FAQ for Businesses and Mitigation Measures
Which industries are impacted in Phase 4?
Phase 4 makes way for the following industries to reopen or expand operations based on their ability to implement and ensure compliance with the safety guidelines. It marks the opportunity for thousands of businesses and thousands of Illinoisans to return to work. It includes the following major industry categories:
- Retail and Service Counters
- Personal care (i.e. barbers/salons)
- Health and fitness centers (i.e. gyms)
- Youth and recreational sports
- Spectator Sports
- Meetings and Social Events
- Film Production
- Theaters and Performing Arts
- Indoor/Outdoor recreation
- Museums and Zoos
- Day Camps
- Restaurants and Bars
- Updated guidelines for Golf and Tennis
General guideline questions for all businesses:
What are the uniform guidelines businesses should follow?
- While the guidelines vary by industry, all businesses and industries included in Phase 4 should ensure signage is displayed, conduct regular sanitizing and cleaning, promote social distancing whenever possible, and ensure staff and customers use face coverings when within 6 feet of others.
- Follow guidelines on capacity limits and group sizes (to be continually reassessed throughout Phase 4)
- Employees should complete health and safety training related to COVID-19 when returning to work.
- Employees should not report to, or remain at, work if sick or symptomatic.
- Employers should make temperature checks available for employees and encourage their use.
- Employers and businesses are also being urged to:
- Continue use of work from home arrangements
- Assign staffing with extra space for personnel
- Limit travel unless essential
- Implement on-site testing and health screening procedures
- Ensure social distancing, and in some cases, assign a staff monitor (i.e. manufacturing and other businesses where employees are in close quarters)
- Provide reasonable accommodations for vulnerable employees
What are some best practices businesses should follow to ensure customers comply with the face covering requirement?
- Businesses should consider placing an employee at the store entrance to remind individuals to wear face-coverings. Business may also post signage at the store entrance and throughout the store reminding employees of the face-covering requirements. If possible, businesses should offer face-coverings to those customers without one
- Businesses should also ensure its employees comply with the face-covering requirements, provide face-coverings to employees if needed, and instruct employees to maintain social-distancing to the extent feasible while interacting with customers
Phase 4 guidelines indicate there could be additional capacity for public events/gatherings later on. How will the state determine this?
- Capacity restrictions will be reassessed based on the latest science and public health metrics on an ongoing basis throughout Phase 4.
Do I still have to wear my face covering in Phase 4?
- Yes. IDPH and the state of Illinois continue to encourage universal guidance of wearing face coverings in group settings, outdoors, and where it is recommended. The requirement does not apply to individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering.
- In some instances, a mask is not required where other safety precautions, such as maintaining 6 feet of distance, are followed – i.e. while seated in a theater, or seated and eating or drinking at a restaurant.
What other steps must my business take to keep workers and customers safe?
- Other universal health and safety guidance for Phase 4 includes:
- All employees who can work from home should continue to do so
- Maintain social distance of 6 ft., and frequently wash hands
- Continue employee health screenings upon entry into the workplace and mid-shift screenings for employees with shifts >5 hours (virtual screening permitted)
- Follow guidelines on capacity limits and group sizes (to be continually reassessed throughout Phase 4)
What type of signs are businesses required to display in my store or on premises at the workplace?
- Businesses must post the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency. https://www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/COVID-19_WorkplaceHealth_SafetyGuidance20200505.pdf
- Other signage varies for every industry, but all businesses should display signage to encourage social distancing of 6 feet or more.
- The guidelines specify other required signage to indicate things such as closed work areas, face covering requirements; and other common/gathering areas
- Businesses, like retail, where customers may line up should display directional signage to ensure lines are spaced properly and to prevent congestion in aisles at stories
What steps do employers need to take to ensure employees don’t become sick, or come to work if they are sick?
- If practical, employer should conduct pre-shift and mid-shift temperature screening via infrared/ thermal camera or touchless thermometer, OR if not practical, employees may take their own temperature at home within four hours of start of work and ensure no fever (without fever-reducing medication) before entering the workplace
- All employers should have a wellness screening program
Can local governments adopt stricter policies than the State’s Phase 4 policies?
- Yes; local government units have the discretion to impose stricter policies based on their specific public health situation
Restaurants and Bars and Social Events/Banquets
What guidelines will restaurants and bars be subject to?
- Capacity limited based on ability to provide a minimum of six feet between tables or other designated patron service areas; maximum occupancy of 25% in indoor standing areas (i.e. bar area, waiting area for a table); link to Guidelines
- Parties of up to 10 permitted
- Booths may be seated within 6 ft if impermeable barrier in place
- Buffets and self-service food stations allowed, with queue points of 6 ft apart, sanitation stations and frequent utensil cleaning
Are tents permissible for outdoor dining?
- Subject to any required municipal and/or local liquor commission restrictions and approval requirements, tents may be used for outdoor dining if at least two sides of the tent are open to allow airflow.
- If more than two sides of the tent are enclosed, this is considered indoors for purposes of the guidelines
What is the maximum occupancy for my bar’s/restaurant’s standing area?
- Standing area capacity of restaurants or bars may operate at maximum of 25% of standing area capacity. If standing area does not have a designated capacity limit, establishments may allow up to 15 people per 1,000 square feet. Bar seating should be spaced 6-ft apart to maintain social distancing between patrons of unrelated parties.
Will banquet halls be able to reopen and under what guidelines?
- Yes, under these guidelines, banquet halls can reopen with capacity limits – the lesser of 50% of venue capacity OR 50 persons total per event, although venues may host multiple rooms of up to 50 people/50% capacity, with staggered start and end times to avoid interaction between the groups
- Dance floors should remain closed
- Event host should ask whether customer is currently exhibiting symptoms and if practical, take customer temperature
Are weddings permissible in Phase 4? If so, is there a capacity restriction?
- Weddings are permissible under the meeting and special event guidelines. Wedding capacity is limited to the lesser of 50 people or 50% of the room capacity, excluding venue staff and vendors
- A venue with multiple rooms may NOT split one wedding party in to multiple rooms
- Outdoor weddings are limited to 50 people. An outdoor wedding venue may not place multiple tents 30 feet apart to accommodate multiple groups of 50 for one wedding
- Dance floors should remain closed
Health and Fitness and Recreational Activity questions:
Will professional and other spectator sports such as baseball be allowed? Will the public be able to attend?
- Yes, under these guidelines, outdoor spectator sports that are ticketed and held in outdoor venues, arenas, stadiums, facilities, fields, or courts engaged in showing live sports games are allowed. Indoor spectator sports are not permitted at this time
- Seating capacity limit is 20% of seating capacity for spectators
- General admission shows and/or events without seating (e.g. standing room only) are not permitted at this time
- As with other guidelines, local governments can implement more restrictive requirements
What guidance will day camps need to follow?
- Increase cap on group sizes from 10 participants per 1 adult to 15 participants to 1 adult (in line with Phase 4 child care guidelines); updated guidelines
- Operators need to follow the IDPH guidelines on any water-based activities to follow IDPH guidance
- Guidance on holding activities requiring physical exertion and/or exertion of voice outdoors moved to best practice
Are overnight camps permissible?
- No; overnight camps should remain closed at this time, although they are permitted to operate under the day camp guidelines
What water-based activities are permissible at day camps?
- Day camps should follow the swimming facility guidelines set forth by IDPH. Day camps may also offer non-swim related activities, such as water balloons, sprinklers, and hoses. Slip-and-slides and similar type activities where multiple participants are in repeated contact with the equipment should not be used. Day camps should ensure each participant has his/her own towel, and proper handwashing hygiene should be observed before and after the activity.
Will public pools and waterparks be able to open in Phase 4?
- Recreational swimming and water parks will be open and should follow the IDPH Guidelines
Will playgrounds reopen in Phase 4? If so, with what restrictions?
- Indoor playgrounds are to remain closed
- Units of local government are provided the discretion to determine if outdoor playgrounds can open; the playground should be limited to no more than 50 persons at the playground, individuals should follow social distancing guidance and all other applicable IDPH guidance
Are there guidelines for health and fitness facilities to open safely?
- Health and fitness updated guidelines;
- Health and fitness centers can open with capacity limits of no more than 50% of occupancy at any given time; fitness classes of up to 50 people
- Workout stations should be configured to be 6 ft apart (either positioned or decommissioning at certain stations) and are allowed to be 3 ft apart with impermeable barriers installed
Will indoor children’s play venues be allowed to operate in Phase 4 (trampoline facilities, bounce houses, playlands)?
- No, indoor trampoline parks, bounce houses, and playlands should be closed
Can you apply the 50-person gathering limit to 5K or 10K races?
- Yes. Under the executive order, gatherings should be limited to 50 people participating in the activity. Applying the principle to running races, they can be held if the start times are staggered enough so that the groups do not mix with one another regardless of the individuals pace running and/or walking. The minimum guidelines should be staggered starts of 30 minutes and the start and finish points should be different locations to avoid gatherings over 50 people. Municipalities and local public health departments are provided discretion in methods to implement the remainder of the guidelines for youth and recreational sports (Link here).
Tourism and Entertainment Questions:
Which phase of the plan will include tourism?
- Restore Illinois provides guidance to residents and businesses, organized according to major industries and activities
- While each specific industry may not have its own specific guidance – businesses as well as residents are encouraged to adhere to the overarching principles of the Restore IL plan
- Phase 4 offers specific guidance on several activities that are relevant or could fall into the category of tourism in Illinois – including museums, zoos, outdoor recreation, and outdoor seated spectator events with limited seating capacities
- While residents traveling to the state should continue to take precautions, Illinois continues to provide a lot to offer for residents venturing on road trips or taking in any one of the many scenic sites our state has to offer
Can live filming commence under Phase 4?
- Film sets can operate at up to 50% capacity of location or sound stage capacity; overall group sizes limited to 50, including crowd scenes; guidelines
Will museums and zoos reopen in Phase 4?
- Yes, Phase 4 guidelines for reopening zoos; link to zoo guidelines
- Public facing areas with capacity limits of no more than 25% of occupancy at any given time; indoor zoo exhibits should remain closed
- Guided tours limits to 50 people or fewer; audio tour equipment must be cleaned before and after use by a guest or suspended; museum guidelines
- Hands on exhibits should be closed or modified to eliminate the hands-on component (e.g. interactive touch screens, historical replicas, etc.)
Are movie theatres permitted in Phase 4?
- Yes; indoor and outdoor movie theaters are permitted to be open in Phase 4.
- Capacity limits of the lesser of 50 people OR 50% of venue seating; 50 person limit applies per theater for cinemas with multiple screening rooms
- Cleaning and disinfecting of occupied seats or tables between use by different groups or parties, and again at closing time
- Theaters and performing arts guidelines
Are outdoor concerts allowed in Phase 4?
- Outdoor concerts will be permitted if ticketed and seated events; link to guidelines
- The capacity limit for the venue is 20% of the seating capacity
Are drive-in theaters and concerts permissible in Phase 4?
- Yes. In addition to following the safety and sanitation procedures set forth in the theatre and performing arts guidelines, drive-in theater and concert venues should follow these additional guidelines:
- Each vehicle is limited to four individuals
- Oversized vehicles are not permitted (buses, RVs, limousines)
- Venues must obtain the name, address, phone number and email address of at least one person per vehicle
- Tickets should be purchased on-line or over the phone in advance of the performance
- Venues should provide landmarks for attendees to easily identify where there are/were in the venue
- If patrons will exit the vehicle (concerts), vehicles must be parked in every third parking spot
- Individuals exiting the vehicle must remain in one space immediately adjacent to their vehicle
- Spaces should be clearly outlined (e.g. parking cones, parking stop, etc.) for ease of enforcement of social distancing measures between spaces
- Tents are not permitted
- Venue staff should monitor area to ensure groups are not congregating
- If patrons will remain in the vehicle (movie theaters), vehicles must be parked in every other spot
- Individuals must wear masks when outside of their vehicle or designated space
Are flea markets permissible in Phase 4?
- Yes. In addition to following the retail guidelines, flea markets should follow these extra precautions
- For both indoor and outdoor flea markets, venue capacity should not exceed 25%, or 15 people per 1,000 square feet
- Booths/exhibits should be spaced the lesser of every third spot, or 30 feet apart
- Indoor flea markets should open windows and doors for fresh air flow
- Face coverings should always be worn, whether indoor or outdoor
- Flea Markets that offer food and beverage should follow the indoor and outdoor dining guidelines
- Flea Markets should have hand sanitizer available for customers upon entering the flea market and/or available at various locations within the flea market
- If possible, vendors should use an impermeable barrier or a second table between vendors and customers
- Flea Market should have employees monitoring the venue to ensure customers are social distancing and wearing face coverings
Are pumpkin patches permitted?
- Generally, yes. However, amusement rides such as train rides, hay rides, and inflatables must remain closed. Hands-on exhibits should be closed or modified to eliminate the hands-on component. Indoor exhibits must also remain closed. Capacity should not exceed 25%. Venues should encourage on-line tickets orders. Employees and patrons should wear face coverings and comply with the social distancing measures set forth in the executive order.
Can individuals and/or teams play competitive games out of state?
- Out-of-state travel for competitive games by individuals and/or teams is strongly discouraged. Additionally, teams should comply with local orders prohibiting travel or requiring self-quarantine if they travel to certain states.
Can lower risk travel/club sports play competitive games throughout the state?
- No. All lower risk sports are limited to intra-conference, intra-EMS-region, or intra-league competitions. If a travel/club sport does not have a defined conference, but rather is part of a statewide or multi-EMS region league, then the team is limited to playing other teams from within the EMS region from which that team is located
Do regular dance classes and lessons fall under the All Sports Guidelines?
- No. Competitive dance where participants perform dances in front of judges fall under the all sports guidelines. Dance classes that are not competitive, but rather may have an end of session performance, should follow the health and fitness guidelines
Is there a limit for the number of people that can be on a team for medium risk sports?
- Yes, teams should not exceed 25 participants, excluding coaches
Do people have to wear face coverings if indoor and they can stay six feet apart?
- Yes; face coverings should be worn at all times while exercising or participating in a practice or competition
Do the All Sports Guidelines differentiate between indoor volleyball and outdoor volleyball?
- No. The restrictions set forth in the guidelines apply to both indoor and outdoor volleyball
What about sports played in the park and not affiliated with a club or a park district program? Is that permissible?
- Municipalities and park districts have discretion whether they will permit these activities. If the activities are permitted, at a minimum, participants should follow the all-sports guidelines to extent they are applicable including face coverings for indoor and outdoor sports, regular hand washing, and maintaining social distancing when not participating in the sport
Which guidelines should bowling follow?
- Bowling not associated with a school sport should follow the bowling guidelines
Are there updated golf guidelines?
- Yes. Notable differences from the previous guidelines include: Two people are permitted to ride together in a cart if they live in the same household without a facial cloth covering. If two people who do NOT live in the same household are sharing a cart, a facial cloth covering is required; updated guidelines
- Tournaments and shotgun starts are permitted. Golf courses should develop procedures to ensure that individuals do no congregate in groups excess of 50 before or after the tournament
- Individual caddies are permitted. Caddies should wear face coverings when within six feet of a golfer or caddie. The golf club should have updated parental consent for all caddies under 18. Caddies should not congregate in groups larger than 50
Are there updated guidelines for tennis or pickleball in Phase 4?
- Yes. Tennis facilities and player safety for adult tennis can operate under these updated guidelines. Youth tennis should follow the all sports guidelines.
Region Mitigation Measures Questions
How long will these mitigation measures be in place for?
- The region will operate under these measures until 14 days have passed and the region reaches a 7-day rolling positive rate average of less than 6.5%.
Why are the Region 7 mitigation measures more stringent than the Region 4 restrictions?
- The Resurgence Plan outlined possible mitigations that could be taken based on region specific conditions. The mitigations for Region 7 reflect the current health conditions and appropriate mitigations based on the latest public health approach. The mitigation measures may change as the conditions in a region evolve. The State views both region’s data with a focus on protecting the public health and safety of its residents.
Why aren’t other close contact businesses, like fitness centers, being closed as well?
- The current data indicates that infections are coming from social encounters, such as bars, restaurants and large gatherings and this first tier of mitigations is focused on addressing those sources of community spread. If the regional seven-day rolling average for positivity rate remains above 8% over the next 14 days, IDPH may establish additional mitigations affecting more sectors in order to reduce infections.
Which entities will be charged with enforcement of these new rules?
- State and local law enforcement along with local health departments.
How is the State coordinating with local officials and businesses themselves to implement these changes on short notice?
- DCEO and DPH will notify local law enforcement agencies and local health departments, and has been the case throughout the pandemic, is in consistent communication with the business community to address their questions and assist in their ability to implement these new mitigations.
Business Specific Questions:
Do the mitigation measures impact drive-thru, take-out or delivery for restaurants?
- No. Mitigations do not restrict take-out, drive-thru, or delivery options for restaurants. The guidance only provides for additional operating restrictions for indoor dining.
Can bars and restaurants allow walk-in patrons?
- Bars and restaurants should take reservations for all parties entering the premises for contact tracing purposes. However, bars and restaurants can accept walk-ins provided they record the contact information of at least one person in the party.
Do bars and restaurants need to stop accepting customers at 11:00 p.m., or do they have to clear the premises by 11:00 p.m.?
- All patrons must be off the premises by 11:00 p.m. and may reopen at 6:00 a.m. or later. Drive-thru, carry out, and delivery service is still permitted after 11:00 p.m., but customers must depart after obtaining their food and there should not be congregation of customers outside of the restaurant after closure time.
Can restaurants still utilize plexiglass between booths as a barrier?
- Yes, plexiglass is still a permissible method for restaurants to separate parties within a restaurant.
Do mitigation measures that restrict indoor dining and service at restaurants and bars apply to movie theaters, bowling alleys and food courts?
- Indoor concessions at places like movie theaters and bowling alleys may still operate delivery and takeaway service consistent with the Phase 4 restaurant guidance and applicable mitigations.
- Customers must consume food or beverage items off site or at their seat, lane etc. provided these areas are also consistent with applicable guidance.
- Businesses within food courts may remain open for sales and takeaway, however, dining area tables must be rendered out of service or otherwise restricted from use.
What is the guidance for reception halls?
- Reception halls generally refer to a building or space with primary purpose of entertaining large groups of people for social or entertainment purposes. Capacity is limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25% overall room capacity.
Are there changes to movie theater or drive-in movie theater guidance?
- No; the mitigation measures do not outline any changes for movie theaters or drive-in movie theaters. The capacity for a theater is the lesser of 50 guests or 50% of the overall theater or performance space capacity and should follow the guidelines for Phase 4. Drive-in theaters and concerts should follow the State’s FAQ.
Do the gathering and meeting limits contained in the mitigation measures apply to Adult Day Care Services?
- No. The resurgence mitigation measures would not affect adult day care “indoor” activities or services. Adult day care services proceed because they are not meetings or gatherings.