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Governor’s Guidelines for Easing Restrictions on Businesses under Phase 3

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Governor’s Guidelines for Easing Restrictions on Businesses under Phase 3

On Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan that will reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with marked by distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. The Restore Illinois plan recognizes that the economy will start growing again when consumers feel that it is safe to return to work, shop and dine out, and engage in social and recreational activities. Under the Restore Illinois framework, certain businesses and activities are allowed to resume in Phase 3 with IDPH-approved safety guidance in place.

Read the Plan

To prepare businesses and employers to implement the new safety guidelines and to bring many residents back to work, the State of Illinois has developed this business toolkit complete with signage, training checklists, and other resources to ensure business and activities are conducted in accordance with the latest and greatest public health recommendations.

Phase 3 guidelines span 10 different industry categories. Each set of guidelines includes a common set of guidelines that are expected and encouraged among all employers and activity types, as well as workplace and program-specific guidelines.

Common Guidelines for all Phase 3 Businesses and Operations to follow can be found in the Phase 3 Business Toolkit.

For Industry definitions and guidelines, please see below:

Manufactuing image

Manufacturing facilities such as plants, factories and mills

Heath Fitness image

Health and Fitness Centers
Gyms, fitness centers, yoga, dance, cycling, pilates, barre studios, and other customer-facing fitness centers

Office worker image

Non-customer-facing offices such as: legal; accounting services; architectural/engineering design; and other professional services

Personal care image

Personal Care Services
Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, waxing centers, tattoo parlors

Retail store image

Retailers and merchandisers such as: grocery stores; hardware stores; clothing stores; pharmacies; department stores; shopping malls

Outdoor recreation image

Outdoor Recreation
Customer facing services such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, paintball courses, outdoor adventure parks

Service counter image

Service Counters
Stores providing assorted services for dropped off goods, such as: dry cleaners; electronics repair shops; shoe repair shops; car washes

Summer programs image

Day Camps
Recreational youth programs such as sports camps, recreational camps, educational camps

Youth sports image

Youth Sports
Youth sports games or matches, group sports lessons, team or group sports practices (no competitive sports permitted in Phase 3)

Outdoor dining image

Restaurants and Bars (outdoor dining and drinking)
Full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, snacks bars, taverns, and other food and beverage businesses

  • Toolkit


Additionally, the State of Illinois is providing new guidelines for indoor/outdoor tennis, as well as revised guidelines for boating and fishing and for golf.

For more on latest guidelines for places of worship and religious services, please view safety guidelines on IDPH’s website.

We also encourage businesses to go above and beyond this guidance in prioritizing the safety and health of their workers and customers.

If you have read the industry safety guidelines above and have other specific questions or comments about how Phase 3 affects your business or employees, please feel free to get in touch with DCEO. For direct support, contact our Business Hotline Monday through Friday at 1-800-252-2923, or email at:

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Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Click here for more information.

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Illinois Department of Commerce Survey on COVID-19 impact on businesses

Illinois Department of Commerce Survey on COVID-19 impact on businesses

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in partnership with the strategy consulting firm, Milpa Services, are conducting a statewide survey to measure the COVID-19 impact on Latinx business owners in Illinois. If you are a Latinx business owner in Illinois, please consider completing the 8-10 minute survey in English or Spanish.
Deadline to complete the survey is May 15, 2020.
COVID-19 Resources for Latinx Small Business Owners
DCEO’s Latino Business Development manager will be hosting a series of webinars focusing on Latinx small businesses in collaboration with DCEO’s – Regional Economic Development member, Manuel Lopez, in English or Spanish. Please note, the below webinars are open to all Illinois small business owners. However, DCEO recognizes that there are unique challenges that Latinx business owners face and will speak to those concerns in this webinar series.
If you have questions, contact Diana Alfaro at
You will receive an email with a web link the day before the webinar.
  • Thursday, April 30, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (English)
Statewide focus with co-host: Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Register HERE 
  • Tuesday, May 5, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Spanish)
Rockford focus area with co-host: City of Rockford. Register HERE
  • Friday, May 8, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (English – FAQ will accept questions in English or Spanish)
Northwest region focus with co-host: Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, please register at HERE.
COVID-19 Resources for Latinx Small Business Owners (SPANISH)
El Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidad Económica (DCEO por sus siglas en inglés) tendrá un seminario web (webinar) para explicar los recursos disponibles para aquellos negocios pequeños impactados por el coronavirus. Antes del evento, usted recibirá un correo electrónico con los detalles para participar.
  • Martes, 5 de Mayo de 2020 (Español) – Coanfitrión: Cuidad de Rockford (área de Rockford enfocado), 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (CDT). Para registrarse haga clic aquí
COVID-19 Resources for Latina business owners
DCEO’s Women’s Business Development Manager, Ibie Hart will be hosting an “All in for Women” series of webinars focusing on women-owned small businesses.
  • Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
To register or to see a complete list of women focused events for all identities. Visit:
If you have questions, please contact Ibie at
The web link will be sent the day before.
To find out more about DCEO-OMEE events, visit:
or email to join the OMEE mailing list.
Office of Minority Economic Empowerment
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US Government Resources for Illinois

President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of the White House

US Government Resources for Illinois

Illinois State and Local Partners,

Thank you for your continued efforts in the whole-of-America approach to respond to and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) for the benefit of the people of Illinois. As you know, our citizens are best served when response is locally executed, State managed and Federally supported. The Federal government scales best practices, coordinates key priorities, provides regulatory flexibilities, guidance, and key resources to supplement, but not replace, private sector, local, and state resources. On January 31, the Trump Administration declared the coronavirus a public health emergency. The declaration set in motion the Trump Administration’s whole-of-government approach to protecting the health of Americans in response to the coronavirus. Working in partnership with State, Local, and Tribal leaders, the President and Administration have and continue to leverage all resources to respond to the coronavirus, bringing together government and private industry in a collaborative response.

President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of the White House
President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of the White House

Attached, please find a Fact Sheet (The Trump Administration Is Supporting the People of Illinois) overviewing Federal coordination and assistance provided to the State of Illinois and the people of Illinois to combat the coronavirus. The attached information is bolstered by hundreds of additional actions by the Federal Government to help the people of Illinois in partnership with State and local leaders. The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (WH IGA) will continue to share pertinent information as it becomes available. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if we can be of assistance. As a reminder, WH IGA is the primary liaison between the White House and the country’s State and Local elected officials and Tribal Governments.


The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

William F. Crozer

Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director

White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Download the COVID-19 App

COVID-19: Important Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Officials

  • Guidelines for Opening Up America Again: On Thursday, April 17, President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force unveiled new guidelines (download here) for the reopening of America. Developed by the top medical experts from across the Government and based on verifiable metrics regarding the situation on the ground, the guidelines outline a phased return to reopening and include specific steps for State, Local, and Tribal officials to follow in tailoring their response. The guidelines also set clear benchmarks on new cases, testing, and hospital resources for States to meet to proceed toward a phased reopening. In the days and weeks ahead, the Administration plans to continue robust coordination and outreach with State, Local, and Tribal leaders as we collectively work to reopen the country.
  • Coronavirus Guidelines for America: On Tuesday, March 31, the White House announced updated Coronavirus Guidelines for America (Español), extending social distancing efforts through April 30. On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance recommending individuals wear cloth face coveringsin public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies, particularly in areas of significant community-based transmission. On April 8, CDC also provided guidelines regarding when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Additional information on critical infrastructure below.
  • Up-To-Date Information: The most up-to-date, verified information and guidance can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website – The Coronavirus Task Force holds frequent briefings, which can be viewed live here.
  • COVID-19 Response and Recovery Primer: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. It is important that requests for assistance, including for critical supplies, get routed through the proper channels as soon as possible. Learn more about the response and recovery process via this important resource – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Response and Recovery Through Federal-State-Local-Tribal Partnership. FEMA’s public assistance guidance for COVID-19 response efforts can be found here. Guidance for Tribal Governments can be found here.
  • Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidelines: On March 16th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued updated critical infrastructure guidance in response to the COVID-19 emergency. DHS issued revised guidance on March 28th (seeMemorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response). The guidance, and accompanying list, is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. The list is advisory in nature and is not a federal directive or standard.
  • Rural Resource Guide: USDA and Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses, and communities. USDA developed a resource guide for State, Local, and Tribal leaders, and other stakeholders.
  • Coronavirus Fact vs. Myth: Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. FEMA setup a website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Fraud & Scam Protection: The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Preventionwebsite. The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams.
  • Social Media Resources: Download the Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool. Follow the White House on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow HHS (Twitter/Facebook) and CDC (Twitter/Facebook) You can also find informational videos from Coronavirus Task Force members on mitigation, social distancing, etc. on the White House’s YouTube page.
  • Mental Health Resources: Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here.
  • Administration Actions and Federal Agency Resources: is cataloging all U.S. government activities related to coronavirus. From actions on health and safety to travel, immigration, and transportation to education, find pertinent actions here. Each Federal Agency has also established a dedicated coronavirus website, where you can find important information and guidance. They include: Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Education (DoED), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of the Treasury (USDT), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
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Athletico expands Telehealth for Physical and Occupational Therapy in response to COVID-19

Athletico expands Telehealth for Physical and Occupational Therapy in response to COVID-19

PT Leader’s Patient-Centric Approach Allows Patients to Continue Therapy from Their Homes

With physical and occupational therapy services officially identified as “essential services” and part of the nation’s “critical infrastructure” by state and federal officials, Athletico Physical Therapy clinics remain open to ensure patients recovering from injuries can continue their treatments uninterrupted.

In addition, Athletico, which has an office in Cicero at 1621 S Cicero Avenue, announced  it has expanded its telehealth offering for physical and occupational therapy to meet the evolving needs of patients and communities affected by COVID-19. While continuing to offer in-clinic appointments, Athletico will allow new and existing patients – who prefer to remain at home for their treatment sessions – the ability to connect with clinicians through a secure live internet video feed, in the comfort of their homes, through smartphones, tablets or home computers.

“The health and safety of all Athletico patients, employees and the communities in which we operate is our top priority,” said Ron Rodgers, CEO of Athletico Physical Therapy.

“Expanding Athletico’s telehealth offering ensures current patient treatments continue uninterrupted and that new patients can begin managing chronic pain or recovering from injury while practicing social distancing as advised by public health officials. Delaying treatment for these patients can not only interrupt the improvement that they’re experiencing but actually cause them to regress. That’s why we’re committed to doing everything we can to continue treating our patients as safely as possible, while also protecting our employees and local communities.”

Patients can schedule a telehealth appointment on Athletico’s website, by calling their local Athletico clinic or by calling 877-ATHLETICO (284-5384). When the virtual appointment takes place, a clinician from the patient’s local Athletico clinic will connect with the patient through Zoom’s video conference app or FaceTime if the patient has an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer.

Athletico clinicians have significant experience in both assessing injuries and providing treatment with telehealth technology. In 2019, Athletico was among the first PT providers to launch a telehealth offering, providing those suffering from injuries with free assessments.

In addition to providing expanded telehealth services, to ensure the safety of patients and employees, Athletico has taken several measures including additional screening procedures, enhanced cleaning practices and appropriate distancing of patients during treatment sessions.

For more information about Athletico’s telehealth offering or to schedule an appointment, visit The latest updates from Athletico about COVID-19 can be found here:

About Athletico Physical Therapy
Athletico Physical Therapy provides the highest quality orthopedic rehabilitation services to communities, employers and athletes in over 500 locations throughout twelve states with more than 5,000 employees. Athletico is committed to our patients and referring physicians through our patient-centric focus, positive work environment, attention to quality and high standard of care. Athletico measures patient outcomes and satisfaction and is dedicated to continuous improvement. Athletico was named #1 Workplace in Chicago, “Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation” by ADVANCE magazine, Top Workplace in the Nation and has been recognized as a leader in employee volunteering and charitable giving. Our services include physical and occupational/hand therapy, workers’ compensation, women’s health therapy, concussion management and athletic training. Athletico also has a telehealth offering for physical and occupational therapy that provides patients with the ability to connect with clinicians virtually through a live video feed from the comfort of their homes. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at @athletico.

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Cicero Emergency Operations Committee Update 03-31-20

Cicero Emergency Operations Committee Update 03-31-20

English and Spanish, please Share

The Governor of the State of Illinois has extended the Disaster Proclamation and “Stay at Home” order until at least 4/30/20. That date will be reviewed as this situation unfolds and is subject to change. 

COVID-19 Update: As of 3/31/20 at the time of this report, per the Cook County interactive mapping, we now have twenty-eight (28) residents with reported cases of COVID-19 in Cicero. Due to HIPAA laws regarding privacy, no other information will be released regarding this matter. 

The latest numbers reported statewide in Illinois as of the time of this memo are as follows: 937 new cases in Illinois for a total of reported COVID-19 5994 cases. 26 more deaths were reported in Illinois, bringing the total to 98 deaths. The current total reported cases of 
COVID -19 in the US is 180,789 with 3580 deaths. Worldwide COVID-19 cases now total 846,156 with 41,261 deaths. 

NURSING CENTERS: Both City View and Alden Manor reported no incidents regarding COVID-19 today. City View however is waiting for three (3) COVID 19 test results. Alden Manor is waiting four (4) COVID-19 test results. The EOC staff has reminded both care centers to follow all IDPH, CCDPH, and Town of Cicero guidelines. Fire Chief Dominick Buscemi has sent a letter to City View Care Center warning them of any and all COVID-19 protocol violations reported. 

HEALTH DEPARTMENT The Town of Cicero Health Department is here to serve you. We now have tele-health service available. Call the Health Department at 708-656-3600 Extension 147, 148, or 149 and we will return your call. The Health Department is in contact with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Cook County Department of Public Health on a daily basis. Updates on the COVID-19 virus can change daily. This is why the link to the Cook County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health is provided on the Town of Cicero Website. Most importantly, Dr. Licea will be available remotely and in person Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 1 PM to 5 PM and Wednesday from 8 AM to 5 PM. The Cook County Department of Public Health can be reached at 708-633-4000. For more information regarding COVID-19, call 1-800-889-3931. During this crisis the Health Department information will be on every update. 

PPE: The EOC staff is constantly trying to find new sources to purchase PPE equipment for our first responders. We have put a request into Cook County for supplies with no response from them as of the time of this report. Should you know of sources for N95 respirators, surgical gowns, eye protection, surgical gloves, and any other PPE, please let us know. 

AREA BUSINESSES – We have received several calls regarding area businesses not following the “social distancing” protocol. Any and all complaints are being handled. If you see a business that is over-crowded, please let us know at Extension 267 and we will get these problems rectified. Superintendent Jerry Chlada and Fire Chief Dominick Buscemi visited the “big box” stores in Cicero today. They discussed COVID-19 safety measures with the management of these stores. Ismael Vargas and Antonio Marzano also visited many businesses in Cicero, pointing out to management safety measures that can be improved. The Health Department also has three (3) Health Inspectors looking into any health related inspections or problems that may arise. We have to also note however, that some of the complaints that we received regarding some businesses were unfounded.

UPCOMING WEEKS:: We are entering a very critical time during this crisis. COVID-19 cases are expected to rise substantially. Please remind all of your friends and neighbors to please follow all of the rules that have been repeated again and again over the previous weeks. The number of cases and deaths are rising exponentially. Now is the time for responsible behavior. 

Michael Piekarski
Dominick Buscemi
Jerry Chlada
Sarah Kusper 
Sue Grazzini

# # #

El Gobernador del Estado de Illinois ha extendido la Proclamación de Desastres y la orden de “Quedarse en Casa” hasta al menos el 30 de Abril. Esa fecha se revisará a medida que esta situación se desarrolle y esté sujeta a cambios.

Actualización de COVID-19: 
A partir del 31 de Marzo del 2020 al momento de este informe, según el mapeo interactivo del Condado de Cook, ahora tenemos veintiocho (28) residentes con casos reportados de COVID-19 en Cicero. Debido a las leyes de HIPAA con respecto a la privacidad, no se divulgará ninguna otra información sobre este asunto.

Los números más recientes reportados en todo el estado en Illinois al momento de este memorando son los siguientes: 937 casos nuevos en Illinois para un total de 5994 casos reportados de COVID-19. Se reportaron 26 muertes más en Illinois, con un total de 98 muertes. El total actual de casos reportados de COVID -19 en los Estados Unidos es 180,789 con 3580 muertes. Los casos mundiales de COVID-19 ahora suman 846,156 con 41,261 muertes. 

RESIDENCIAS Y CENTROS DE CUIDADO PARA PERSONAS MAYORES: Los complejos City View y Alden Manor no han informado de incidentes con respecto a COVID-19 hoy. Sin embargo, el complejo City View está esperando tres (3) resultados de la prueba COVID 19. El complejo Alden Manor está esperando cuatro (4) resultados de la prueba COVID-19. El personal de EOC ha recordado a ambos centros de cuidado que deben seguir todas las pautas de IDPH, CCDPH y de Cicero. El Jefe de Bomberos, Dominick Buscemi, envió una carta al complejo de City View advirtiéndoles de cualquier y todas las violaciónes sobre el protocolo COVID-19 reportadas.

El Departamento de Salud de Cicero está aquí para servirle. Ahora tenemos un servicio de telemedicina disponible. Llame al Departamento de Salud al 708-656-3600 Extensión 147, 148 o 149 y le devolveremos la llamada. El Departamento de Salud está en contacto con el Departamento de Salud Pública de Illinois y el Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Cook a diario. Las actualizaciones sobre el virus COVID-19 pueden cambiar diariamente. Esta es la razón por la cual se proporciona el enlace al Departamento de Salud del Condado de Cook y al Departamento de Salud Pública de Illinois en el sitio web de la Ciudad de Cicero. Lo más importante es que la Dra. Rosaura Licea – estará disponible de forma remota y en persona los lunes, martes y jueves de 1 p.m. a 5 p.m. y los miércoles de 8 a.m. a 5 p.m. Puede comunicarse con el Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Cook al 708-633-4000. Para obtener más información sobre COVID-19, llame al 1-800-889-3931. Durante esta crisis, la información del Departamento de Salud estará en cada actualización. 

PPE (personal protective equipment/equipo de protección personal:
El personal de EOC (Emergency Operations Committee/Comité de Operaciones de Emergencia) trata constantemente de encontrar nuevas fuentes para comprar equipos de PPE para nuestros equipos de servicios médicos de emergencia. Hemos presentado una solicitud al Condado de Cook para suministros sin respuesta de ellos al momento de este informe. Si conoce fuentes de respiradores N95, batas quirúrgicas, protección ocular, guantes quirúrgicos y cualquier otro PPE, infórmenos.

NEGOCIOS DEL ÁREA – Hemos recibido varias llamadas sobre negocios del área que no siguen el protocolo de “distanciamiento social”. Todas y cada una de las quejas están siendo atendidas. Si ve un negocio que está abarrotado, infórmenos en la Extensión 267 y corregiremos estos problemas. El superintendente de policia Jerry Chlada y el jefe de bomberos Dominick Buscemi visitaron hoy las tiendas mas grandes “big box” en Cicero. Discutieron las medidas de seguridad de COVID-19 con la administración de estas tiendas. Ismael Vargas y Antonio Marzano también visitaron muchas empresas en Cicero, señalando las medidas de seguridad de gestión que pueden mejorarse. El Departamento de Salud también tiene tres (3) inspectores de salud que examinan las inspecciones o problemas relacionados con la salud que puedan surgir. Sin embargo, también debemos señalar que algunas de las quejas que recibimos con respecto a algunas empresas eran infundadas. 

PRÓXIMAS SEMANAS :: Estamos entrando en un momento muy crítico durante esta crisis. Se espera que los casos de COVID-19 aumenten sustancialmente. Recuerde a todos sus amigos y vecinos que sigan todas las reglas que se han repetido una y otra vez durante las semanas anteriores. El número de casos y muertes está aumentando exponencialmente. Ahora es el momento de un comportamiento responsable.

El personal de EOC (Emergency Operations Committee/Comité de Operaciones de Emergencia): 
Michael Piekarski
Dominick Buscemi
Jerry Chlada
Sarah Kusper 
Sue Grazzini

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Coronavirus COVID-19: State of Illinois Recommendations for Businesses

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

Coronavirus COVID-19: State of Illinois Recommendations for Businesses

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered a ban on in-dining/drinking seating service at all restaurants and bars until March 30. The order allows restaurants and bars with licenses to sell packaged alcohol to take orders and to deliver or allow pick-up from the establishments. But what about other businesses. Here is some information that might be helpful.

The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

Recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
    • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [38.0° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Separate sick employees:
    • IDPH recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
    • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Planning for a Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in the US

The severity of illness or how many people will fall ill from COVID-19 is unknown at this time. If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., employers should plan to be able to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of severity and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. For the general American public, such as workers in non-healthcare settings and where it is unlikely that work tasks create an increased risk of exposures to COVID-19, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. The CDC and its partners will continue to monitor national and international data on the severity of illness caused by COVID-19, will disseminate the results of these ongoing surveillance assessments, and will make additional recommendations as needed.

Planning Considerations

All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains. Some of the key considerations when making decisions on appropriate responses are:

  • Disease severity (i.e., number of people who are sick, hospitalization and death rates) in the community where the business is located;
  • Impact of disease on employees that are vulnerable and may be at higher risk for COVID-19 adverse health complications. Inform employees that some people may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools due to high levels of absenteeism or illness:
  • Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
  • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
  • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their business infectious disease outbreak response plan based on the condition in each locality.
  • Coordination with state and local health officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside. Since the intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location, local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.

Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan

All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.

Employers should:

  • Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
  • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

Recommendations for an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan:

  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees. OSHA has more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures to COVID-19.
  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’s and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s websites).
  • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.
  • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
  • Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the company’s infectious disease outbreak response plan, altering business operations (e.g., possibly changing or closing operations in affected areas), and transferring business knowledge to key employees. Work closely with your local health officials to identify these triggers.
  • Plan to minimize exposure between employees and also between employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.
  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners on your infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID-19 information. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.
  • In some communities, early childhood programs and K-12 schools may be dismissed, particularly if COVID-19 worsens. Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school. Businesses and other employers should prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies for these employees.
  • Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies; employers should take the time now to learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business.
  • If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the US, consider canceling non-essential business travel to additional countries per travel guidance on the CDC website.
    • Travel restrictions may be enacted by other countries which may limit the ability of employees to return home if they become sick while on travel status.
    • Consider cancelling large work-related meetings or events.
  • Engage state and  local health departments to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information. When working with your local health department check their available hours.