Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Friday announced new COVID-19 guidelines in an effort to slow the rise of coronavirus cases in the state.
The Pritzker administration is filing new emergency rules for businesses, schools, and childcare establishments regarding the use of masks and the size of gatherings.
New Illinois Department of Public Health Emergency Rules:
- First, businesses will be given a warning in the form of written notice and encouraged to voluntarily comply with public health guidance.
- Second, businesses that do not voluntarily comply will be given an order to have some or all of their patrons leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks.
- Third, if the business continues to refuse to comply, the business can receive a Class A Misdemeanor and be subject to a fine ranging from $75-$2,500.
According to Gov. Pritzker, the rules give multiple opportunities for compliance before any penalty is issued. These rules do not apply to individuals and penalties will not exceed a misdemeanor and a $75-$2,500 fine.
"Illinois has made substantial progress in our fight against COVID-19 because the vast majority of communities and business owners have done the right thing," said Gov. Pritzker. "These rules will help ensure that the minority of people who refuse to act responsibly won’t take our state backward.”
Pritzker's Office says the new emergency rules also reinforce the authority of IDPH and local health departments to investigate COVID-19 cases and reaffirm that businesses have a responsibility to cooperate with those investigations.
On Friday, Pritzker also signed Illinois Senate Bill 471, which aims to expand workplace protections and takes effect immediately.
To directly protect workers in retail, SB 471 adds a penalty for assaulting or battering a retail worker who is conveying public health guidance, such as requiring patrons to wear face-coverings or promoting social distancing.
It also increases paid disability leave for any injury that occurs after March 9, 2020, by 60 days for firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics whose recovery was hindered by COVID-19.
Other eligible employees include any part-time or full-time State correctional officer or other employee of the Department of Corrections, any full or part-time employee of the Prisoner Review Board, and any full or part-time employee of the Department of Human Services working within a penal institution or a State mental health or developmental disabilities facility operated by the Department of Human Services.