Stay At Home Order


Updated as of 5/01/2020

On Thursday, April 23, Governor Pritzker announced an extension of the Illinois Stay at Home Order until the end of May. Under this extension, there are important modifications to the Stay at Home Order that will come into effect on May 1 and extend through the end of the month. While the Stay at Home Order applies to all individuals currently living within the State of Illinois, local municipalities and cities are permitted to enact stricter provisions than those in the Executive Order.

Below you will find answers to common questions businesses and workers may have regarding the modified Stay at Home Order and how it applies to Chicago.


To ensure the protection of all residents during this unprecedented pandemic, the State of Illinois issued a statewide order for Illinois residents to stay at home.  The Order requires all residents to stay home, unless traveling for essential needs, and requires businesses not engaged in essential activities to cease all activities except for minimum basic operations.

The Order is effective as of Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5pm CST.

The initial Executive Order issued by the Governor was set to expire on April 7th, but on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Governor Pritzker extended the Stay at Home Order until April 30, 2020. On Thursday, April 23, Governor Pritzker announced an extension of the Illinois Stay at Home Order until the end of May. Under this extension, there are important modifications to the Stay at Home Order that will come into effect on May 1 and extend through the end of the month.

We know that there will be a lot of questions and concerns; this is a significant action taken to protect public health. Please be mindful of your neighbors and act with decency in your communities.  Together, we will get through this, and our community’s health will be protected.

This is a critical intervention to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019/COVID-19.  This action is part of the City’s and State’s exhaustive response to the COVID-19, which is intended to keep the public safe, contain the spread of the virus, and provide relief to the healthcare system.  

While this news may feel alarming, it is a necessary action to prevent a worsening situation. The patterns of the virus around the world, and in our own state and city, tell us that moving right now to maximize social distancing and restrict people from gathering is the best way to fight the virus and save lives. 

The Order will remain in place until the Disaster Proclamation issued by the Governor expires, which has been extended to May 30.  The Order is effective as of Friday, May 1, 2020.

The City of Chicago and the State if Illinois will be closely monitoring the situation every day in order to determine what adjustments make sense.

The Governor’s Executive Order includes the entire state. Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity, you should stay home.

This Order is mandatory.  To help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Illinois and protect our friends, neighbors, and vulnerable populations, please stay home.

Adhering to the Order will save lives – and it is the responsibility of every Chicagoan to do their part to help.  The City is counting on residents to exercise good judgment and common sense when deciding to leave their residence.  Law enforcement will not stop residents who are on their way to and from work or who are out for necessities like going to the pharmacy or getting groceries, but this Order remains a legal requirement for all Chicagoans.  Chicagoans should abstain from all non-essential activities.  Adhering to the Order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Chicagoan to do their part.  

The Order does not require you to remain at home if you live in an unsafe environment.  If it is not safe for you to remain home, please reach out so we can help.

The City’s Domestic Violence Help Line is a 24-hour, toll-free confidential number that functions as a clearinghouse for domestic violence services and information. You are encouraged to contact the Help Line at:

You may also contact local law enforcement. 

Additionally, the Order encourages resident to shelter in a location other than your primary residence—including a hotel or shelter—if your primary residence is unsafe.

Social distancing is an important first step in preventing the spread of a disease like COVID-19 that allows people to go about their daily activities while taking extra health and safety precautions. Social distancing requirements in the Order call for residents to maintain a distance of at least six feet  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.

The Stay at Home Order requires people to remain in their homes unless they have an essential job or are doing an essential task like going to the grocery store or walking a pet.

All essential services will remain open, including:

  • Animal Grooming Services (Effective May 1)
  • Emergency City services and other essential government services 
  • Hospitals, healthcare and public health operations
  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, corner stores, and all other stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, including bike shops
  • Greenhouses, Garden Centers and Nurseries (Effective May 1)
  • Transportation, for purposes of Essential Travel
  • Financial institutions
  • Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order (see Executive Order for more information)
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Essential Infrastructure:Working in food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical; distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems
  • Food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Media
  • Critical trades, including: 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 that maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Religious gatherings are permitted if they are limited to 10 people and adhere to social distancing guidelines (Effective May 1)
  • Professional services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels,to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services
  • Funeral services

 

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Golf courses
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Hair and nail salons
  • Movie theaters, bowling alleys, concert and music halls
  • Playgrounds and fieldhouses
  • Lakefront, including adjacent trails, green spaces and park facilities
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Country clubs and social clubs

Staying in home can be difficult, and many people may want to get fresh air and exercise.  The Order allows “outdoor activity,” which includes walking, running, and biking.  But the Order also bans gatherings of 10 or more people, as well as people being outdoors without observing social distancing, which means that close-contact groups supports, such as basketball, soccer, and touch football are prohibited.

The Lakefront Trail, as well as all other parks, beaches, and paths that are adjacent to the Lakefront, are closed.  Additionally, the Chicago Riverwalk and the Bloomingdale Trail (the 606) are closed.  These restrictions are meant to avoid congregations of people, who are more likely to transmit coronavirus

The City of Chicago’s essential emergency and support services will continue to be fully staffed and operational during this crisis, including: the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, 911, 311 call center, Public Health, Sanitation, Water, CTA, airports, and other emergency responders and essential support staff. 

CPS will continue to provide packages of food to families in need.  CPS will offer free packages of food that contain three days-worth of meals for every child in a household. Dedicated CPS staff are supporting this effort in our schools, food can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. every weekday during the Stay at Home Order at the CPS location nearest to each student.

The City’s Senior Centers, Public Libraries, Community Centers, Park District locations including facilities and parks, and other city services and locations may be closed during this time.  All Chicago Library branches will close in the City of Chicago effective March 21 at 12 noon. All DFSS administered Senior Centers at non-Park District locations will remain open for one more week to provide pick-up meals, closing by March 27. 

With the exception of playgrounds, the City's public parks and outdoor recreation areas are open for use by the general public during regular operating hours, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements.  Chicago Park District fieldhouses are currently closed until further notice.  On March 26, the City of Chicago also closed Chicago's Lakefront and adjacent trails and parks, Riverwalk and 606 Trail to the public until further notice.

The City of Chicago’s essential emergency and support services will continue to be fully staffed and operational during this crisis, including: the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, 911, 311 call center, Public Health, Sanitation, Water, CTA, airports, and other emergency responders and essential support staff. 

 

CPS will continue to provide packages of food to students in need.

Yes, public transportation is vitally important for our health care workers and first responders. These workers depend on public transportation to get to work, so it will continue to operate.

Other private transportation providers such as ridesharing, taxis, and Divvy will continue to operate.  These should be used for essential travel only. When possible, walk or drive yourself. 

Planes and any other form of travel should only be used for essential purposes.

For your safety, as well as the safety of those in your community, you should remain at home to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Religious gatherings are permitted if they are limited to 10 people and adhere to social distancing guidelines (Effective May 1)

 

Funerals are still permitted under the Order, as long as the event follows the following guidelines:

  • No gathering may exceed ten people;
  • Individuals who attend must maintain six feet of distance from others, use hand sanitizer, and avoid shaking hands or making other contact; and
  • Pursuant to the guidance of the Illinois Department of Health, viewings should only be conducted on bodies that have been embalmed.

Yes. Outdoor exercise like running or taking a walk is perfectly acceptable; however, exercise gyms, fitness centers and associated facilities will be closed to reduce the spread of coronavirus. While exercising outside, you should still practice social distancing by running or walking at least six feet away from other people.

Boating is a recreational activity in which groups of people are gathered in small spaces. This is not an essential activity under the Executive Order. Only Minimum Basic Operations will be permitted at boatyards and marinas.

Pursuant to the modified Stay at Home Order, all Chicago residents and visitors over the age of two will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can't maintain a six-foot social distance. Additionally, face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores.

As part of the City's efforts to ensure residents have access to cloth masks, the City will partner with diverse local vendors to create and distribute one million reusable cloth masks. As part of this effort, a total of 250,000 will be distributed to Aldermanic offices over the coming weeks to provide to their constituents and an additional 750,000 reusable cloth masks will be provided to vulnerable populations this month through our Racial Equity Rapid Response Team.

The Chicago Department of Public Health has included the CDC Guidelines on How to Make a Cloth Mask at chicago.gov/coronavirus. Masks can be made from recycled cloth such as t-shirts, bandanas, jeans, thick cotton and other breathable fabrics.

Recognizing that Chicago still has further to go to bring down the curve, golfing is not yet permitted in Chicago.

Fishing and boating in Chicago will not be permitted by any individuals throughout the month of May. However, individuals may access their boats for maintenance and de-winterization, consistent with the guidance of the Chicago Park District.

The following is a list of the types of businesses that are able to stay open:

  • Animal Grooming Services (Effective May 1)
  • Emergency City servicesand other essential government services 
  • Hospitals, healthcare and public health operations
  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, corner stores, and all other stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, including bike shops
  • Greenhouses, Garden Centers and Nurseries (Effective May 1)
  • Transportation, for purposes of Essential Travel
  • Financial institutions
  • Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Essential Infrastructure:Working in food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical; distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems
  • Food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Media
  • Critical trades, including: 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 that maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels,to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services
  • Funeral services

Unless your work is an essential function (i.e. healthcare provider, grocery store clerk, first responder), you should stay home. If you have been designated essential by your employer, you should continue to go to work and practice social distancing. Employees should communicate directly with their employers.

Effective May 1st, all businesses are required to take the following steps:

  • Provide employees with face coverings
  • Require that employees wear face coverings in circumstances where they are unable to maintain a six-foot distance at all times
  • Where work circumstances require it, provide additional Personal Protective Equipment
  • Evaluate whether employees are able to work from home

This applies to all essential businesses and non-essential businesses that are engaged in minimum basic operations. These requirements are in addition to existing requirements to designate six-foot distances, have hand sanitizer and sanitizing products available, designate separate operating hours for vulnerable populations, and post online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility.

Non-essential businesses are allowed to conduct "minimum basic operations". This includes the activities needed to maintain inventory and facilities, process payroll and facilitate employees working from home. Furthermore, retail stores in Chicago that are not designated as essential may re-open to fulfill online or telephone orders. These orders must be completed through pick-up outside of the store or through delivery. All non-essential businesses engaged in minimum basic activities such as these must follow the social distancing requirements outlined in the Stay at Home Order.

All retail businesses are required to take the following steps beginning on May 1st:

  • Cap occupancy at 50 percent of store capacity or occupancy limits
  • Set up store aisles to be one-way where practicable
  • Communicate with customers through in-store signage, public service announcements and advertisements about the social distancing requirements

Discontinue use of reusable bags

In addition to the requirements outlined in the Stay at Home Order, all manufacturing businesses are required to take the following steps beginning on May 1st:

  • providing face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times;
  • staggering shifts;
  • reducing line speeds;
  • operating only essential lines, while shutting down non-essential lines;
  • ensuring that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing; and
  • downsizing operations to the extent necessary to allow for social distancing and to provide a safe workplace in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

This order is mandatory to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Illinois and the City of Chicago and to protect our friends, neighbors, and vulnerable populations.  All residents should stay home except for essential travel.

Staying homes is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our City of Chicago.  The Illinois State Police is working with the Chicago Police Department to enforce this Order. 

Adhering to the Order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Chicagoan to do their part. 

The State of Illinois issued this Order under the powers it holds to respond to a public emergency, and it is a legal requirement that individuals stay at home and non-essential businesses reduce their operations.  The City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department will assist in enforcing this Order, but we are counting on the good judgment of residents in deciding when to go out – the intention of this Order is not penalize individuals but to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. 

We trust Chicagoans will exercise good judgment and common sense, recognizing that the Order is a key step in stopping a lethal pandemic. While the Order is in effect, you may see people going about their regular business – taking the train to work, purchasing groceries, or going for a run.  All these activities may be permitted under the Order, and none of them, by itself, is a reason to suspect that the person is violating the Order.  You should only contact the City if you encounter large groups or if you see something that no one should be doing under the Order.

We recommend reaching out to childcare facilities directly to check service availability and hours of operation. For a list of providers offering emergency care, essential workers can utilize the following link.

https://emergencycare.inccrra.org or call the Chicago Early Learning hotline at (312) 229-1690.  

Additionally, Mayor Lightfoot announced a new initiative with Sittercity, America’s first online resource for in-home care, to help Chicago’s most essential workforce – healthcare workers, first responders and the team who support them. 

Sittercity will provide three free months of the Sittercity Premium service and will connect those on the frontlines of fighting this crisis with volunteers to help care for their families during this time.  Sittercity provides tools to help families build a childcare support network with detailed profiles, secure messaging, interview scheduling and background check options.

Essential workers can visit sittercity.com/chicagoresponds to find reliable childcare. 

Mayor Lightfoot recently announced a new initiative with Sittercity, America’s first online resource for in-home care, to help Chicago’s most essential workforce – healthcare workers, first responders and the team who support them.  This new initiative offers a way for thousands of Chicagoans who dedicate their lives to caring for children and who are unable to work while their primary workplaces are closed to pitch in. 

Individuals interested in volunteering can register on sittercity.com/chicagoresponds.  Care seekers simply post a job to the platform detailing their needs - including dates, times, and the number and age of children. The job post is shared with available caregivers in the area who can choose to apply.

No.  Bars that possess consumption on premises incidental activity license, or a tavern license may continue to sell prepackaged alcohol via carryout, curbside, or delivery services.

No. Companies that only sell these products do not fall within Section 12(a) of the Executive Order and must temporarily cease operations apart from “Minimum Basic Operations.”