Stay at Home FAQ's

On Friday, March 20th, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10 requiring all Illinoisans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The order prohibits things like visiting the homes of friends and holding gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential establishments, including most retail, recreation and entertainment businesses. It does NOT prohibit essential activities like going to the grocery store, receiving medical care, or taking your pet for a walk. For more information on what this order means for you, please see below. Click here to view the State of Illinois’ FAQ for this executive order.

When does the order take effect?

The order will take effect Saturday, March 21st at 5pm CST. 

Where does the Stay at Home order apply?

The Governor’s executive order includes the entire state. Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity, you should stay home.

Is this mandatory or just guidance?

This order is mandatory. To help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Illinois and protect our friends, neighbors, and vulnerable populations, please stay home.

What does it mean to “stay at home?”

The term “stay at home” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary for one of the exceptions listed in the State of Illinois Order.

What is the difference between “stay at home” and “social distancing”?

Stay at home is a more rigorous form of social distancing.
Staying at home means you:
  • Must stay at home
  • Can only leave your home for “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” or for “essential travel,” which are defined in the Order.
  • Cannot host or attend any gatherings
You should also maintain 6 foot distance from other people as much as possible, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time (or use hand sanitizer), frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces, and stay home if you are sick. 

How will this order be enforced?

Staying home is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in your community. The Illinois State Police will work with local law enforcement to enforce this order but adhering to the order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Illinoisan to do their part.

Will the Illinois National Guard be enforcing this order? 

The Illinois National Guard will be supporting logistics, transportation, and medical response efforts. The Guard will not be enforcing this order.

I work in an essential service. How will the police know I’m allowed to be outside my house?

Law enforcement officials will not stop residents who are on their way to or from work or who are out for necessities like going to the pharmacy or getting groceries, or just taking a walk. Illinoisans should abstain from all nonessential activities. Adhering to the order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Illinoisan to do their part.

What if I still have to go to work?

Unless your work is an essential function (i.e. healthcare provider, grocery store clerk, first responder), you should stay home. If you have been designated essential by your employer, you should continue to go to work and practice social distancing.

Can I take my child to day care?

If you are considered an essential worker under the Order, you can take your child to a day care that is licensed on an emergency basis for the purpose of childcare for essential workers. Licensed day care homes for up to 12 children will be closed but may reopen as an unlicensed day care home for up to 6 children.

Will grocery stores be open? 

Yes, essential services will still be operational including, but not limited to:

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Police stations
  • Fire stations
  • Hospitals, clinics and healthcare operations
  • Garbage/sanitation
  • Public transportation
  • Public benefits (i.e. SNAP, Medicaid) hotlines
  • A full list can be found in the executive order at coronavirus.illinois.gov
Can I go to a restaurant, café, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location?

Yes, but only to pick up food. You cannot dine, eat, or drink in or around the facility. 

I don’t cook—how can I purchase meals?

Restaurants and similar establishments are encouraged to remain open to supply meals to the public via delivery and carryout. You can also purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers.

Can I leave home to visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need or I am not performing an essential activity?

For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

Can I still get my mail and deliveries?

Yes. You will still be able to get mail and other deliveries at your home.  

Can I order food/groceries? 

Yes, grocery delivery will be available as well as meal-delivery, drive through, and take-out options.

Can I still order the things I need online and have them delivered to my residence?

Yes. Businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences are “essential businesses” that may continue to operate.

Can I go out to do laundry or have my laundry done?

Yes. Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers are considered essential businesses that will remain open.  However, if you are experiencing symptoms or are currently in isolation, you should stay at home and follow the guidelines provide by your physician.

Can I go shopping for things other than food/groceries?

Yes. You can shop for anything that is related to health care, hardware supplies, supplies needed to telecommute, and supplies essential to safety and sanitation. But you should minimize unnecessary trips.

Can I get my prescriptions or other health care needs? Can I leave home to go to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled?

Yes. Drug stores and other medical supply stores are allowed to operate. When possible you should have prescription medicines and health care supplies delivered to your home.

How can I get medical care if I need it? 

If you are feeling sick, call your doctor, a nurse hotline, any telehealth hotline set up specifically for COVID-19 (check with your insurance company) or an urgent care center. Do not go to an emergency room unless necessary. Nonessential medical care like eye exams and teeth-cleaning should be postponed. When possible, healthcare visits should be done remotely. Contact your healthcare provider to see what tele-health services they provide.

Can I still seek non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, elective procedures, etc.?

Generally you should postpone non-essential medical and dental care if possible. If it can wait, then wait. Check with your provider for specific guidance. They may cancel services. Please understand the risk you pose to others by pursuing health care or maintenance care that can wait a few weeks.

Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?

You should maintain the same level of household supplies (food, cleaning products, etc.) as you normally would. Stores will remain open and stocked. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally follow. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.

What should I do if I’m sick? If I or a family member need immediate medical attention, can I leave home to go to the doctor or hospital?

If you are feeling sick, first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. But you can and should seek medical advice if you or a family member is sick. If it is not an emergency, please contact your primary care provider to determine next steps. Also, you can check online resources to help you assess symptoms if you are worried about whether you or a loved one has COVID-19.  You should check https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html for more information. Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves?  Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Be extremely cautious when providing care to vulnerable people and ensure that you protect them and yourself by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue. 

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

You may visit a hospital or other healthcare facility only for the purpose of obtaining health care services and supplies. Non-essential visitations are barred. Do not visit a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or residential care facility other than for the purpose of securing care. People over 60 years of age are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

What is the guidance for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities? 

State Operated Developmental Centers, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Community Integrated Living Arrangements will continue to provide care. All in-home direct care staff are considered essential staff and should continue to support individuals in the home setting.

If you have any specific questions about your support and services, please reach out to your provider or Individual Service Coordination (ISC) Agency. To receive updated information on DDD services, please sign up for our email database, or to update your contact and service information, please visit www.DDD.Illinois.gov.

What if I can’t get out of the home? How can I get supplies and food?

Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. You can also order food and other supplies, and have them delivered to your home. 

Can I leave home to go to my church, synagogue, or mosque?

No. Large gatherings, such as church services, will be cancelled to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For your safety as well as the safety of your fellow worshippers, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. Places of worship may offer remote access to services, such as by emails, video streaming, or teleconference.

Can I leave home to exercise?

If you will be outdoors and not in close contact with other people, yes. Otherwise, no. You can go outside for exercise so long as you maintain social distancing (more than 6 feet from persons who are not part of your household). This includes activities like walks, hikes, or bike rides. 

Does the Stay-at-Home order mean I can’t take my kids to the park?

State parks will be closed during the Stay at Home order. Families will still be able to go outside and take a walk, run, or bike rid but should continue to practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from other people. Playgrounds are closed because they pose a high risk of increasing transmission.

Can I walk my dog/pet?

Yes. Be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from others who are not part of your household.

Can I go to a vet or pet hospital if my pet is sick?

Yes. Please call first to determine if the vet has any restrictions in place.

Will public transportation and ride sharing be available?

Public transportation and ride sharing should be used for essential travel only. When possible, walk or drive yourself. 

Will roads in Illinois be closed?

No, the roads will not be closed in Illinois. You should only travel if it is essential to your work or health.

Can I take a flight out of state?  

Planes and any other form of travel should only be used for essential purposes.

What if my home is not a safe environment? 

If it is not safe for you to remain home, you are able and urged to find another safe place to stay during this order.  Please reach out so we can help. You may call the domestic violence hotline at 1-877-863-6338 or contact your local law enforcement.

Can I pick up meals being provided by my child’s school?

Yes. Schools that provide free food services to students will continue on a pick-up and take-home basis. However, if you are experiencing symptoms or are currently in isolation, you should stay at home and follow the guidelines provided by your physician.

What if I think my business should be closed but I’m still being asked to operate? 

Essential businesses will remain open during the Stay at Home order to provide services that are vital to the lives of Illinoisans. Those businesses include, but are not limited to, pharmacies, certain government offices, day care centers that provide care for the children of essential employees, and restaurants providing take-out meals. If you work for an essential business, you should continue to practice social distancing and should stay at home outside of work hours. If you believe your business is nonessential but are still being asked to show up to work, you may discuss with your employer.