As Illinois (with the exception of Chicago) reopens today, Illinois employers should be aware of Governor Pritzker’s released Phase 3 Guidelines for Reopening Business and Returning People to Work Safely. The guidelines are designed to help businesses and employers to implement safety measures and bring some employees back to work. The guidelines are organized by industry and include toolkits with signage, training checklists, and other resources to ensure business and activities are conducted in accordance with the latest public health recommendations. The guidelines are further broken down into “minimum guidelines” and “encouraged best practices.” The following minimum guidelines are uniform across all industries:

  • All employees who can work from home should condition to do so;
  • Employees should wear cloth face coverings over their nose and mouth when within 6 feet over others;
  • Social distance of at least 6 feet should be maintained between non-household individuals unless participating in activities permitted under Phase III guidelines;
  • Employers should provide hand washing capability or sanitizer to employees and customers (if applicable);
  • Frequent hand washing by employees, and an adequate supply of soap/paper towels and/or disinfectant/hand sanitizer should be available.

Although most employers are already familiar with these guidelines, the encouraged best practices offer some recommendations that bear consideration. For example, the guidelines address issues such as modifying traffic flow and increasing air turnover rates. In addition, the state also continues to urge businesses “to go above and beyond this guidance in prioritizing the safety and health of their workers and customers.” The Phase 3 Guidelines also contain links to additional resources businesses may reference as they develop return to work plans.

Chicago employers should be aware that Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot issued even stricter Phase III: Cautiously Reopen guidelines as Chicago reopens on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP has prepared an Employer’s Return to Work Checklist, which can help you prepare as the Stay-at-Home phase ends and Cautiously Reopening begins. If you have more detailed questions, please reach out to a Kelley Drye attorney.