What this “Stay at Home Order” means for you


ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Governor J.B. Pritzker has issued an executive order mandating Illinois residents only leave their home for health and safety reasons and that nonessential businesses must shut down in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 across the state.

The announcement of the Stay At Home order comes in the wake of another COVID-19 related death in Illinois, this time of a woman in her 70s from Cook County.

In total, the state has 585 confirmed cases of coronavirus — up 163 from Thursday.

Per the executive order announced during a Friday press conference, the only reasons people should leave home are for health and safety reasons, grabbing supplies or services that are absolutely necessary, outdoor activities like walking or running, caregiving and, in some cases, heading to work. 

“We are doing all that we can to maintain as much normalcy as possible while taking the steps we must to protect our residents,” Pritzker said. “I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving their livelihoods.  But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood without a life. This will not last forever, but it’s what we must do to support the people on the front lines of this fight, and the people most vulnerable to its consequences.”

The governor on Friday also mandated that nonessential businesses across the state must shut down. 

The executive order describes essential businesses like those of grocery stores; healthcare organizations; nonprofits like food pantries or those that help “economically disadvantaged” people and people with disabilities; news media; gas stations; banks, consumer lenders and other financial institutions; hardware and supply stores that sell electrical, plumbing and heating goods; professional services like those of lawyers and accountants; transportation services – both public and private – from airlines, taxis and car rentals post offices and shipping companies; laundromats; restaurants who can serve food that can be carried out or delivered; daycares; hotels; funerals and manufacturing companies. 

For businesses like these that do stay open, the executive order mandates that they “take proactive measures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.” 

Among those requirements are designated six-foot distances between customers and employees; having hand sanitizer and other products readily available for employees and customers; separate operating hours for elderly or otherwise “vulnerable” customers and posting online whether the doors are open and whether services are available in-person or remotely. 

Daycares are not considered essential businesses and are also being closed; state officials are working on a new Emergency Child Care Center license in the meantime that would allow smaller groups of children to be served.

Schools, while still operating remotely, will also remain closed until the executive order expires.

The order also prohibits people from “non-essential travel.” Essential travel, per the order, is that for caregiving, returning home, going to or from a school, travel required by court order or travel related to essential government functions. 

Because the order requires Illinoians to stay home, it also includes a provision that evictions across the state cannot be enforced for the duration of the order, which is currently slated to begin on Saturday, March 21, and end on April 7.

You can read that full order below.

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