Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 6/4/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Chicago economy reopening despite protests and riots
- New Executive Orders issued by Governor Pritzker as state enters Phase 3
- U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of two Chicago area churches’ requests for relief from restrictions on worship
- More courthouses across the state reopening
- Activists and elected officials asking Mayor Lightfoot to reconsider using private contractors for contact tracing
- Last week Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that on June 3, Chicago would move into Phase 3 of the Five-Phase Restore Illinois Plan. Despite Cook County being declared a disaster area due to protests and riots across the city, the Mayor proceeded. But, the Mayor has expressed growing concern for the spread of COVID-19 because of the protests and riots. If they have not been destroyed, restaurants may begin outdoor dining, and non-essential businesses may reopen subject to limited capacities and social distancing guidelines.
- Late last week, the stay-at-home order for Illinois expired. Governor Pritzker has signed two new Executive Orders for Phase 3. The first, “Restoring Illinois,” requires individuals to continue practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering in public places. It also limits gatherings to no more than 10 people. The second reissues directives from prior Executive Orders through June 27, 2020, including school closures, suspension of on-premises consumption at restaurants, suspension of transferring offenders from county jails to Illinois Department of Corrections, and suspension of residential evictions. The reissuance of these orders coincides with Phase 3 of the governor’s “Restoring Illinois” plan.
- Last week’s update discussed two Chicago area churches asking the United States Supreme Court to remove the Governor’s restrictions on houses of worship during the pandemic. However, the Supreme Court denied the request after Governor Pritzker voluntarily lifted the measures, stating that the request is denied “without prejudice,” which allows a new motion to be filed if future circumstances warrant it. This decision was made the same day the Supreme Court also voted against a California church challenging Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order.
- More courthouses are opening this week, most of them with restrictions still in place. The Chief Judge for the Second Circuit announced that the circuit would begin holding non-emergency hearings this week, but all employees and visitors are to follow CDC and local health department guidelines. Although non-emergency hearings will begin, the Chief Judge encourages the use of remote technologies to conduct business. Similarly, the Chief Judge for the First Circuit will begin hearing court matters this week, limiting those in the courtroom to facilitate social distancing. The U.S. District Court, Southern District, announced that the courthouses in Benton and East St. Louis will remain closed to the public until July 5, allowing in-person meetings only for special settings and postponing all civil and criminal trials until August.
- Activists, unions, and elected officials are expected to ask Mayor Lightfoot to consider using city health workers rather than private contractors to begin contact tracing. This request stems from the fear that private contractors will not be as transparent with the public.