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Gov. Pritzker Announces Modified Stay-At-Home Order: What Is Essential/Prohibited?

L: Man carrying groceries while wearing mask in Skokie (AP); center: Decatur Memorial Hospital sign; right: Crystal Lake Park in Urbana (Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom)

CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has extended the state’s stay-at-home order through the month of May. The order includes modifications, however, and includes some phased re-opening of state parks and non-essential businesses with social distancing guidelines.

The governor also announced that people will be required to wear face masks in public places where they can’t maintain a six-foot distance. The new order will take effect May 1 and last through May 30. Gov. Pritzker says the extension could potentially prevent thousands of more deaths.

“Make no mistake, Illinois has saved lives,” Gov. Pritzker said during a press briefing April 23. “By staying home and social distancing, we have kept our infection and death rates for the months of March and April thousands below the rates projected had we not implemented these mitigation strategies.

“I know how badly we all want our normal lives back,” he continued. “But this is the part where we have to dig in and understand that the sacrifices we’ve made as a state to avoid a worst-case scenario are working—and we need to keep going a little while longer to finish the job.”

According to Illinois.gov, here are the modifications to the new executive order effective May 1:


  • Greenhouses, garden centers, animal grooming services and nurseries: Along with the full list of essential businesses you can find here, the new order effective May 1 will allow greenhouses, garden centers, animal grooming services and nurseries to re-open as essential businesses. These businesses must require employees and customers to wear face coverings.


  • Non-essential retail stores, though not considered essential by the new order, will be allowed to re-open for phone and online orders. They will also be able to resume pick-up and delivery services.


  • Starting May 11, hospitals and Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Centers (ASTCs) will be allowed to begin conducting certain procedures, including elective outpatient and inpatient surgeries, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Hospitals will be required to fulfill several requirements before being able to go through with elective inpatient procedures. They will need to have more than 20% of operating capacity for adult medical/surgical beds, more than 20% of operating capacity for ICU beds and more than 20% of hospital ventilator availability.
  • Proper protective personal equipment (PPE), social distancing guidelines and screening of elective surgery patients will be required.


  • Some state parks will be allowed to re-open in phases, under guidance from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and using social distancing.
  • Hiking, fishing and boating will be allowed for groups of no more than two people.
  • Visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, beaches and concessions at state parks will remain closed.
  • Illinois state parks allowed to re-open May 1 include:
    • Northwest Illinois: Argyle Lake State Park, Jubilee College State Park, Lowden State Park, Morrison-Rockwood State Park, Rock Island Trail, Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area.
    • Northeastern Illinois: Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail, Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park, North Point Marina.
    • East Central Illinois: Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, Eagle Creek State Park, Kickapoo State Recreation Area, Wolf Creek State Park.
    • West Central Illinois:  Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area, Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area, Sangchris Lake State Park, Siloam Springs State Park, Washington County State Recreation Area.
    • Southern Illinois: Fort Massac State Park, Giant City State Park, Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area.


CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect a start date of May 11 for allowing certain medical procedures to resume.

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