Right now, it's tough owning or running a business in Illinois. Between COVID shutdowns and increased government regulations, there are many challenges. Many business owners are finding it hard to keep up with the necessary changes.
We aren't an Illinois-based business, but we understand how you feel and would like to help. In this blog, you'll get a rundown of the opening requirements for Illinois businesses, as well as some helpful resources that can help keep your business up to date. Keep in mind that state guidance changes frequently, so keep an eye out here for the most current updates.
Restore Illinois - General Information
In May, the state of Illinois implemented the Restore Illinois framework to provide businesses with the safety guidelines needed to open different industries. As part of Restore Illinois, the state was broken up into 11 different regions; each region gets different guidance based on the status of different conditions related to COVID-19. To find your region and current phase, click here.
At the time of writing, all regions are in phase four of the Restore Illinois plan. For the most current information on regulations for tiered regions, click here.
Restore Illinois - Phase Four
As mentioned, all 11 Illinois regions have entered phase four of the Restore Illinois framework. Under phase four, different industries have unique guidelines and restrictions for operation. However, all industries have some basic requirements that are universal. These include:
- Employees who can work from home should continue to do so.
- In-business employees must wear face coverings when within six feet of others.
- Social distancing must be maintained between non-household individuals.
- An employer should provide handwashing or sanitizing capabilities to employees, and if applicable, customers.
- Frequent handwashing by employees and an adequate supply of soap and paper towels and/or disinfectant or hand sanitizer should be available.
- Businesses should display signage at entry with face covering requirements, social distancing guidelines, and cleaning protocols in multiple languages as needed.
For industry-specific guidelines, see below.
In phase four, retail industries in Illinois are open at 50% capacity. Face coverings are required for both staff and customers. Cleaning and disinfecting should be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols on a weekly basis. For retailers with fitting rooms, the fitting room must be disinfected after each use. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Restaurants & Bars
Restaurants and bars are open in Illinois under phase four. However, capacity is determined by arranging seating to provide a minimum of six feet between tables. The standing area capacity of restaurants or bars may operate at a maximum of 25%. Tables and chairs must be disinfected between each party and at closing. Additionally, the party size limit is capped at ten people. Face coverings are required for both employees and customers. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Personal Care Services (Salons, Tattoo Parlors, Barbershops, etc.)
Personal care service businesses are open in Illinois under phase four at 50% capacity as long as the customer and employee are wearing a face mask. If the service requires the customer to remove their mask, the employee must have a face mask and eye protection such as a face shield or protective glasses. Each work station must be disinfected after each service and at closing. Shared items like magazines must be removed from the waiting area. Additionally, reusable customer articles like robes or towels must be sanitized after each use. No walk-ins are allowed, reservations only. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Health & Fitness Centers
Health and fitness businesses in Illinois are opened up to 50% capacity under phase four. However, fitness classes are capped at a maximum of 50 people with social distancing. Customers must wear face coverings when not exercising. Equipment must be six-feet apart or three-feet apart with a barrier in between. Saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms must be closed.
For martial arts, sparring, and other contact sports, there are different rules. Contact exercises are permitted provided that:
- Participants undergo a nasal swab for RT-PCR test within forty-eight to seventy-two hours of starting the contact exercise.
- Participants are tested regularly for the duration of participation (e.g., every two weeks)
- Participants limit participation to one location.
- Participants limit contact exercise to participation with one group that should be kept static for at least ten days.
For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Under phase four, performing arts theaters and cinemas are open up to lesser than 50 customers or 50% capacity. Six-feet distance must be maintained between the seating of different parties. Customers must wear masks, but masks can be removed when seated. Table and seats must be cleaned and disinfected after every use and at closing time. Additionally, theaters should schedule staggered entry to minimize lines. For more guidance and up to date information, click here.
Theater concessions should follow the restaurant and bar guidelines, which you can find here.
All schools in Illinois may open for in-person learning with a pandemic plan. For more guidance and up to date information on schools in Illinois, click here.
Tools for Re-Opening your Business
Now that you know Illinois' re-opening requirements, it's time to take steps to help sustain a safe environment. We can help! During the pandemic, we began creating PPE and safety tools to assist our customers. Whether you need face shields, contactless payment solutions, social distancing signage, or more, we have you covered. Click here to browse our selection of PPE and safety supplies or reach out with any questions that you might have. We are here to help!