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Gov. JB Pritzker Orders Illinoisans to Stay at Home

Updated: May 4, 2020

On Friday, Governor JB Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10, requiring all Illinoisans to stay at home in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. We want to help you understand what that means for you. For more information, visit

When does the order take effect?

The order took effect Saturday, March 21st at 5pm CDT.

Where does the Stay at Home order apply?

The Governor’s executive order includes the entire state.

Is this mandatory or just guidance?

This order is mandatory. To help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Illinois and protect our friends, neighbors, and vulnerable populations, please stay home.

What does this order mean?

Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity, you should stay home. Illinoisans should abstain from all nonessential activities. Adhering to the order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Illinoisan to do their part.

What is an essential business?

  • Grocery stores

  • Restaurants (for takeout only)--a list of local takeout options can be found here

  • Hospitals, clinics and healthcare operations

  • Gas stations

  • Pharmacies

  • Police stations

  • Fire stations

  • Garbage/sanitation

  • Public transportation

  • Public benefits (i.e. SNAP, Medicaid) hotlines

  • A full list can be found in the executive order at

Can I leave home to exercise? Take my kid outside? Walk my dog?

Yes. Outdoor exercise like running or taking a walk, walking your dog (or pet), visit a park with your families, ride a bike are acceptable; however, exercise gyms, fitness centers and associated facilities will be closed to reduce the spread of coronavirus. State parks and playgrounds will be closed during the Stay at Home order. Trails within the Cook County Forest Preserves generally remain open, but please visit their website for specific details on closures.

Can I pick up meals being provided by my child’s school?

Yes. Schools that provide free food services to students will continue on a pick-up and take-home basis.

Can I go out to do laundry?

Yes. Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers are considered essential businesses that will remain open.

Can I continue to travel by public transit? Car? Airplane?

Traveling should be for essential needs only. Public transit in Cook County is continuing to operate, but some forms have reduced service. Please visit Pace and Metra's websites to ensure service on your transit line.

Roadways and airports in Illinois are open, but please only travel if it is essential to your work or health.

Can I visit friends and family?

For your safety, as well as the safety of those in your community, you should remain at home to help fight the spread of COVID-19. You may visit family members or friends who need medical or other essential assistance, such as ensuring an adequate supply of food.

How do I know if I should go to work or if my business is essential?

Unless your work is an essential function (i.e. healthcare provider, grocery store clerk, first responder), you should stay home. If you have been designated essential by your employer, you should continue to go to work and practice social distancing. If you believe your business is nonessential but are still being asked to show up to work, you may discuss with your employer. If you have any questions about whether your work qualifies as an essential function, please contact the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity at 1-800-252-2923 or

What if my business is still open, but I am not feeling well?

If you are experiencing symptoms or are currently in isolation, you should stay at home and follow the guidelines provided by your physician. While increased federal guidelines around paid sick leave are forthcoming, Cook County already has paid sick leave benefits for employees in the county. A summary of the ordinance is here and FAQs are here.

What if I've been laid off or had my business closed because of COVID-19?

Governor JB Pritzker has expanded opportunities for employees to seek unemployment insurance if they are not able to work because they are sick, caring for an ill family member, or due to quarantine. The most up to date guidance from the State of Illinois is here.

Federally, the Small Business Administration has expanded low interest loans under the national emergency declaration. The disaster declaration for Illinois is here. A fact sheet on the new declaration is here. You can apply for a loan here (please note the SBA is experiencing increased web traffic, they are recommending using the website between 7pm-7am when web traffic is lower). In addition, in Illinois business owners are being asked to report impacts of COVID-19 so we get access to increased federal aid for small businesses. Please report any impacts on your business here. Please contact the IL SBA here if you have any questions about resources for small businesses.

Finally, in Illinois, restaurants and bars that have a 2019 tax bill of less than $75,000 are eligible for a no interest deferral of taxes for February, March, and April. Qualifying restaurants and bars should be automatically enrolled, however more information on deferral and payment process can be found here.

What if my home is not safe?

If it is not safe for you to remain home, you are able and urged to find another safe place to stay during this order. Please reach out so we can help. You may call the domestic violence hotline at 1-877-863-6338 or contact your local law enforcement.

A longer list of FAQ's can be found here.


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