Stay at Home FAQ's

On March 20, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10 requiring all Illinoisans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. On April 1, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-18, extending the stay at home order through April 30, 2020. On Thursday, April 30th, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-32, which is a new Stay at Home Order in effect as of May 1. For more information on what this order means for you, please see below. You view all of the Executive Orders related to COVID-19 here.

About the Order

When did the order take effect?

Executive Order 2020-32 took effect May 1st.

When does the order end?

The order is currently set to last until May 29th, 2020.

What does the new order allow?

Executive Order 2020-32 allows non-essential businesses to re-open and take orders online or over the phone for pick-up outside the store or delivery. The order also allows greenhouses, garden centers, and nurseries, and pet grooming, to re-open with social distancing measures in place and allows some state parks to begin a phased re-opening under the guidance of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The order allows numerous outdoor activities, adding fishing, boating, and golf when done with precautions established by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Does everyone in my family have to wear a face covering?

Beginning May 1st, individuals over the age of two and who are medically able will be required to wear a face-covering when in a public place where they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Face coverings can be items such as a bandanna, scarf, mask, etc. There are instructions for easy steps to make a homemade face covering here:

Do I have to wear a face covering to work?

All essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are unable to maintain six-feet of social distancing. Businesses will also have to follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of both employees and customers. Employees at non-essential retail stores must follow the social distancing requirements and must wear a face covering when they may come within six feet of another employee or a customer.

What businesses are allowed to re-open under the new Stay at Home order?

Non-essential retail stores may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery. Customers are not permitted inside the physical store. In addition, greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirement and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.

Are there requirements for how to implement curbside pick-up and drop-off?

Non-essential retail stores may re-open for the purpose of fulfilling telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.  To the extent feasible, these orders should also be paid for online or over the telephone. Businesses are encouraged to schedule a pick-up or drop-off to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements. Staff within the business or facility should be limited to the minimum number of staff required to fulfill orders, and to the number that can safely social distance.  Customers should not enter the business or facility.

Are photographers allowed to operate?

Photography businesses will be permitted to operate in outdoor settings only.  Photographers must ensure that they are maintaining 6-foot social distancing with clients during the photoshoot.  Photography businesses may not have indoor photo shoots during the shelter-in-place order.

Are other businesses like bowling alleys and movie theaters allowed to re-open?

No, with the exception that drive-in theaters will be allowed to operate with social distancing safety measures that will be developed by DCEO.

What outdoor activities can I do now that the weather is getting nicer?

On May 1st, Illinois State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HERE.

Fishing, boating and golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is being followed.

Am I allowed to use my boat now that the weather is getting nicer?

Yes, however no more than two people will be permitted on a boat at a time. The two-person limit applies regardless of the relationship of the people to each other or whether they reside in the same household and is applicable to all Illinois waters.

Can I take my entire family out on our boat?

No more than two people are allowed to be on a boat at a time.

Why isn’t the state park closest to me open?

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health developed a list of state parks, fish and wildlife areas, recreational areas and historic sites based on a variety of factors including parks that offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities with acreage to allow for social distancing directives, provide necessary restroom and hand washing facilities, and have on-site staff to ensure the safety of visitors and maintenance of the site and site facilities. Safety of park visitors and potential strain on staff, first responders and law enforcement also were considered when reviewing potential sites.

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. 

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.

Can I alternate my “staying at home” between my primary home and my vacation property?

No – traveling back-and-forth to a vacation property is not Essential Travel.

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

If you observe any of these situations, please contact the Elgin Police Department non-emergency at 847-289-2700.

If you have questions or concerns about whether a business is “essential” under the Stay at Home order, please contact the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-252-2923 or e-mail

If you have questions about whether a business is violating the Stay at Home Order by not allowing for safe social distancing or that it is not maintaining a safe and sanitary work environment to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19, please contact the Workplace Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at 844-740-5076 or

If you have questions about employee benefits, including paid leave, please contact the Illinois Department of Labor at 312-783-2800 (Chicago office), 217-782-6206 (Springfield office), or

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.

Essential Businesses

What is an Essential Business or Operation Under the Order?

  • Police stations
  • Fire stations
  • Hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations
  • Human service operations
  • Community based organizations that provide meals and social services
  • Jails/Prisons
  • Garbage/sanitation
  • Transportation, including airports, CTA and Metra
  • Utilities: Water, power, gas, etc.
  • Public works
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food:
    • Grocery stores
    • Food banks
    • Convenience stores
    • Restaurants for: Delivery, take-out, curbside delivery
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Laundromats/laundry service
  • Funeral services
  • Hotel and lodging
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, security personnel etc.
  • Post offices and other shipping services
  • Garden centers and nurseries
  • Animal grooming services

A full list can be found in the executive order at

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. You must wear a face covering if you are unable to maintain social distancing while outdoor exercising.

Can I go out to do laundry?

Yes. Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers are considered essential businesses that will remain open. You should continue to practice social distancing and must wear a face covering if you are unable to maintain social distancing.

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 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 and with “drive-in” services.  

What about funeral services?

Funeral, mortuary, and related services are designated as essential businesses and operations. All funeral services 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.

What will be open during the duration of the order?

Will grocery stores be open?

Yes, essential services will still be operational including, but not limited to:

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Police stations
  • Fire stations
  • Hospitals, clinics and healthcare operations
  • Garbage/sanitation
  • Public transportation
  • 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.  

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. Garden centers and nurseries are allowed to remain open.


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 (check with your insurance company) 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?

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 1-877-863-6338 or contact your local law enforcement.

What About Vulnerable and Children Populations?

What about homeless people who can’t stay at home?

The order does not apply to people experiencing homelessness.  State and local 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 wear a face covering, 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, 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 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873  or TTY 1-800-358-5117) 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 2020-10, 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 the Elgin Police Department at 847-289-2700. 

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.

Can I get my pet groomed?

Animal grooming services may re-open on May 1st.  The groomers must have measures to ensure proper social distancing, such as setting appointments such that only one pet owner would be dropping off or picking up at a time.  Employers must require that employees wear a face covering or mask.