Response from Attorney Lenzini Regarding Questions about Illinois' 'Modified' Stay-at-Home Order Announcement

Published 4/24/2020 2:03 PM CT


After Gov. Pritzker's announcement yesterday of an extension to his stay-at-home mandate and modifications to that mandate, library directors began speculating what this means for libraries and the start of some additional services including curbside delivery. In response, we acquired a copy of the pre-filing draft of the new executive order, expected to be signed on April 30 and go into effect on May 1, and we are providing it to you here.

Second, we consulted IHLS's attorney, Phil Lenzini, as to how the executive order, if signed as currently drafted, will affect public libraries. His response is below. We hope library directors and board members will find this information helpful in decision making.

Thank you to Attorney Lenzini for his ongoing support of Illinois libraries!

Attorney Phil Lenzini's response:

On the current language of the latest Executive Order from the Governor, to be effective May 1, 2020, the situation for public libraries isn't altered, and in my view (as detailed below) "curbside service" or "curbside pickup" at libraries is not permitted.  The first reason is that the EO adds the section 3 for "Requirements for non-essential stores" and then sets forth that "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...."

Note this language addresses "stores." Importantly, no one calls a library a "store" and definitely not a "retail store" so the curbside pickup language doesn't apply for libraries. Whether the distinction is sensible or nonsensical isn't really the point, as given this terminology, our libraries are NOT intended to be included.

Second, under #5 leaving home (as by a patron) is only for essential purposes as listed and library pickup is not among the listed types. And finally, the revision under #13 for Minimum Basic Operations (which by the way DOES permit library employees to engage in minimum necessary activities including preserving inventory [books and materials], the physical plant, and facilitating remote work etc.) adds "For retail stores, fulfilling online and telephonic orders through pick-up outside the store or delivery."  Again libraries are NOT "retail stores" and thus not included in my view in the language the Governor has chosen to use.  So unless this EO language is altered before May 1 it does not permit any library to provide curbside service and claim coverage under it.

A big "thank you" to Attorney Lenzini for his ongoing support of Illinois Libraries!