Resources and Guidance on Coronavirus Disease 2019

In an effort to reduce the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) in Chicago, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released information sheets to help businesses and residents.

COVID-19 Resources, Guidelines and Updates:

Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

Chicago Department of Public Health

Illinois Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

US Chamber of Commerce

‘Stay at Home Order’ Issued for Illinois – Extended Through April 30

Governor Pritzker has issued a public order directing Illinois residents to stay at home through Thursday, April 30. Residents will be allowed to engage in activities or perform tasks essential to the safety and health of you and your family. Schools throughout the State will remain closed through April 30 as well. For more information, click here.

As an additional resource, the Governor’s Office has provided FAQs regarding the ‘stay at home’ order.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Closes Lakefront and Lakefront Parks

On Thursday, March 26, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an order to close the Chicago lakefront in the interest of stopping the spread of COVID-19. This order extends along our lakefront and lakefront parks from Evanston to Indiana, and also includes the Riverwalk downtown and the 606 bike path. Click here for more information on the lakefront closure order.

Mayor Lightfoot Issues Executive Order

Mayor Lightfoot issued an executive order on Wednesday, March 18 in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. This executive order includes:

  • Declaration of a State of Emergency in the City of Chicago due to COVID-19 outbreak
  • Authorizing the Chief Procurement Officer to execute contracts as needed for supplies and services to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Authorizing the Budget Director to use appropriated funds and establish new funding lines as needed for the City to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Authorizing the Commissioner of Assets, Information, and Services to enter into real estate agreements to serve as emergency facilities
  • Adjustments to the City’s paid leave policy for employees during this time

City Services will be reduced only to essential services, including Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, Streets & Sanitation, CDOT, and other needed operations. The Mayor also announced today a temporary suspension of debt collection, ticketing, and towing, click here for details. The Mayor and City officials are working on a local stimulus package for local businesses and employees, understanding the hardships COVID-19 has had on the small business community. Additionally, City officials are looking to take advantage of State and Federal funding that will be coming to Chicago to respond to the crisis.

Recommended strategies for businesses and employers to use now:

The following interim guidance is intended for businesses and employers and may help prevent exposures to all acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) should be sent home immediately.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning.
  • Advise employees before traveling to check the CDC’s Travelers Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel.

Planning for a Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in Chicago

  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences.
    • Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
    • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
    • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Review and update your organization’s emergency operations plan.
    • Ensure the plan is flexible.
    • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
    • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
    • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws.
    • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies.
      • Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.
    • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations.
      • Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
    • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners on your infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID-19 information.
      • Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.
    • Consider cancelling large work-related meetings or events.

For more information on how workplace settings can prepare for an infectious disease outbreak, see CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

For more information on Chicago’s COVID-19 response, please visit, email or call 312-746-4835.

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