Stay home, governor orders

The rules, and what they mean for you

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, all state residents must remain in their homes under an order announced by Gov. JB Pritzker that lasts until April 7.

Businesses deemed nonessential must close. All gatherings outside a single household are prohibited, but it’s not a complete lockdown. Exemptions include trips to buy food, prescription drugs and conduct other essential business, including medical appointments. It’s also OK to take your pet to a veterinarian. Trips to work at or receive services from blood collection centers, reproductive health centers, mental health and substance abuse providers and marijuana dispensaries (both recreational and medical), as well as marijuana cultivation centers, also, are allowed.

The post office and hardware stores will remain open as will financial institutions, including pawnbrokers and payday lenders. Laundromats can stay open, and plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen can still conduct business, as can exterminators. Food banks and charities that provide social services can remain open. Suppliers to businesses deemed essential also can stay open, and the list is long, ranging from businesses that supply cleaning materials to businesses that provide computers. “(F)irearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security” also can remain open under the governor’s order.

Lawyers, accountants and those engaged in the insurance or real estate industries, including appraisers and title searchers, can remain on the job, as can journalists, taxi drivers and ride-call drivers for such businesses as Uber and Lyft. Car rental agencies can remain open, as can funeral homes.

Daycare centers except for those holding emergency licenses from the state must close. According to the order, emergency licenses will be available for centers that care for children of employees who work in sectors deemed essential. Home-based care that provides services for seniors and people with disabilities, including mental illness and substance abuse disorders, can continue. The order includes an example: A nanny can travel to a child’s home to provide care or deliver food.

Homeless people are exempt from the stay-at-home order. Local governments are urged to find shelter for them. Victims of domestic violence, also, are exempt from the stay-home order.

Walking, running, bicycling and other outdoor exercise is fine, but playgrounds should be avoided – the virus can survive on surfaces. Those who must venture outside their homes are urged to stay at least six feet away from other people.

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