New Order Outlines Phase 3 Requirements as More Employees Return to Work


New Order Outlines Phase 3 Requirements as More Employees Return to Work

Jun 3, 2020

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Written by Matthew M. Swift

Last Friday, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-38 to end his stay-at-home orders and move the state into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a general matter, the order allows gatherings of up to 10 people for any purpose, while continuing to require social distancing measures for individuals, businesses, and other organizations. Individuals are still required to wear face coverings when they are in public and cannot maintain six feet of social distance and encouraged to limit in-person contact with people outside their household. Businesses are required to follow industry-specific guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

The DCEO guidance documents provide more specific requirements that are applicable to certain industries or activities. For example, park districts operating day camps will have to abide by the DCEO guidance for such programs. Guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is expected in the next few weeks to address returning to school buildings under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. In the meantime, however, Executive Order 2020-38 does provide basic requirements that are applicable to all businesses, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions. These organizations must: 

  • continue to evaluate which employees are able to work from home;
  • ensure that employees practice social distancing and, if that is not always possible, that they wear face coverings;
  • ensure that gathering spaces for employees, such as locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing; and
  • ensure that all visitors can practice social distancing and, if that is not always possible, encourage visitors to wear face coverings; and
  • prominently post the joint guidance from IDPH and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency.

This joint IDPH and Attorney General guidance states that “to the greatest extent feasible” employers should regularly clean high touch surfaces; mark six-foot spacing with signage or tape; and provide face coverings for employees (especially where maintaining a 6-foot social distance is not possible), handwashing stations, and sanitizing products for employees and customers. As with the most recent stay-at-home order, Executive Order 2020-38 also includes a prohibition on retaliating against any employees who reasonably believe they are disclosing a violation of the order. 

For questions about maintaining compliance with the latest executive orders and public health guidance, please contact your Robbins Schwartz attorney.