CHICAGO — Businesses set to reopen in coming weeks now have guidance from the state on how they can do that safely.
Most of the state will enter Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan after May 29. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago isn’t there yet, but she hopes to enter Phase 3 in early June.
Once that happens, non-essential retail stores, salons, barber shops, offices and more will be able to reopen — but they must follow health and safety rules from the state. Pritzker released those rules during a Sunday press conference.
“The virus is still out there. The vast majority of people are not immune, and the risks of mass spread that we faced before we ever had a stay at home order remained if we don’t do something different now than before the virus arrived,” Pritzker said. “And that means covering your face and maintaining some distance. It’s really that simple.”
All of the rules are available online for business owners. The state has also created tools, like downloadable reopening checklists and printable signs, for business owners.
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So far, the state’s website has guidelines for manufacturing facilities, health and fitness centers, offices, personal care services, retail, outdoor recreation, service counters, day camps, youth sports and restaurants and bars.
The guidelines across the various industries suggest people continue to work from home as much as possible, stay 6 feet away from others and wear face coverings, among other things.
But there are also industry-specific guidelines, which were made by the state through talks with hundreds of industry leaders, small businesses and major companies, Pritzker said.
For example, the guidelines for personal care services — like salons and barber shops — suggest those places reconfigure their space so customers can sit 6 feet apart, remove shared items like magazines and stop serving drinks.
The guidelines are meant to help businesses reopen, getting people back to work and revitalizing the economy, while protecting people from coronavirus and preventing another surge.
Businesses are able to add on their own more stringent guidelines, and many have opted to do so already, Pritzker said.
And the governor encouraged businesses to find ways to accommodate workers who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, like people who are elderly or have underlying health conditions. They could be given extra space or have their travel limited, for example, Pritzker said.
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