs were also ordered to close. All travel, other than Essential Travel and travel related to Essential Activities was also banned. The Order was put in place to help curb the spread of Covid-19, a worldwide pandemic that is quickly spreading throughout the United States and the State of Illinois.

While the Order starts by telling you everything that you cannot do, the balance of the Order then lays out all of the exceptions to the rule for individuals and businesses.  For those of you who are already dying to get out of the house, there are several “Essential Activities” that will allow you to leave your home, including the following:

  •  Health & Safety. Trips for health and safety, including trips for medical supplies, medication,  doctor visits, and even trips to the vet for your pet;
  •  Household Essentials. Trips for necessary supplies and services, such as groceries, food, household consumer products, and trips to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of your residence;
  •  Exercise. Outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running, or biking, are all permitted a parks, but not play grounds are permitted;
  •  Work for Essential Businesses. Work related trips for Essential Businesses; and,
  •  Helping Others. Trips to help take care of others in need.

While many businesses are required to close, certain Essential Businesses are allowed to remain open.  These businesses include:

  •  Stores that sell groceries and medicine;
  •  Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture
  •  Organizations that provide charitable and social services;
  •  Media;
  •  Gas Stations and business needed for transportation;
  •  Financial institutions;
  •  Hardware and supply stores;
  •  Critical trades, such electricians, plumbers, painters, movers, and other businesses that provide for the maintenance of our homes and businesses;
  •  Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services;
  •  Educational institutions, but only to facilitate distance learning;
  •  Laundry services;
  •  Restaurants, but only for drive in and delivery services;
  •  Home supply stores;
  •  Businesses that supply products to help you work at home;
  •  Suppliers to Essential Businesses;
  •  Transportation companies, such as airlines, taxis, Uber, and provided that the trips are for Essential Activities;
  •  Home based healthcare;
  •  Residential facilities and shelters;
  •  Professional services such as legal services, accounting services, and insurance services, and real estate services;
  •  Day care centers for employees who are exempted from the Order;
  •  Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries;
  •  Critical labor union functions;
  •  Hotels and motels;
  •  Funeral services.

In addition, all businesses are allowed to carry out certain Minimum Basic Operations which include preserving inventory, maintaining physical plants, security, payroll, and related functions.   All businesses can also conduct activities that may be necessary to facilitate employees being able to work remotely from their home.

While businesses may operate, they are also required to take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements which include: i) maintaining a 6 foot distances from others, ii) providing hand sanitizer and sanitizing products, 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 how to continue services by phone or remotely.

These restrictions and exceptions went into effect on Saturday, March 21, at 5:00 pm and will remain in place until April 7, 2020.   We encourage every business owner to proactively communicate with their employees, customers, and stakeholders what they can and cannot do during this time to insure compliance with the Order.  You can find a complete copy of the order here:

Executive Order 2020-10

For information, on Executive Order 2020-10, please feel free to contact Steven J. Thayer at sthayer@handlerthayer.com.  Handler Thayer, LLP is considered an Essential Business under the Order and will remain open and operating with a full staff who will be operating remotely from their homes.  You may also contact any member of our staff at 312-641-2100.


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