From the Office of the Governor, May 24, 2020:
Governor JB Pritzker today released industry-specific guidelines that allow for the safe re-opening of businesses as the state progresses into the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of the state are on track to advance to Phase 3 of the plan in the coming days, allowing thousands of residents to return to work, and the reopening of businesses in the following industries: retail, offices, manufacturing, barbershops and salons, summer programs, various outdoor recreation activities and bars and restaurants for outdoor dining.
Guidelines as well as toolkits for businesses can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/pages/restoreILP3.aspx.
“In every aspect of our pandemic response, and especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy, our number one priority must be the health and safety of our workers, our customers, and Illinoisans at large,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The industry-specific baseline guidance for businesses the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released today will help employers re-open their doors in Phase 3 in line with that priority. In order to cover as many unique aspects of industry as possible, my administration collected input from hundreds of industry participants across the state and these guidelines reflect the questions and ideas brought to us by businesses of every size, background, and region in the state – and prioritize public health as our guiding light. You can’t build a strong economy if people aren’t comfortable being a part of it.”
Phase 3 of Restore Illinois is expected to bring approximately 700,000 Illinoisans back to the workplace, a key step towards getting the Illinois economy back on track—with an estimated 20 percent, or $150 billion in annual GDP, of the overall economy returned to operations.
In addition to industry-specific guidelines, DCEO and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) developed a common set of standards all businesses must follow. Those standards include the required use of face coverings, social distancing, and informational signage on site, among other preventative measures.
DCEO also developed a downloadable toolkit for businesses to help them re-open and comply with new guidelines. The toolkit includes signage, training checklists and other resources to help business owners and workers implement safety procedures and precautions from IDPH. Materials will soon be made available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Polish, Chinese and other most commonly spoken languages in Illinois.
The Pritzker administration has launched nearly $100 million in resources in the past few weeks to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 – including the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, the Emergency Hospitality Assistance Grant, and the Fast Track Capital Grants. The administration continues to look for ways to provide ongoing assistance for businesses across the state. A full list of resources made available to small businesses and communities can be found on DCEO’s website: https://dceocovid19resources.com/for-businesses/.
“The move to phase 3 marks a milestone achievement in our efforts to protect all Illinois communities and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of IDPH. “IDPH will continue working closely with local public health departments, businesses and communities across our state to refine our public health response based on the latest data, expand testing and contact tracing, and sustain our overall progress in overcoming COVID-19.”
DCEO consulted extensively with over 200 businesses, industry leaders, chambers of commerce, industry associations and trade representatives from around the state to consider the unique aspects and operations of each business industry that is preparing to re-open.
In addition to the return to work and reopening of specific businesses, Phase 3 permits the following: small group gatherings of 10 or fewer; participation in select sports and outdoor activities, including tennis, boating and camping; and other activities where safe social distancing can be practiced. Residents must continue to follow public health guidelines around social distancing, sanitization and face coverings.
“New guidance provided by the State today will help ensure a safe reopening for businesses, customers and communities at large,” said Michael Negron, Assistant Director of DCEO. “As Illinois works toward its recovery, DCEO is committed to providing businesses across our state clear and actionable guidance that will allow them to implement safe operations so they can get back on track.”
Restore Illinois is a five-phase plan focused on saving lives, livelihood, and safely reopening Illinois. The phased approach is guided by health metrics and coupled with investments in hospital capacity, ramping up testing, and establishing a comprehensive contact tracing system to ensure communities continue to make progress in bending the curve of COVID-19. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized. All guidelines for phases are informed by public health data, a review of other states, and CDC guidelines.