These essential businesses can remain open during COVID-19 pandemic

Essential Businesses and Operations

Essential Businesses and Operations are exempt from the Stay-at-Home Order Issued by the Governor and can remain in operation.

For the purposes of the Stay-at-Home Executive Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure, and the following: 

Stores that sell groceries and medicine. Grocery stores, pharmacies, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries, medicine, including medication not requiring a medical prescription, and also that sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and Essential Businesses and Operations;

Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture. Food and beverage manufacturing, production, processing, and cultivation, including farming, livestock, fishing, baking, and other production agriculture, including cultivation, marketing, production, and distribution of animals and goods for consumption; licensed medical and adult use cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis cultivation centers; and businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including animal shelters, rescues, shelters, kennels, and adoption facilities; 

Organizations that provide charitable and social services. Businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations, including food banks, when providing food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities;  

Media. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services; 

Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities and bicycle shops and related facilities; 

Financial institutions. Banks, currency exchanges, consumer lenders, including but not limited, to payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products; 

Hardware and supply stores. Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating material; 

Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations; 

Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services. Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels; 

Educational institutions. Educational institutions—including public and private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible. This Executive Order is consistent with and does not amend or supersede Executive Order 2020-05 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 3) or Executive Order 2020-06 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 4) except that affected schools are ordered closed through April 7, 2020; 

Laundry services. Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers; 

Restaurants for consumption off-premises. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for consumption off-premises, through such means as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, curbside pick-up, and carry-out. Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Executive Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site due to the virus’s propensity to physically impact surfaces and personal property. This Executive Order is consistent with and does not amend or supersede Section 1 of Executive Order 2020-07 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 5) except that Section 1 is ordered to be extended through April 7, 2020;  

Supplies to work from home. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home; 

Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent; and firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security; 

Transportation. Airlines, taxis, transportation network providers (such as Uber and Lyft), vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Executive Order; 

Home-based care and services. Home-based care for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness, including caregivers such as nannies who may travel to the child’s home to provide care, and other in-home services including meal delivery; 

Residential facilities and shelters. Residential facilities and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness; 

Professional services. Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, real estate services (including appraisal and title services); 

Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order. Day care centers granted an emergency license pursuant to Title 89, Section 407.400 of the Illinois Administrative Code, governing Emergency Day Care Programs for children of employees exempted by this Executive Order to work as permitted. The licensing requirements for day care homes pursuant to Section 4 of the Child Care Act, 225 ILCS 10/4, are hereby suspended for family homes that receive up to 6 children for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation. 

Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations. 

Critical labor union functions. Labor Union essential activities including the administration of health and welfare funds and personnel checking on the well-being and safety of members providing services in Essential Businesses and Operations – provided that these checks should be done by telephone or remotely where possible. 

Hotels and motels. Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services. 

Funeral services. Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services. 

If a business is unsure it if fits into one of options in the list above they can call DCEO’s helpline 1-800-252-2923 or go to CEO.support@illinois.gov to inquire whether their business is deemed essential.

Minimum Basic Operations

For the purposes of this Executive Order, Minimum Basic Operations include the following, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations:

  • The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions. 
  • The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences. 

Essential Travel. For the purposes of this Executive Order, Essential Travel includes travel for any of the following purposes. Individuals engaged in any Essential Travel must comply with all Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section. a. Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses and Operations, or Minimum Basic Operations. 

  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons. 
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services. 
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction. 
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement. 
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the State. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the State remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel. 

Social Distancing Requirements. For purposes of this Executive Order, Social Distancing Requirements includes maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands. 

Required measures. Essential Businesses and Operations and businesses engaged in Minimum Basic Operations must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements, including where possible:

  • Designate six-foot distances. Designating with signage, tape, or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance; 
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products. Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers; 
  • Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations. Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and 
  • Online and remote access. Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely. 

Read more about Stay-at-Home.