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Illinois & Chicago Guidelines for Reopening Businesses in Phase 3 of "Reopen Illinois" During COVID-19


After nearly three (3) months, the state of Illinois has begun to reopen following the statewide closure of all nonessential businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus beginning the process known as “Restore Illinois”. On May 29, 2020 Governor Pritzker moved the state of Illinois to Phase 3 of his five-phase reopening plan with Chicago moving to Phase Three (3)  on June 3, 2020.

As the state of Illinois continues with the reopening process, strict rules and regulations have been put in place regarding ways in which businesses can bring workers back into the workplace, which include industry-specific requirements for expanded reopening under Phase Three (3) . While Phase Three (3) of the state-wide reopening plan gives businesses permission to reopen, it does not make reopening a mandatory requirement. As for those businesses that choose to re-open, the State has provided minimum standards that all businesses should abide by during the reopening process. Below is a breakdown of important information included in both the Illinois and Chicago’s Phase Three (3) guidelines. For questions or inquiries do not hesitate to contact Sherwood Law Group at 312.627.1650 or

Employees from all businesses who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so, even if their offices are re-opening. All employees throughout Illinois are expected to wear a face covering when in or around the workplace whenever within six (6) feet of each other, and all employees should remain six (6) feet apart whenever possible. As for the workplace as a whole, signage with face-covering requirements, social distancing guidelines, and other regulations should be posted at all points of entry/exit. In addition, employers are expected to reconfigure the workplace to both allow for and encourage social distancing between employees and customers. Finally, an adequate supply of soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants must be in the workplace at all times for employee and customer use.

As for all commercial properties, Landlords are instructed by the state to establish plans for weekly cleaning and disinfecting of the premises. Landlords are also responsible for providing sanitizing supplies, hand sanitizer, or handwashing stations in entrances, elevators, and common areas, and are required to ensure that common areas and surfaces in high-traffic areas are cleaned and sanitized at least every two (2) hours.
Tenants on the other hand, are required by the state to develop individual plans for managing both maximum occupancy and group size requirements. Tenants are also expected to limit occupancy in common areas such as break and conference rooms to allow for social distancing. In addition, it is up to the individual tenants to monitor and minimize both in-person meetings and material sharing to promote a healthy and safe environment. Finally, all businesses or organizations that are permitted to open during Phase Three (3) must post the approved guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health and Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Chicago has released its own industry guidelines for businesses reopening during Phase Three (3). All businesses operating within the city limits required to follow Chicago’s more stringent requirements in order to keep both employees and customers safe. All offices and workplaces throughout Chicago are required to implement impermeable barriers between closely related workspaces to enhance and promote health and safety wherever possible. Whenever in or around the office, both employees and customers are required to wear a face covering at all times in common areas, or where the six (6) feet of distancing is not possible. Workspaces are required to be reconfigured or modified to maintain the appropriate distancing in and around the workplace. Visual signage is to be posted throughout facilities regarding hand sanitation and social distancing. All small, high-traffic common areas are closed to avoid large gatherings, and sanitation stations are to be readily available for both employee and customer use.

All businesses looking to reopen in Chicago and elsewhere in the state of Illinois must be aware of the state’s detailed guidelines and requirements. It is important for each individual business to be particularly mindful of guidelines and regulations specific to their industry and to ensure that all effective measures have been taken in order to make their workplace safe for both employees and customers. Throughout the reopening process attorneys at Sherwood Law Group are available to answer all questions or inquiries and are ready to help at 312.627.1650 or
Categories: business illinois law