Dear friends, 

To continue our progress in containing the spread of COVID-19, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he will extend and modify the Stay at Home Order through the end of May.

This modification is an effort to give Illinoisans more flexibility while maintaining social distancing—under the new Stay at Home Order, you may be able to spend more time outside, reopen your business or even return to work.

Here are some changes you can expect to see beginning May 1:

Face coverings will be required in public indoor spaces.

Beginning May 1, individuals over the age of 2 will be required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces where they can’t maintain six feet of social distance, including grocery stores. The modified order will also include occupancy limits for essential businesses.

You’ll have more options for outdoor activities.

State parks will begin a phased reopening in May, and fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website. Golf will also be permitted, as long as golfers respect strict safety guidelines and social distancing measures.

Some businesses will reopen.

Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries, as well as animal grooming services, will be allowed to reopen as essential businesses. Non-essential retail stores may reopen to fulfill curbside pickup and delivery orders. However, these businesses must follow social distancing guidelines and require customers and employees to wear face coverings.

 If you return to work, you’ll be safer.

Manufacturers will be required to provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six feet of social distancing. The order will also require manufacturers to adopt new practices to protect customers and employees, including staggering shifts and operating only essential lines.

The order will also include guidelines to help navigate other unexpected effects of the outbreak: Schools with dormitories will be given direction on allowing students to pick up belongings, and surgical centers and hospitals that meet strict safety criteria may be able to resume certain elective surgeries. Find more details on the modified Stay at Home Order here.

Staying home isn’t easy, but it’s the best tool we have to fight COVID-19. According to data from top academic institutions and researchers in Illinois, the Stay at Home Order has saved thousands of Illinoisans, if not more—without these restrictions in place, we may have seen up to 20 times as many deaths as we are currently experiencing.

But the fight isn’t over: The data also suggests the state would see a second wave of the virus if social distancing requirements were lifted now, which could claim tens of thousands more lives.

So for the health and safety of our friends, families, neighbors and front line workers, we must continue our efforts to contain the spread of this virus. We know many people are eager to return to their jobs, social lives and daily routines—we’re hoping that this modified order will help ease some of that restlessness.

If I can answer any questions or provide assistance to you during this difficult time, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling (630) 453-5488 or visiting

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.


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Laura Ellman

State Senator | 21st District