Governor Pritzker Releases Guidelines for Businesses and Workplaces to Safely Reopen During Phase 3 of Restore Illinois

Springfield – Governor JB Pritzker [May 24, 2020] released industry-specific guidelines that allow for the safe re-opening of businesses as the state progresses into the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of the state are on track to advance to Phase 3 of the plan in the coming days, allowing thousands of residents to return to work, and the reopening of businesses in the following industries: retail, offices, manufacturing, barbershops and salons, summer programs, various outdoor recreation activities and bars and restaurants for outdoor dining. 

Guidelines as well as toolkits for businesses can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website, HERE

“In every aspect of our pandemic response, and especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy, our number one priority must be the health and safety of our workers, our customers, and Illinoisans at large,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The industry-specific baseline guidance for businesses the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released today will help employers re-open their doors in Phase 3 in line with that priority. In order to cover as many unique aspects of industry as possible, my administration collected input from hundreds of industry participants across the state and these guidelines reflect the questions and ideas brought to us by businesses of every size, background, and region in the state – and prioritize public health as our guiding light. You can’t build a strong economy if people aren’t comfortable being a part of it.”

Phase 3 of Restore Illinois is expected to bring approximately 700,000 Illinoisans back to the workplace, a key step towards getting the Illinois economy back on track—with an estimated 20 percent, or $150 billion in annual GDP, of the overall economy returned to operations.

In addition to industry-specific guidelines, DCEO and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) developed a common set of standards all businesses must follow. Those standards include the required use of face coverings, social distancing, and informational signage on site, among other preventative measures. 

DCEO also developed a downloadable toolkit for businesses to help them re-open and comply with new guidelines.  The toolkit includes signage, training checklists and other resources to help business owners and workers implement safety procedures and precautions from IDPH. Materials will soon be made available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Polish, Chinese and other most commonly spoken languages in Illinois.

The Pritzker administration has launched nearly $100 million in resources in the past few weeks to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 – including the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, the Emergency Hospitality Assistance Grant, and the Fast Track Capital Grants. The administration continues to look for ways to provide ongoing assistance for businesses across the state. A full list of resources made available to small businesses and communities can be found on DCEO’s website.

“The move to phase 3 marks a milestone achievement in our efforts to protect all Illinois communities and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of IDPH. “IDPH will continue working closely with local public health departments, businesses and communities across our state to refine our public health response based on the latest data, expand testing and contact tracing, and sustain our overall progress in overcoming COVID-19.”

DCEO consulted extensively with over 200 businesses, industry leaders, chambers of commerce, industry associations and trade representatives from around the state to consider the unique aspects and operations of each business industry that is preparing to re-open. 

In addition to the return to work and reopening of specific businesses, Phase 3 permits the following: small group gatherings of 10 or fewer; participation in select sports and outdoor activities, including tennis, boating and camping; and other activities where safe social distancing can be practiced. Residents must continue to follow public health guidelines around social distancing, sanitization and face coverings.

“New guidance provided by the State today will help ensure a safe reopening for businesses, customers and communities at large,” said Michael Negron, Assistant Director of DCEO. “As Illinois works toward its recovery, DCEO is committed to providing businesses across our state clear and actionable guidance that will allow them to implement safe operations so they can get back on track.”

Restore Illinois is a five-phase plan focused on saving lives, livelihood, and safely reopening Illinois. The phased approach is guided by health metrics and coupled with investments in hospital capacity, ramping up testing, and establishing a comprehensive contact tracing system to ensure communities continue to make progress in bending the curve of COVID-19. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized. All guidelines for phases are informed by public health data, a review of other states, and CDC guidelines.

“All manufacturing in Illinois will be able to operate under these guidelines as Illinois moves to the next phase of Restore Illinois. This is a milestone for the manufacturing sector that employs 592,000 women and men on factory floors, many of whom were already working on the front lines making life-saving equipment, producing food, or equipping first responders,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We appreciate the Governor’s Administration for engaging with the IMA and manufacturers across the state in this process and accepting some of our recommendations. Manufacturers look forward to releasing their collective economic might to help our economy recover.”

“The outdoor operational guidelines provided by Governor Pritzker and his team prioritize health and safety while allowing our state’s eating and drinking establishments to start bringing their team members back to work,” said Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association. “We are pleased to see Phase 3 outdoor guidelines extend to a range of food and beverage service providers, and while we recognize this is not a solution for every business, we are encouraged by the creative plans in progress by local municipalities to implement measures that will help broaden the opportunities. This is one step forward in getting our restaurants and bars open in a safe, measured way while allowing diners to come back to the places and experiences they’ve missed.”

“While all of us are focused on maintaining the health, safety and welfare of our residents, we are equally focused on returning to an active, meaningful economy and positive, interpersonal social interactions,” said Brad Cole, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League. 

“On behalf of the businesses in Coles County, I appreciate the effort the Pritzker administration made to consider and solicit guidance from regional businesses as the state moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan,” said Angela Griffin, President of Coles County Together. “Listening to leaders across sectors and across the state assures the nuances of operating a business in the central region are given adequate consideration in ways that both protect our citizens’ health and preserve their livelihood.” 

“Thanks to the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity for hosting the Focus Group on Covid-19 and the impacts on business operations,” said Kevin Davis, Vice President of Pepsi MidAmerica. “We have maintained a very clean and safe environment as an essential employer throughout this entire process, so the check-list we went through was of value to confirm all of our responses and determine all of the areas to be considered.”

“The Great River Economic Development Foundation and several key Quincy and Adams County businesses were very appreciative of the opportunity to meet with representatives of DCEO to discuss our regional challenges, the status of our businesses and to work on strategies within the guidelines of the ReStore Illinois plan,” said Marcel Wagner, Executive Director, Great River Economic Development Foundation. “Quincy and Adams County have been working on a toolkit for businesses to use which aligned very well with the information in presented yesterday by DCEO.  All of our participating businesses felt that our information was well received and be a part of the Phase 3 planning.”

“As we start to reopen our businesses and workplaces, having guidelines and best practices will be beneficial to our employers and staff.  Thank you for taking time to hear local input into the process,” said Alene Carr, Executive Director of Southeastern Regional Planning.  

“The Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance appreciates Illinois DCEO allowing us and our area businesses to provide feedback and suggestions for these important guidelines,” said Ryan McCrady, CEO of Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, Springfield Illinois. “Gaining input from those businesses affected by the guidelines will certainly improve the compliance and practicality of the provisions.”

“The Quad Cities Chamber continues to advocate for a timely, safe and responsible reopening of the Quad Cities economy. I appreciate Governor Pritzker’s willingness to allow us to review and provide input on Illinois’ draft guidelines in advance of their release,” said Paul Rumler, CEO of Quad Cities Chamber. “As impacted Illinois businesses look forward to the Phase 3 reopening, the Chamber asks the state to provide clear guidelines to companies for robust, yet manageable, health protections.  Doing so helps balance businesses reopening in a safe manner while also protecting the health of their employees and customers they serve.”

“The pandemic has brought Illinois’ tourism and hospitality industry to its knees and that has translated to more than half of the employees in the sector becoming unemployed,” said John Groh, President/CEO of Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Reopening our state’s economy safely, responsibility and sustainably is critical. So, I was very pleased to have bene invited to represent our local industry partners in reviewing and providing feedback on Phase 3 re-opening guidelines.”

“On behalf of the many health and fitness centers that operate as business units within Illinois Park Districts and Recreation Departments, we appreciate the thoughtful considerations made by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Public Health in regard to Phase 3 opening  procedures,” said Ron Oestreich, Execitove Director of Bolingbrook Park District. “Our members’ health and wellness will be the ultimate beneficiary of these considerations.”

“Thank you for inviting me to participate in a very important subject for the region, keeping employees safe while operating a manufacturing business.  I believe we are in this together and need to all do our part in staying safe.  Being part of an essential business has allowed us to experience and develop our processes to help create the guidelines for a safer future,” said Erik Perks, Plant Manager of General Cable. “Greater Peoria EDC was happy to help DCEO put a focus group of local businesses together, and was appreciative of being allowed to provide feedback around some the guidelines.”

“We would like to thank the Governor’s Office and the DCEO for putting together the task force and listening to our concerns as local and small business owners. The open discussion was refreshing and informative,” said Stephanie Clark, Chief Executive Officer and Rebecca Garland, Chief Compliance Officer, of VeriFacts, LLC, Sterling Illinois.

“I appreciated hearing the input of the other participants and plans for reopening,” said Angela Rowe, Owner of Decorating Den & Saline County Chamber.

“We would like to thank Governor JB Pritzker and DCEO for reaching out to the Greater Sterling Development Corporation to provide regional coordination of local business input into the guidelines being released for phase 3 of Restore Illinois.  When government agencies listen to business concerns, everyone benefits,” said Heather Sotelo, Executive Director of Greater Sterling Development Corporation. “Our hope is by participating in these conversations, we will keep our businesses open and provide a safe environment for our citizens to work, shop and eat thus moving more quickly to the next phase.”

“I appreciate the opportunity given to me from DCEO and Governor JB Pritzker inviting me to participate in panel discussions regarding the re-opening of Illinois, and given a chance to voice my opinions and concerns on the guidelines pertaining to retail establishments like mine,” said John Brady, Owner of JJM Printing, Sterling Illinois.

“I appreciate the chance to engage in the dialogue regarding the proposed reopening guidelines,” said Bart Hagston, Administrator, Jackson County Health Department. “Forward progress depends upon having solid, carefully considered guidelines.”    

“The Leadership Council SWIL supports DCEO efforts to reopen business in our region! We also appreciate guidelines that will inform the process of reopening given the current COVID-19 virus still existing in our communities. Reopening of our economy and putting people back to work balanced with a proactive and aggressive testing, tracking, and containment of virus hotspot areas will require all of us to lookout for each other by wearing masks and social distancing for the foreseeable future. This virus has brought out the best in many of us to do the right thing for the health of our friends, neighbors, and communities in a consistent and sustained manner,” said Ronda Sauget, CEO of Southwestern Leadership Council, Metro East. “Many businesses have worked hard to develop strong plans to follow the guidelines as appropriate for their business and for their customers. We salute all of the frontline and essential workers who have been working diligently setting a strong example for all of us to follow as we look forward to reopening more businesses. Please stay safe and we look forward to better times ahead!”

“The Professional Beauty Association is very appreciative of the opportunity to work together with the state of Illinois in a collaborative effort to implement safe guidelines for the reopening process of salons,” said Myra Y. Irizarry Reddy, Director, Government Affairs of Professional Beauty Association. “PBA applauds the administration for their careful approach to ensure the safety of licensed beauty professionals and their clients.”

Governor Pritzker Announces Updates to Phase 3 of Restore Illinois Plan in Consultation with Health Experts

Bars and Restaurants Can Open for Outdoor Seating, All State Parks to Open

Building on a robust, statewide effort to ensure Illinois can safely reopen and following the data, science, and guidance from public health experts and stakeholders across the state, Governor Pritzker announced updates to Phase 3 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan.

“We are by no means out of the woods, but directionally, things are getting better. And because of these advances, we are able to make some modifications to allow more activity during Phase 3 of our reopening plan Restore Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans.”

In the coming days, the state and IDPH will be issuing formal industry-specific guidance, particularly around workplaces and childcare, for business owners and employees in these and other sectors.

Bars and Restaurants

With Phase 3, bars and restaurants will have the option to resume operations for outdoor seating only. Tables must be six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff must continue to be followed, and other precautions and guidance will be issued.

These measures will allow restaurants to re-open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities, while giving the state’s hospitality industry a much-needed boost.

Municipalities are encouraged to help restaurants and bars expand their outdoor seating options.

To date, the administration has delivered over $14 million in small business grants averaging $20,000 to 699 bars, restaurants, and hotels across 270 individual cities in Illinois.

Outdoor Activities

With the start of phase 3, all state parks will reopen on May 29.  All concession will reopen as well under guidelines set for our retail and food service businesses in Phase 3. Illinois will permit the re-opening of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) safety precautions and capacity limits.

For golf, in Phase 3, courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times. Carts will also be permitted with one person per cart, or one immediate household per cart.

With the new ten person gathering limit for all activities in Phase 3, boating or camping with up to ten people will be permitted.

The state will be providing guidance on how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, and paintball courses can safely open their doors in Phase 3.

Health Clubs, Retail, and Personal Care Services

In Phase 3, health clubs, gyms, and fitness studios can provide one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to ten people.

Personal care services, like nail salons, tattoo shops, hair braiders, spas and barbershops, can open with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

And all retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place.

Local governments retain the right to establish stricter restrictions in any areas.

“The Governor’s action to allow for expanded outdoor dining options will benefit many restaurants at a time when every dollar counts and provides a glimmer of light at the end of this long, COVID-19 tunnel. Innovative outdoor dining strategies extend a lifeline – restoring jobs and offering guests the hospitality experience they’ve been missing while prioritizing public health and safety. Outdoor dining will not help every restaurant, but it is a constructive step in the right direction,“ said Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. 

“The Allied Golf Associations of Illinois are grateful that we had the opportunity to collaborate with the Governor’s office to propose safely lifting some of the restrictions that had been in place for golf.  The Phase 3 changes will allow more people to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of the game, and do so in a way that is safe for both golfers and facility staff,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA and Illinois PGA Foundation.

Open DuPage

DuPage County, COVID-19 Reopening Guides

The following is intended to serve as a planning guide for reopening “non-essential” facilities in DuPage County. In no way does this document give the authority for businesses to open and all State of Illinois Executive Orders apply. The information is taken from industry experts, in accordance with federal, state, and county guidelines. As resources and guidelines are constantly changing, please consult the most recent documents prepared by these agencies for guidance.

Click the links below to download:

Reopening Guide for the Retail Industry

Reopening Guide for Commercial Office Space

Reopening Guide for the Manufacturing Industry

Reopening Guide for Restaurants and Food Service Facilities

 

DuPage County Launches Reinvest DuPage

Small business relief program developed in partnership with Choose DuPage

DuPage County announced it will launch Reinvest DuPage, a grant relief program developed in partnership with Choose DuPage for small businesses and independent contractors. The program will provide grants to sustain some businesses impacted by COVID-19.

DuPage County will fund this initial program with $7 million in monies received under the federal CARES Act. Choose DuPage will administer the plan with support from DuPage County and local banking and financial experts.

“We are well aware of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our small business community,” said County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. “We believe establishing this small business relief program will sustain some businesses until they can safely reopen.”

The program will provide grants of up to $15,000 for DuPage County-based businesses with fewer than 15 full-time employees and less than $1.5 million in annual revenues. Monies received under the program may be used for payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and other expenses necessary to maintain operations. A 1099 contractor whose annual income is less than $100,000 can also receive relief through the program.

Recipients may not have received assistance from either the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, any state hospitality grant, or any local loan or grant program.

Choose DuPage will hold a webinar at 11 a.m. May 15 to discuss the program with DuPage businesses. Registration for the webinar can be found here and Choose DuPage will promote the program via social media and an email outreach campaign. 

The online-only application portal is expected to launch at 9 a.m. May 18.

Further details, and a link to the application can be found here

Q1 Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage has released its First Quarter Economic Indicators Report.

Report Highlights:

  • DuPage County’s unemployment rate was 4.0%, lower than both the State of Illinois (4.6%) and the United States (4.4%).
  • The fastest growing industry in DuPage County continues to be healthcare and social assistance, employing over 77,000 people.
  • The average annual wages in DuPage County was $64,287.
  • Industrial vacancy rates are currently at 6.5%; office vacancy rates dropped slightly to 13.8% from 13.9% in the last quarter. Class-A office vacancy was 17.6% in Q1.

DuPage County is home to nearly 90,000 businesses that are taking advantage of the highly educated and skilled workforce. Together, these companies represent 653,705 jobs across a variety of industries. 

Click here to download the Q1 2020 Economic Indicators Report.