COVID-19 Government Mandates and Guidance

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Updated 5/14/2020 6:29 PM CT

On this page: Staying in Compliance with State and Federal Mandates​  |  Open Meetings Act  |  Employment Issues  |  Illinois' Executive Orders and Proclamations | Federal Acts and Guidelines


Staying in Compliance with State and Federal Mandates

Summary of Illinois Mandates and Guidance Relating to COVID-19

Can my public library reopen, and can it offer curbside services?
Updated May 1, 2020

In a nutshell:

Maybe, maybe not.

Points to consider:

  • "Executive Order 20-10 requires all non-essential businesses and operations to cease all activities except for minimum basic operations. Non-essential businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors working from home."
  • Examples of "essential government functions, as clarified by the Illinois DCEO in their Essential Businesses and Operations document: Essential Government functions, First responders, emergency personnel, law enforcement, safety and welfare.
  • Additional Illinois DCEO clarification directly addressed public libraries: "As most libraries are a function of government, Executive Order 10, as extended by Executive Order 18, leaves it up to each governmental body to determine what governmental functions are essential. Libraries should confirm with their municipality whether they are required to close. Libraries that remain open should practice safe social distancing or limit interactions with the public.
  • The extended and modified stay-at-home order expands essential businesses and allows "Retail stores not designated as Essential
    Businesses and Operations may re-open for the limited purposes of fulfilling
    telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery – which
    are deemed to be Minimum Basic Operations."
  • Legal opinion on whether or not the extended and modified stay-at-home order applies to libraries varies. Guidance from IHLS's attorney suggests it does not.
  • County and municipal mandates may be stricter than state mandates based on guidance from local county health departments.

See the documents provided on this page for sources.

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March 2020

Illinois Gov. Pritzker announced on March 19 that he was issuing a stay-at-home executive order (IL EO 10 / COVID-19 EE 8) to go into effect the evening of Saturday, March 20, 2020. To help answer questions about what businesses and organizations are considered essential, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (Illinois DCEO) released an Essential Businesses & Operations document. This document answers questions such as "What businesses and operations are considered essential?" and "My business is not considered an 'Essential Business,' does this order require the business to shut down my facility?" Libraries of central and southern Illinois asked IHLS for more guidance as to if the stay-at-home order means libraries must close, leading library attorney Phil Lenzini to draft a response to IHLS-member libraries' questions.

April 2020

On April 6, the governor's office released guidance for libraries, giving their answer as to whether or not libraries are essential. They state: "As most libraries are a function of government, Executive Order 10, as extended by Executive Order 18, leaves it up to each governmental body to determine what governmental functions are essential. Libraries should confirm with their municipality whether they are required to close. Libraries that remain open should practice safe social distancing or limit interactions with the public. For more guidance, please contact DCEO at 1-800-252-2923 or" Illinois DCEO released an Update to its Essential Businesses & Operations FAQs 3 days later.

Gov. Pritzker announced an extension with modifications of the stay-at-home order on April 23, to be signed April 30 as Illinois Executive Order 2020-32 and to in effect May 1-29, 2020. IHLS and RAILS immediately consulted the organizations' respective attorneys and came to different conclusions: RAILS' attorney guidance, based on the Governor's Office press brief and press release, and IHLS' attorney guidance, based on the pre-filing draft of the 4/30/2020 executive order. Additionally, Executive Order 2020-33 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 31 reissues Illinois executive orders 3 through 31, extending most provisions through May 29.

May 2020

The Governor's administration's plan to reopen Illinois, titled Restore Illinois, was released on May 5, 2020. Based on recommendations by Illinois Department of Health and a team of epidemiologists and health experts, the plan groups pre-established emergency response hospital regions into 4 main regions, including Northern Illinois, North Central Illinois, Central Illinois, and Southern Illinois.

Guidance Resources by Data

Image: Three infographics from the Restore Illinois plan highlighting the plan's key points and health regions
This image contains three infographics from the Restore Illinois plan.

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*Added 5/8/20* Open Meetings Act

Have additional questions about OMA compliance? Contact the Public Access Officer for the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

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Employment Issues

Please see these other essential documents and guidance:

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Illinois COVID-Related Orders & Proclamations

Executive Orders

Here you'll find several of the Illinois executive and administrative orders regarding the COVID-19 response as well as brief summaries taken from the Illinois Governor's Office website:

>> All Illinois Executive and Administrative Orders


*Added 5/1/20* Executive Order 2020-33 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 31 — (4/30/20) "REISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDERS — Reissues Executive Orders 2020-03 through 2020-31, extending most provisions through May 29, 2020."

*Added 5/1/20* Illinois Executive Order 2020-32 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 30 — (announced 4/30/20, signed 4/30/20, to go into effect 5/1/2020) "NEW STAY AT HOME ORDER This new order allows Illinoisans to leave their home for essential activities, including for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, for certain types of work, to take care of others, and to engage in the free exercise of religion, but otherwise requires them to stay at home or their place of residence to prevent spread of COVID-19. Individuals are required to wear a face covering in public places when they are unable to maintain a six-foot social distance, such as in stores. Defines essential businesses and operations. Non-essential retail stores may fulfill online and telephonic orders through pick-up outside the store or delivery."

Pre-Filing Draft of the 4/30/2020 Executive Order — (announced 4/23/2020, to be signed 4/30/2020, to go into effect 5/1/2020) An extension of the stay-at-home order with some modifications for retail businesses

Illinois Executive Order 2020-18 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 16 — (4/1/2020, announced 3/31/2020) "An extension of the state’s disaster proclamation, requiring individuals to stay at home or their place of residence for an additional 30 days. Individuals may leave their homes only for essential activities or for essential operations. Extends the suspension of on-site learning in K-12 schools, with schools transitioning from Act of God Days to Remote Learning Days."

Illinois Executive Order 2020-10 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8 — (3/20/2020) "STAY AT HOME — All individuals must stay at home, with exceptions for essential activities, essential government functions, and essential businesses and operations. All non-essential business and operations must cease, aside from Minimum Basic Operations. Business can continue with employees working from home. Local government units across the state must halt all evictions, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited."

Illinois Executive Order 2020-7 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 5 — ​​(3/16/2020) "RESTAURANTS & BARS — Beginning March 16 at 9 p.m., bars and restaurants must suspend on-premises consumption, but are permitted to continue delivery service, drive-through and curbside pick-up. Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited, including fitness centers, private clubs, and theaters." This order also suspends the provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) relating to in-person attendance by trustees and members of the public at board meetings and allows remote (audio or video) meetings to be streamed to the public.

Illinois Executive Order 2020-5 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 3 — (3/13/2020) "K-12 SCHOOLS — All public and private K-12 schools must close for educational purposes; however, this will not affect the availability of school buildings to supply food for students in need."

Illinois Executive Order 2020-4 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 2 — ​​(3/13/2020) "LARGE GATHERINGS — Gatherings of 1,000 or more people are prohibited, including concerts, conferences and sporting events as well as closes the James R. Thompson Center to the public, except for necessary state business."



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Federal Acts and Guidelines

*Added 5/14/20* Guidelines for Opening Up America Again — President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.

*Added 5/14/20* H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act — (3/18/2020) Public Law No: 116-127 — "This bill responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free COVID-19 testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding."

*Added 5/14/20* Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) webinar by the Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Dept. of Labor

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DISCLAIMER: Illinois Heartland Library System does not offer medical or legal advice. Please check with your medical or legal professional before making any health or law-related decisions.

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