Last week, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health enacted new emergency rules that give local health departments and local law enforcement officers more leeway to advance public health protections.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health departments could pull licenses from businesses violating public health rules, but now they have new enforcement options to ensure protective equipment is used properly and that safe physical distancing is in place.
Local health departments now have three escalating ways to ensure that residents are safe when entering businesses.
First, businesses will be given a warning in the form of written notice and encouraged to voluntarily comply with public health guidance.
Second, businesses that do not voluntarily comply will be given an order to have some or all of their patrons leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks.
Third, if the business continues to refuse to comply, the business can receive a class A misdemeanor and be subject to a fine ranging from $75 to $2,500.
These new rules do not impose fines on individuals. They are also in line with the authority of local health departments to investigate COVID-19 cases and the responsibility of businesses to cooperate in those investigations.
Governor Pritzker also signed SB471 into law, which expands workplace protections for frontline workers. The law protects retail workers by adding penalties for assaulting or battering retail workers who are asking customers to comply with public health guidance, like wearing a face covering or maintaining social distancing. The law also increases disability leave by 60 days for firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics whose recovery was hindered by COVID-19.