Illinois & Indiana Stay-at-Home Orders

By: Storrs Downey and Jessica Jackler

Illinois and Indiana have joined other states in issuing Stay-At-Home orders. We address the relevant portions of these orders that may impact your workforce below.

When do the orders take effect?

  • Illinois: the order took effect Saturday, March 21 at 5pm CST
  • Indiana: Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. EST

When are the orders set to end?

  • Illinois: April 7, 2020
  • Indiana: April 6, 2020

What does this mean for my business?

Under the orders for both states, all businesses and operations except for “essential businesses and operations” are required to cease all activities within the state except for minimum basic operations. All essential businesses and operations are encouraged to stay open but must comply with social distancing requirements including maintaining 6 ft of room for both employees and customers. The orders do not in any way prohibit businesses from continuing their operations by having employees work from home and in fact, encourage this practice.

Are any employers exempt from the orders?

Yes, under both orders, essential businesses and operations may remain operating their regular worksites. Both Illinois and Indiana have defined essential businesses to mean:

  • healthcare and public health operations;
  • human services operations;
  • essential government functions;
  • essential infrastructure;
  • all essential workers identified by the federal government in its 3-19-20 memorandum;
  • stores that sell groceries and medicine;
  • employers involved in the manufacturing, production, processing or cultivation of food, beverage and agriculture;
  • organizations that provide charitable and social services;
  • religious entities;
  • media;
  • gas stations and businesses needed for transportation;
  • financial and insurance institutions;
  • hardware and supply stores;
  • critical trades including building, construction, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, janitorial staff for commercial and government properties, operating engineers, security staff, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services
  • mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services;
  • educational institutions for purposes of distance learning and limited essential functions;
  • laundry services;
  • restaurants for consumption off-premises;
  • businesses that sell, manufacture or supply products needed for people to work from home or to supply other essential businesses and operations with support or materials necessary to operate;
  • transportation;
  • home-based care and services for adults, seniors, people with disabilities and other disorders, children and/or pets;
  • residential facilities and shelters;
  • professional services such as legal, accounting, insurance and real estate;
  • manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services;
  • labor union essential activities;
  • hotels and motels, but only for lodging and delivery or carryout food services; and
  • funeral services.

Illinois further includes licensed cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers. Daycare centers also granted an emergency license for employees exempted by the order.

Indiana also includes religious entities.

What other actions must employers take to protect their employees?

Illinois: All businesses must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements including maintaining 6 ft from other employees and customers, and providing hand sanitizer and other sanitizing products for employees.

Indiana: All businesses—whether or not they are defined as essential—must take other measures to protect employees to the extent possible including:

  • allowing as many employees as possible to work from home;
  • encouraging sick employees to stay home;
  • sending home sick employees;
  • ensuring that sick leave policies are up to date and flexible;
  • reinforcing proper hygiene in the workplace and providing supplies like soap, tissues and hand sanitizer;
  • performing routine cleaning; and
  • being prepared to change business practices to maintain critical operations.

Capital member Storrs Downey will discuss more of the Illinois stay-at-home order and other COVID-19 federal legislation impacting employers on WGN Radio on March 26 at 12:30 pm CST. Tune in here:

Key Takeaway: Both Illinois and Indiana have defined essential businesses and operations broadly, which means many employers can maintain operations during this time, albeit the business models may temporarily change.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: New Date – April 1, 2020

On March 24, the DOL released an initial set of questions and answers (Q&As) about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), which includes two emergency paid sick leave provisions available to employees during this pandemic.

Of utmost importance, the Q&A guidance sets the effective date of the Act as April 1, 2020–rather than April 2. Employers must prepare to provide these benefits to eligible employees beginning April 1. See our March Newsletter for more details on this Act.

Key Takeaway: Employers should be aware that even if they are deemed essential and remain open during the effective dates of these orders, employees may not be able to work and may be entitled to leave benefits based on the company’s policies, the new emergency federal laws, and other state and federal laws. Please contact us with any questions.

Chicago, Illinois 312-377-1501 | Crown Point, Indiana 219-488-2590
Indianapolis, Indiana 219-488-2590 | Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-758-3367

Chicago, Illinois


Crown Point, Indiana


Indianapolis, Indiana


Milwaukee, Wisconsin