FILE - Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois, March 16, 2020

Gov. J.B. Pritzker addresses reporters at a briefing Monday, March 16, 2020, in Springfield.

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an emergency order Friday for people in Illinois to stay at home to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just what that means depends, in part, on occupation.

Who: All Illinois residents whose occupation has not been deemed “essential” by public health officials. Employers are to notify workers about their status if they’re given that designation. Pritzker’s list of essential employees includes:

  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations: Working at or obtaining services from hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities; healthcare manufacturers and suppliers; blood banks; medical cannabis facilities; reproductive health care providers; eye care centers; home healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use providers; ancillary healthcare services — including veterinary care and excluding fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and similar facilities

  • Human Services Operations: Any provider funded by DHS, DCFS or Medicaid; long-term care facilities; home-based and residential settings for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with disabilities or mental illness; transitional facilities; field offices for food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services or rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services and other necessities of life for needy individuals — excluding day care centers, day care homes, group day care homes and day care centers licensed as specified in Section 12(s) of the order

  • 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

  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine

  • Food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture

  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services

  • Media

  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation

  • Financial institutions

  • Hardware and supply stores

  • 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

  • Laundry services

  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises

  • Supplies to work from home

  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations

  • Transportation, for purposes of Essential Travel

  • Home-based care and services

  • Residential facilities and shelters

  • Professional services

  • Day care centers for employees exempted by the executive order

  • 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

What: Illinoisans will be ordered to stay home, with the exceptions being to travel to essential locations, grocery stores, medical centers, pharmacies, gas stations, and other locations. All roads and tollways will remain open as well, as will essential businesses and public safety organizations like police and fire stations. Here’s the governor’s list of essential activities allowed. 

  • For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional

  • For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences

  • For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds

  • For certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations

  • To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another household

When: The shelter-in-place order comes active at 5 p.m. on March 21 through April 7th.

Where: No location in Illinois is exempt. 

Why: On Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the executive order after announcing the growing number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 had risen to 585 cases in 25 counties. He says the shelter-in-place order will ensure they’re doing all they can to keep people from traveling around the state and possibly spreading the virus. 

So what: State and local law enforcement will ultimately be responsible for enforcement of the executive order. Pritzker said Friday that law enforcement must first get a court-ordered cease-and-desist letter and deliver it to the resident not obeying the new rule. If they still refuse, Pritzker says they’re likely able to give the resident a fine likened to a disorderly conduct fine. 

What it’s not: Martial law. The Illinois National Guard has been activated but, per the Guard, not in a law enforcement capacity. Illinois National Guard members will be enlisted to construct mobile testing sites. It’s also not an order to stay indoors. Residents are still able to walk their dogs, etc. as long as they maintain “social distancing,” a term described as keeping others at more than arm's length. Gun and ammunition dealers will be allowed to remain open as well, though Illinois State Police say they’re working to cut down a backlog of transaction processing requests brought on by a recent run on guns and ammunition.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.