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After nearly a month of social distancing and sheltering in place, Governor Pritzker announced that he would be extending the stay-at-home order for Illinoisans (the “Extended Order”) effective May 1, 2020. The Extended Order includes new provisions that were not included in the initial order issued on March 20, 2020. A copy of the Extended Order in its entirety can be found here.

Summary of the Extended Order

One new provision in the Extended Order mandates that any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering (a mask or cloth face-covering) cover their nose and mouth with a face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings are required to be worn in public indoor spaces, like grocery stores.

Additionally, retail stores that have been designated as Essential Businesses and Operations under the Extended Order (including, but not limited to, stores that sell groceries and medicine, hardware stores, and greenhouses, garden centers, and nurseries) must provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times. These Essential Businesses must also cap occupancy at 50% and maintain one-way aisles where practicable in order to maintain a minimum of six-foot social distance. These businesses must also communicate social distancing requirements through in-store signage and discontinue the use of reusable bags.

Retail stores not designated as Essential Businesses and Operations may re-open for the limited purposes of fulfilling telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery. Employees at these stores must wear a face covering when they may come within six feet of another employee or customer.

Manufacturers must continue to operate using social distancing requirements and take appropriate precautions, which may include:

  • providing face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times;
  • staggering shifts;
  • reducing line speeds;
  • operating only essential lines, while shutting down non-essential lines;
  • ensuring that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing; and
  • downsizing operations to the extent necessary to allow for social distancing and to provide a safe workplace in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

All businesses must continually evaluate those employees who are able to work remotely and are encouraged to facilitate remote work. The Extended Order also mandates that businesses that have employees physically reporting to a work-site must post the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency. The guidance can be found here.

All travel, outside of travel for Essential Travel and Essential Activities, remains prohibited. Essential Activities still include some forms of work, obtaining necessary supplies and services, to engage in actives that are essential to health and safety, caring for others and engaging in outdoor activity while maintaining social distancing. Notably, fishing, boating, and golf are now permitted (when following the guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity), but playgrounds are to remain closed.

The Extended Order includes engaging in the free exercise of religion as an Essential Activity. However, religious organizations and houses of worship are still encouraged to use online or drive-in services to protect the health and safety of their congregants.

The Extended Order also added greenhouses, garden centers, and tree nurseries to its list of Essential Business.

Legal Attacks on the Extended Order

The Extended Order has been met with multiple adverse reactions including many lawsuits. Darren Bailey, a state representative from Clay County, filed a lawsuit alleging that Governor Pritzker superseded his authority by extending the stay-at-home order. Local state representative, John Cabello, filed a similar lawsuit on April 29, 2020. He filed suit on behalf of himself and similarly situated Illinois citizens.

Finally, The Beloved Church in Lena, Illinois filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Pritzker after receiving cease and desist letters for public gatherings. The lawsuit alleges that the cease and desist letters, among other actions by local authorities, demonstrate prejudicial application of the Extended Order. However, Judge John Lee denied The Beloved Church’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order stating that the Extended Order was constitutional.

We will continue to monitor any changes on the Extended Order and other COVID-19 related matters. Please contact us with any questions you might have. We are here to help you make it through these challenging times.

The blog published by Reno & Zahm LLP is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.

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