Less than three weeks ago, I wrote a blog regarding why employers needed to be prepared for the reality that the Corona COVID – 19 virus could shut down business. At that time, there had only been two confirmed Illinois cases – three weeks later, Illinois has over 1,000 known cases of COVID 19s, the Governor has issued a “shelter in place” order for all non-essential workers, and employers are forced to face a reality that their workplace and workforce may never look the same.
Illinois employers need to Review the Shelter in Place Order. Signed by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on March 20, 2020, Executive Order in Response to Covid-19 (Covid-19 Excutive Order No. 8) provides strict regulation of what employers can and cannot do, between March 21, 2020 and, currently extending through April 7, 2020.
Illinois’ Shelter in Place Order Limits Work to Essential Employees
All Illinois residents whose occupation has not been deemed “essential” by public health officials are to no longer report to work. Employers have the obligation to notify workers about their status if they’re given that designation. Essential employees include:
- Healthcare and Public Health Operations: hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities; healthcare manufacturers and suppliers; blood banks; licensed medical cannabis facilities; reproductive health care providers; eye care centers; home healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use providers; ancillary healthcare services; biotech companies; manufacturers of medical equipment and supportive services; and veterinary care. Expressly excluded are fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and similar facilities.
- Human Services Operations: all providers funded by DHS, DCFS or Medicaid; long-term care facilities; home-based and residential settings for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with disabilities or mental illness; transitional facilities; field offices for food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services or rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services and other necessities of life for needy individuals
- Essential Infrastructure: food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical; distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems
- Essential Governmental Functions; all first responders including contractors.
- Essential business and Operations:
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine
- Food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture
- Organizations that provide charitable and social services
- Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
- Financial institutions
- Hardware and supply stores
- Critical trades, including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers that maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations
- Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
- Educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions
- Laundry services
- Restaurants for consumption off-premises
- Supplies to work from home
- Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
- Transportation, for purposes of Essential Travel
- Home-based care and services
- Residential facilities and shelters
- Professional services, including legal, accounting, insurance, or real estate services.
- Day care centers for employees exempted by the executive order (these are very restrictive limitations
- Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries, including pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemical and sanitation, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel, fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications and products used for other essential businesses.
- Critical labor union functions
- Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services
- Funeral services
Illinois’ Shelter in Place Limits the Amount of Essential Work
Under Illinois’ Shelter in Place order, the above operations are only for providing minimum basic operations.
Illinois’ Shelter in Place Order Requires Essential Employees Still Exercise Social Distancing When Possible
Employees must be able to and comply with the social distancing rules whenever possible. Social Distancing is including maintaining a minimum of six-feet social distance from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow) regularly cleaning high-touched surfaces, and no shaking hands.
Illinois’ Shelter in Place Limits Travel
Travel must be limited to only “essential travel” and must still comply with the social distancing rules.
Illinois Employers Best Practice
Employers need to familiarize themselves with what can and cannot be under the Shelter in Place and take immediate steps to assure they are in full compliance with the law.
Illinois Courts are Taking Covid 19 Precautions
Most Illinois courts have temporarily extended deadlines and court hearing in the interest of protecting the public. McKenna Storer is monitoring all court deadlines and current extensions in place. McKenna Storer is still handling many court matters that are not extended. If you have questions regarding any current matter or court extensions, please contact McKenna Storer
McKenna Storer is complying with this Shelter in Place Order
While the Illinois Order provides an exception for legal professionals, such as attorneys, to go into their office, McKenna attorneys, paralegals and staff are able to work remotely while still providing full service to its clients. In the interest of protecting other employees and Illinois citizen as a whole, we are Sheltering in Place when possible but are still able handle all legal matter.
If you have any questions regarding your sick-day policies, contact Kristin Tauras at McKenna Storer. firstname.lastname@example.org