2 N. Riverside Plaza,
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-897-2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815-455-3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847-637-5140


2 N. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1830
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312.897.2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Ste. 900
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815.455.3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Ste. 240
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847.637.5140


7047 East Greenway Parkway
Suite 250
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Phone: 847-637-5140

Additional offices in Warrenville, Naperville, Saint Charles, and Lake Forest

What is an Essential Business during COVID-19?

by | Mar 23, 2020 | Uncategorized

Essential Businesses & Operations

Executive Order 20-10 requires all non-essential businesses and operations to cease all activities except
for minimum basic operations. Non-essential businesses may also continue operations consisting
exclusively of employees or contractors working from home.

What businesses and operations are considered essential?

EO 20-10 identifies the following as essential businesses and operations:

  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations (includes business in the supply chain)
  • Human Services Operations
  • Essential Infrastructure
    • Food production, distribution and
      sale; construction, building
      management and maintenance,
      airports, utilities, distribution
      centers, transportation.
  • Essential Government Functions
    • First responders, emergency
      personnel, law enforcement, safety
      and welfare.
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage and cannabis production
    and agriculture
  • Charitable and social services
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for
  • Financial institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades
    • Plumbers, electricians,
      exterminators, cleaning and
      janitorial staff, security, etc.
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery
    and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for essential businesses and
  • Transportation (airlines, taxis, ridesharing)
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services (legal, accounting,
    insurance, real estate)
  • Day care centers for employees exempted
    by the Executive Order
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply
    chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

My business falls within one of the categories. Can I require my employees come to work?

  • The intent of the EO is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places
    of residence. Even essential businesses and operations should promote telecommuting whenever
  • Consider alternating work schedules to minimize the number of employees in the office at the
    same time.
  • To the greatest extent feasible, essential businesses and operations shall comply with social
    distancing requirements, including maintaining six-foot foot social distancing for both employees
    and members of the public at all times. They must also take the following practice measures
    wherever possible:
    • Designating with signage, tape, or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and
      customers in line to maintain appropriate distance;
    • Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and
    • Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers;
    • Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue
      services by phone or remotely.

I’m not sure if my business falls within one of those categories

Please read the Executive Order as it provides much more information of what businesses and operations
are essential. If after the order you still have questions, provide the following information:

  • What general industry are you in?
  • What products do you make/what services do you perform?
    • Where/when do those products/services go into the stream of commerce?
    • Which specific medical or other essential business do you supply products to?
  • Is there a pending order or a routine schedule for shipments?
  • Can any of your business functions be performed remotely?
  • How many employees do you have?
    • Can your employees work remotely?
    • If some or all of the employees must be at the place of business, can operations be
      modified so that employees work in shifts (one week at home; one week at the place of
  • What is the physical layout of the facility where people work?
    • Where do employees eat? Is that cleaned frequently and is there room to social distance?
    • Are restrooms cleaned frequently and stocked with soap?
    • Do you have hand sanitizer available?
    • How will you be able to ensure proper distancing?
  • Explain why you believe your business falls within one of the essential business categories.

My business is not considered an “Essential Business,” does this order require the business to shut down my facility?

  • You and your employees are allowed to perform “Minimum Basic Operations” at your work place, so long as employees maintain a distance of six feet from one another to the greatest extent feasible. Minimum Basic Operations include maintaining the value of inventory, payroll, ensuring security, and ensuring that employees can work remotely. Other than to maintain “Minimum Basic Operations,” employees can only work remotely from their residences.

My technology company provides products and services that the public needs to access critical services. Is my company being completely shut down?

  • No. However, most employees of such companies will need to work from home. Anyone who must work onsite to maintain “Essential Infrastructure” for the community or to maintain “Minimum Basic Operations” as described in the Order may continue to work in the workplace so long as they are maintaining social distancing.

Are companies that sell only CDB products and/or nutritional supplements, but not medicine or other medications not requiring a prescription, considered essential businesses?

  • No. Companies that only sell these products do not fall within Section 12(a) of the Executive Order.

Can people who reside in Illinois but perform manufacturing or supply chain work outside the state (where there is no such order in place) be able to travel to their jobs?

  • Yes. This order covers businesses in Illinois and their operations; it does not cover businesses that are located outside of Illinois.

Can a retail store have one person come in on a daily basis to pack up online orders and take them to the post office?

  • Yes. Maintaining inventory is considered a minimum basic operation that non-essential businesses can continue to perform.

Can a personal trainer have exercise training sessions with 5 or fewer people?

  • No. Professional services such as a personal trainer is not considered essential business under the restrictions contained in the executive order.

Would manufacturers that produce products for the transportation and construction sectors qualify under Sec. 12(t) of Essential Businesses? (e.g. supply products or parts for street/highway signs and construction sites)

  • Depends. Additional questions need to be answered such as: what is the role that the product plays in the agricultural supply chain and the demand for said product during the period of time subject to the executive order?

Can golf courses stay open?

  • No; recreational sports businesses including golf courses are not considered essential businesses under the executive order.

Are car dealerships considered essential businesses?

  • Car dealerships can remain open for repair services. They can also remain open for car sales on an appointment-only basis. Showrooms must remain closed.

Can residential and commercial lawn service remain open?

  • Yes. Many landscape projects will fit under an exemption such as construction, agriculture, or public works. Outdoor landscape projects generally will provide for good social distancing that poses little risk of transmission, but it still is important to ensure the ability to wash or sanitize hands and take other precautions.

Is residential remodeling an essential business?

  • Generally yes, residential remodeling falls within Section 9 of the Executive Order. However, residential remodeling companies must ensure social distancing compliance during their work.