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Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 6/25/2020

Today’s update discusses:

  • Governor Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lightfoot issuing Phase Four Guidelines
  • Governor issuing statewide guidance for reopening schools
  • New laws bringing changes to voting procedures
  • A municipality, landlords, and a right to life group all suing Governor Pritzker for exceeding his authority
  • Lake County finding a creative solution to begin performing civil marriage ceremonies again
  • Cook County judge finding several Chicago McDonald’s restaurants failed to adequately protect employees from exposure to COVID-19
  • “Together Now” grants bringing economic relief to Chicago small businesses and nonprofits
  • Chicago expanding testing centers


  • Governor Pritzker has released the Phase Four guidelines as the state prepares to move into that phase on Friday, June 26. The guidelines released include industry specific resources. For example, residents can find specific guidelines for meetings and social events, indoor and outdoor recreation, indoor and outdoor dining, museums, zoos, and theaters. Some of the more general changes include allowing indoor dining with groups of 10 or less, reopening indoor theaters with the lesser of 50% capacity or 50 people, and reopening fitness centers at 50% capacity. Chicago will also enter Phase Four on Friday. Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health have developed city-specific industry guidelines for Phase Four of reopening.
  • This week, Governor Pritzker released statewide guidance for schools reopening this fall. The guidance includes requirements such as the use of face coverings and social distancing, but ultimately each school district will establish its own reopening plan in compliance with the guidelines. Officials for Chicago Public Schools are working on “when and how schools will reopen,” and believe “this will probably be yet another unusual school year.” 
  • Governor Pritzker signed SB1569 into law, allowing schools to institute remote learning and other necessary operations during a state of emergency. Additionally, the legislation allows teachers and other educators’ licenses to renew for a year during a state of emergency and designates support to child care providers. This law will make it easier for schools to plan “Blended Remote Learning Days” for the upcoming academic year.
  • Governor Pritzker signed SB1863 and HB2238, which change the voting process. All recent voters in the state will receive vote-by-mail applications. According to Governor Pritzker, “sending vote by mail applications to residents who have participated in recent elections will allow more people to exercise that right from the safety of their own homes and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” The legislation also allows for curbside voting (where voters may fill out a ballot outside of the polling place) and early voting hours for those who have increased risks related to COVID-19.


  • Orland Park, along with two village residents and an owner of an Orland Park business, filed suit in federal court last week against Governor Pritzker, alleging that the governor has overstepped his authority in the steps he has taken with his executive orders during the pandemic. The village alleges that it has created its own reopening plan, but Governor Pritzker has not allowed businesses to reopen sooner than what is laid out in his own “Restore Illinois” plan. According to the lawsuit, Governor Pritzker has ignored the rights to due process and equal protection.
  • Some Illinois landlords are suing Governor Pritzker over the eviction moratorium, which suspends evictions due to the pandemic. The Illinois Rental Property Owners Association supports this lawsuit, stating “Mom-and-pop landlords cannot go without income for over 5 months when sole proprietors have not been receiving assistance from COVID-19 programs to compensate for the lost income.” The lawsuit seeks declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, alleging that the moratorium puts the cost burden solely on Illinois landlords.
  • The Illinois Right to Life group filed suit against Governor Pritzker this week, asking to be excused from the governor’s social gathering restrictions. The case, which was filed in federal court, alleges a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The group asks that the court exclude them from the governor’s executive order while also awarding them attorneys’ fees.
  • The 19th Judicial Circuit Court has made the decision to allow Lake County residents to continue marriages and civil unions. The catch? The officiating will be done virtually. So long as at least one individual is a Lake County resident or an active duty member of the military, individuals can have a courthouse wedding where a selected judge will officiate the virtual wedding.
  • As noted in a prior update, some Chicago McDonald’s employees and their family members sued the restaurants, alleging the company failed to implement rules and procedures to protect them adequately from COVID-19. This week, a Cook County judge agreed and granted a preliminary injunction. According to the judge, the restaurants should have enforced policies and training consistent with Governor Pritzker’s executive orders. Failure to do so created a public nuisance, but it did not amount to negligence.


  • As mentioned in a prior update, “Together Now” grants launch next week. The grants provide qualifying Chicago small businesses and non-profits financial relief after economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or damages from the George Floyd protests. Those receiving grant money for operational support due to the pandemic are eligible for up to $4,000.
  • Chicago has launched expanded COVID-19 testing for residents showing symptoms, residents with high exposure, and emergency responders. The following sites are available for drive-thru and walk-up testing:
    • Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy
      • 2850 W 24th Blvd, Chicago, IL 60623
    • Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy
      • 2231 N Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60639
    • Columbus Park
      • 5701 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60644
    • Gately Park
      • 744 E 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60628
    • Horizon Science Academy
      • 5401 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60609

In addition, the city will also have mobile testing sites. The following location will be operating during the following dates and times:

    • Friday, 6/26
      • Montessori School of Englewood: 6936 S Hermitage
        • 10:30AM – 3PM


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