COVID-19 FAQ Update 3-26-20

On Friday, March 20th, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10 requiring all Illinoisans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The order prohibits things like visiting other people’s homes (except to provide care or supplies) and gatherings of more than 10 people and closes all nonessential establishments, including most retail, recreation and entertainment businesses. It does NOT prohibit essential activities like going to the grocery store, receiving medical care, or taking your pet for a walk. Below are FAQs about the Order:

When does the order take effect? The order took effect Saturday, March 21st at 5pm CST.

When does the order end? The order is currently set to last through the end of April 7, 2020.

Why is the Order necessary? In a short period of time COVID-19 has rapidly spread throughout Illinois. We all need to take these precautions for the preservation of public health and safety throughout the entire State and to ensure our healthcare delivery system can serve those who are sick.

Without immediately interventions public health and emergency response officials estimate the situation will worsen and lives will be lost.

Where does the Stay at Home order apply? 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. Work from home is permitted and encouraged where possible.

Is this mandatory or just guidance? 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.

What does it mean to “stay at home”? The term “stay at home” means you must stay at home, leaving only for essential reasons such as to get groceries or medicine, to get medical care, to get exercise, to take care of others, and for certain types of work. You should significantly restrict your outside movement to only essential outings, to help stop the spread of the virus.

What is the difference between the Stay at Home order and social distancing? 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. 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.


How will this order be enforced? Staying home is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in your community and adhering to this order will save lives. Several state and local agencies will monitor compliance and, if necessary, enforce this order. The Illinois State Police has collaborated with local law enforcement on the requirements of the order and techniques designed to encourage cooperation that are consistent with best practice and the principles of community policing and procedural justice. Law enforcement is more likely to intervene if they witness or receive reports of: crowds of people gathering, especially in locations that should be closed to the public or constitute non-essential business; flagrant violation – such as a bar or restaurant having a room full of customers eating in, or a movie theater continuing to operate; employees being asked to report to work in-person where the business is not supposed to be open or appropriate social distancing precautions are not taking place.

Will the Illinois National Guard be enforcing this order? No. The Illinois National Guard will be supporting logistics, transportation, and medical response efforts. The Guard will not be enforcing this order.

I need to leave my house for an allowed reason. How will the police know I’m allowed to be outside my house? No one should be asking you where you are going, and it is fine for people to be out on their way to or from work, to be out for necessities like going to the pharmacy or getting groceries, or to be out just taking a walk. People gathering in groups over 10 may be asked why they are gathering, to practice better social distancing, or to go home. Illinoisans should abstain from all nonessential activities. Adhering to the order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Illinoisan to do their part.

What is an Essential Business or Operation Under the Order? Specific details on what defines an essential business can be found here.

What if I am unsure whether my business should be open or closed? Essential businesses will remain open during the Stay at Home order to provide services that are vital to the lives of Illinoisans. Those businesses include, but are not limited to, pharmacies, certain government offices, day care centers that provide care for the children of essential employees, and restaurants providing take-out meals. If you work for an essential business, you should continue to practice social distancing and should stay at home outside of work hours. If you believe your business is nonessential but are still being asked to show up to work, you may discuss with your employer. Businesses and employees with questions can call the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-252-2923 or email

What Am I Permitted to Do? Can I visit friends and family? 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. You may visit family members or friends who need medical or other essential assistance, such as ensuring an adequate supply of food or medicine.

Can I leave home to exercise? 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.

Can I go out to do laundry? Yes. Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers are considered essential businesses that will remain open.

What about religious activities? The Executive Order does limit gatherings to no more than ten people and requires social distancing. At the same time, the Executive Order does not otherwise prohibit religious activities and specifically allows religious organizations to provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life, to its congregants and needy individuals. Religious organizations are permitted to conduct services and prayer online.

What about funeral services? Funeral, mortuary, and related services are designated as essential businesses and operations. All funeral services, including those with more than 10 attendees, must ensure adequate social distancing, taking into account the space of the facility where the service is held, whether it is indoors or outdoors, etc.

The Duration of the Order

Will grocery stores be open? Yes, essential businesses, operations and related services will still be operational including, but not limited to: o Grocery stores o Gas stations o Pharmacies o Police stations o Fire stations o Hospitals, clinics and healthcare operations o Garbage/sanitation o Public transportation o Public benefits (i.e. SNAP, Medicaid) hotlines

A full list can be found in the executive order at

Can I order food/groceries? Yes, grocery delivery will be available as well as meal-delivery, drive through, and take-out options.

Will liquor and cannabis stores be open? Yes. Items will be for sale only for off-site consumption and while purchasing social distancing should be practiced.

Are car dealers essential services? Car dealerships may stay open for repair and parts. Showrooms should be closed, but car dealers may remain open for individuals who need to buy a car for essential travel to arrange an appointment. For further guidance, please call DCEO’s helpline 1-800-252-2923 or

Are landscaping projects allowable? Many landscape projects will fit under an exemption such as construction, agriculture, or public works. Outdoor landscape projects generally will provide for good social distancing that poses little risk of transmission, but it still is important to ensure the ability to wash or sanitize hands and take other precautions.


How can I get medical care if I need it? If you are feeling sick, call your doctor, a nurse hotline, any telehealth hotline set up specifically for COVID-19 or an urgent care center. If you are experiencing symptoms or are currently in isolation, you should stay at home and follow the guidelines provided by your physician. Do not go to an emergency room unless necessary. Nonessential medical care like eye exams and teeth-cleaning should be postponed. When possible, healthcare visits should be done remotely. Contact your healthcare provider to see what tele-health services they provide.

Can I get a prescription filled or other healthcare needs? Yes. Pharmacies and other medical services will remain open. You should request for your prescriptions to be delivered to your home if that is possible.

What is the guidance for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities? State Operated Developmental Centers, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Community Integrated Living Arrangements will continue to provide care. All in-home direct care staff are considered essential staff and should continue to support individuals in the home setting.

If you have any specific questions about your support and services, please reach out to your provider or Individual Service Coordination (ISC) Agency. To receive updated information on DDD services, please sign up for our email database, or to update your contact and service information, please visit .


Will public transportation and ridesharing be available? Public transportation and ridesharing should be used for essential travel only. When possible, walk or drive yourself.

Will roads in Illinois be closed? No, the roads will not be closed in Illinois. You should only travel if it is essential to your work or health.

Can I take a flight out of state? Yes, but planes and any other form of travel should only be used for essential purposes.

What if my home is not a safe environment? If it is not safe for you to remain home, you are able and urged to find another safe place to stay during this order. Please reach out so we can help. You may call the domestic violence hotline at 1-877-8636338 or contact your local law enforcement.

Vulnerable and Children Populations

What about homeless people who can’t stay at home? The order does not apply to people experiencing homelessness. State agencies are partnering with community organizations to provide funding and resources to ensure our homeless population has safe shelter.

Can I leave home to take care of an elderly or sick family member or friend? Yes. Please be sure to practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Elderly people and people with suppressed immune systems are at heightened risk for contracting COVID-19.

Does the Stay at Home order mean I can’t take my kids to the park? State parks will be closed during the Stay at Home order. Families will still be able to go outside, including to local parks and outdoor spaces that remain open, and take a walk, run, or bike ride but should continue to practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from other people. Playgrounds are closed because they pose a high risk of increasing transmission.

Can I take my child to day care? If you are considered an essential worker under the Order, you can take your child to a day care that is licensed on an emergency basis for the purpose of childcare for essential workers. Licensed day care homes for up to 12 children will be closed but may reopen as an unlicensed day care home for up to 6 children. For more information, please go to and look at the “Message to Day Care Providers” links at the bottom of the page. You may also go to for additional information.

How do I report suspected child abuse or neglect? As always, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you should report it to the DCFS hotline immediately. DCFS will continue to operate its hotline and carry out investigations. You can contact the DCFS hotline by phone at 800-25-ABUSE (800252-2873 or TTY 800-358-5117) or visit the DCFS website ( to make an online report.

DCFS, and its partners that make up the entire child welfare system, continue to monitor the safety of youth in care and conduct investigations when allegations of abuse and neglect are reported. When appropriate, staff are using technology to visit youth in care. This will help keep youth safe, keep the families looking after them safe, and reduce exposure for child welfare staff across the State.

Do local domestic violence shelters have to shut down or take other precautions? What guidance can they follow? Shelters are considered essential under the Executive Order 10, so they will not be forced to close. However, they should practice social distancing. For more information, please visit DPH updated guidelines.

Further, we urge victims of domestic violence to find a safe place to stay during this order. Please reach out so we can help. You may call the domestic violence hotline at 1-877-863-6338 or contact your local law enforcement.

Can I pick up meals being provided by my child’s school? Yes. Schools that provide free food services to students will continue on a pick-up and take-home basis.


What about my pet? Pet supply stores and veterinary services will remain open. You are allowed to walk your dog and seek medical care for your pet should they require it. Be sure to practice social distancing while out on walks, maintaining at least 6 feet from other neighbors and their pets.