COVID-19 Government Mandates and Guidance

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Originally published March 2020; Updated 12/2/2020 6:22 PM CT

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Guidance Resources by Data

Archived Summary of Illinois Mandates and Guidance Relating to COVID-19: March through July 2020

Summary of Illinois Mandates and Guidance Relating to COVID-19

March 2020

Illinois Gov. Pritzker announced on March 19 that he was issuing a stay-at-home executive order (IL EO 10 / COVID-19 EE 8) to go into effect the evening of Saturday, March 20, 2020. To help answer questions about what businesses and organizations are considered essential, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (Illinois DCEO) released an Essential Businesses & Operations document. This document answers questions such as "What businesses and operations are considered essential?" and "My business is not considered an 'Essential Business,' does this order require the business to shut down my facility?" Libraries of central and southern Illinois asked IHLS for more guidance as to if the stay-at-home order means libraries must close, leading library attorney Phil Lenzini to draft a response to IHLS-member libraries' questions.

April 2020

On April 6, the governor's office released guidance for libraries, giving their answer as to whether or not libraries are essential. They state: "As most libraries are a function of government, Executive Order 10, as extended by Executive Order 18, leaves it up to each governmental body to determine what governmental functions are essential. Libraries should confirm with their municipality whether they are required to close. Libraries that remain open should practice safe social distancing or limit interactions with the public. For more guidance, please contact DCEO at 1-800-252-2923 or" Illinois DCEO released an Update to its Essential Businesses & Operations FAQs 3 days later.

Gov. Pritzker announced an extension with modifications of the stay-at-home order on April 23, to be signed April 30 as Illinois Executive Order 2020-32 and to in effect May 1-29, 2020. IHLS and RAILS immediately consulted the organizations' respective attorneys and came to different conclusions: RAILS' attorney guidance, based on the Governor's Office press brief and press release, and IHLS' attorney guidance, based on the pre-filing draft of the 4/30/2020 executive order. Additionally, Executive Order 2020-33 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 31 reissues Illinois executive orders 3 through 31, extending most provisions through May 29.

May 2020

The Governor's administration's plan to reopen Illinois, titled Restore Illinois, was released on May 5, 2020. Based on recommendations by Illinois Department of Health and a team of epidemiologists and health experts, the plan groups pre-established emergency response hospital regions into 4 main regions, including Northern Illinois, North Central Illinois, Central Illinois, and Southern Illinois. According to this plan, all four regions began Phase II on May 1, 2020. If one or more regions meet certain milestones then they would be allowed to proceed to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. On May 29, all 4 regions moved to Phase 3, and Executive Order 2020-38 was signed. At this point, some public libraries reopened for curbside service. (Note: Some libraries also opened for inside service in May, and a small number never closed their doors at all.) On June 26, the Governor's office announced that all four Restore Illinois regions met the health metrics required for those regions to move to Phase 4: Revitalization. Phase 4 would allow the reopening of several business segments, including museums and zoos, movie theaters, and fitness centers, as well as the resuming of indoor dining. All regions moved into Phase 4 on May 31, 2020.

June 2020

According to the Reopening Illinois Public Libraries survey results, conducted by IHLS, a large percentage of IHLS-member libraries planned to reopen on June 1—most only for curbside service but also many for inside service. Another large percentage planned to reopen in some fashion on another day in June.

July 2020

On July 2, the Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner issued an Emergency Travel Order. This order requires those entering Chicago from COVID "hot spot" states to quarantine for 14-days. The local emergency order applies to both residents returning to Chicago and travelers entering Chicago, although exceptions are made for residents whose physical presence in a state on the list is required for work purposes and for non-residents whose physical presence in Chicago is required for work purposes. The Order went into effect on Monday July 6 and included 15 states. Additional states were added later: two more effective July 17, including neighboring Iowa; one more effective July 24; and four more effective July 31, including neighboring Missouri. Some other state organizations adopted a similar or mirror policy for employee travel, including Illinois Heartland Library System.

On July 16, Gov. Pritzker announced that the four Restore Illinois regions were being changed to 11 smaller regions, effective immediately. This move reportedly came about due to the state's and regions' improved abilities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 11-region COVID-19 resurgence criteria and metrics, as well as metrics by county, can be tracked on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

Archived Guidance Resources


Original Restore Illinois 4-Region Plan: A Public Health Approach to Safely Reopening Our State (5/5/20) — A 5-phase, 4-region plan to reopen Illinois [INFOGRAPHIC]

Response from IHLS Attorney Lenzini Regarding Questions about Illinois' 'Modified' Stay-at-Home Order Announcement (4/24/20) — A legal opinion based on the pre-filing draft of the announced executive order

Initial guidance from RAILS’ attorney on modified Stay at Home Order (4/24/20) — A second legal opinion based on Gov. Pritzker's 4/23/20 press briefing and press release

Essential Businesses & Operations Frequently Asked Questions UPDATED 4/9/20 — (4/9/20) A document developed by the Illinois Department of Commerce as an update to the original document.

Governor's Office Daily COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (4/6/20) — Includes guidance for libraries regarding the question of if they are essential (see page 4)

Essential Businesses & Operations — A document developed by the Illinois Department of Commerce. This document answers questions such as "What businesses and operations are considered essential?" and "My business is not considered an 'Essential Business,' does this order require the business to shut down my facility?"

Response from Attorney Phil Lenzini Regarding Libraries' Questions about Illinois' 3/20/20 Stay-at-Home Order (3/26/20) — IHLS's attorney's responses to questions regarding essential services, managing staff, paying staff, and the Protected Families First Coronavirus Response Act.


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Open Meetings Act

Have additional questions about OMA compliance? Contact the Public Access Officer for the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

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Employment Issues

Please see these other essential documents and guidance:

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Illinois COVID-Related Proclamations & Orders

>>> Illinois Disaster Proclamations: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response —  View all of the State of Illinois disaster proclamations regarding the pandemic; most proclamations are available in English, Arabic, Polish, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, and Tagalog


Archived Illinois COVID Disaster Proclamations and Executive Orders with Key Points: March through July 2020

Executive Orders and Key Points for Libraries: March through July 2020

  • Executive Order Number 48 (7/24/2020)
    "REISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDERS — Reissues most executive orders, extending a majority of the provisions through August 22, 2020. Includes Executive Order 2020-30, which prohibits residential evictions."

  • Executive Order Number 47 (7/24/2020)
    "IN-PERSON LEARNING — All public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students may open for in-person learning after the regular 2019-2020 school term. All schools must follow IDPH and ISBE health guidelines, including using PPE, temperature checks, hygienic practices, social distancing, and limiting people to 50 or fewer in one space."

  • Executive Order Number 46 (7/9/2020)
    "CENSUS ADVISORY PANEL — The Census Advisory Panel shall continue to serve as an advisory board to help to ensure a complete and accurate Census count in Illinois through December 31, 2020."

  • Executive Order Number 2020-44 (6/26/2020)
    "REISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDERS — Reissues most executive orders, extending a majority of the provisions through July 26, 2020. Amends a few previous executive orders, such as EO-2020-07, in-person meeting requirements, and EO 2020-40, the resumption of limited in-person instruction at schools."
  • Executive Order Number 2020-43 (6/26/2020)
    "PHASE FOUR REOPENING — The community revitalization phase safely resumes and expands activities that were paused or limited as COVID-19 cases rose exponentially. Outlines requirements for various businesses and industries. Individuals must continue to practice social distancing and wear a face covering in public places or when working. This supersedes EO 2020-38"
  • Executive Order 2020-40 (6/4/2020)
    "LIMITED REOPENING OF SCHOOLS — All public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students may open for limited in-person educational purposes, such as summer school, after the regular 2019-2020 school term. Schools must follow IDPH guidance and all schools may continue to provide food and other non-educational services."
  • Executive Order 2020-39 (5/29/20)
    "REISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDERS — Reissues Executive Orders 2020-03 through 2020-37, extending most provisions through June 27, 2020."
  • Executive Order 2020-38 (5/29/20)
    "PHASE THREE REOPENING — Safely and conscientiously resumes activities that were paused due to COVID-19. Outlines public health requirements for individuals, businesses, retail stores, manufacturers, office buildings, restaurants and bars, gyms, personal service facilities, youth sports, and public amusement. Does not limit the free exercise of religion, and indoor services must not exceed more than 10 people. Individuals must continue to practice social distancing, maintaining at least a six-foot distance, and wear a face covering in public places or when working."
  • Executive Order 2020-33 (4/30/20)
    "REISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDERS — Reissues Executive Orders 2020-03 through 2020-31, extending most provisions through May 29, 2020."
  • Illinois Executive Order 2020-32 — (announced 4/30/20, signed 4/30/20, in effect 5/1/2020)
    "NEW STAY AT HOME ORDER This new order allows Illinoisans to leave their home for essential activities, including for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, for certain types of work, to take care of others, and to engage in the free exercise of religion, but otherwise requires them to stay at home or their place of residence to prevent spread of COVID-19. Individuals are required to wear a face covering in public places when they are unable to maintain a six-foot social distance, such as in stores. Defines essential businesses and operations. Non-essential retail stores may fulfill online and telephonic orders through pick-up outside the store or delivery."
  • Pre-Filing Draft of the 4/30/2020 Executive Order (announced 4/23/2020, signed 4/30/2020, in effect 5/1/2020)
    An extension of the stay-at-home order with some modifications for retail businesses
  • Illinois Executive Order 2020-18 (4/1/2020, announced 3/31/2020)
    "An extension of the state’s disaster proclamation, requiring individuals to stay at home or their place of residence for an additional 30 days. Individuals may leave their homes only for essential activities or for essential operations. Extends the suspension of on-site learning in K-12 schools, with schools transitioning from Act of God Days to Remote Learning Days."
  • Illinois Executive Order 2020-10 (3/20/2020)
    "STAY AT HOME — All individuals must stay at home, with exceptions for essential activities, essential government functions, and essential businesses and operations. All non-essential business and operations must cease, aside from Minimum Basic Operations. Business can continue with employees working from home. Local government units across the state must halt all evictions, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited."
  • Illinois Executive Order 2020-7 ​​(3/16/2020)
    "RESTAURANTS & BARS — Beginning March 16 at 9 p.m., bars and restaurants must suspend on-premises consumption, but are permitted to continue delivery service, drive-through and curbside pick-up. Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited, including fitness centers, private clubs, and theaters." This order also suspends the provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) relating to in-person attendance by trustees and members of the public at board meetings and allows remote (audio or video) meetings to be streamed to the public.
  • Illinois Executive Order 2020-5 (3/13/2020)
    "K-12 SCHOOLS — All public and private K-12 schools must close for educational purposes; however, this will not affect the availability of school buildings to supply food for students in need."
  • Illinois Executive Order 2020-4 ​​(3/13/2020)
    "LARGE GATHERINGS — Gatherings of 1,000 or more people are prohibited, including concerts, conferences and sporting events as well as closes the James R. Thompson Center to the public, except for necessary state business."

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Federal Acts and Guidelines

Guidelines for Opening Up America Again — President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.

H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act — (3/18/2020) Public Law No: 116-127 — "This bill responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free COVID-19 testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding."

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) webinar by the Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Dept. of Labor

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DISCLAIMER: Illinois Heartland Library System does not offer medical or legal advice. Please check with your medical or legal professional before making any health or law-related decisions.

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