As City of San Francisco Issues Shelter in Place Order, Some Things to Keep in Mind in Chicago

March 17, 2020

As members become aware of additional regulations implemented in other cities, it's important to clarify what we know about those regulations and the impact they may have on their respective office buildings.

On Monday, March 16, San Francisco issued a Shelter In Place Order for a period of three weeks.

It should be noted that the shelter in place order does not require office buildings to close. Additionally, employees of essential businesses and non-essential businesses may report to work to maintain what the Order defines as “Minimum Basic Operations,” which are the operations necessary to maintain the value of the business’s inventory and to provide for the business’s security. 

BOMA/Chicago has no indication at this time that the City of Chicago is considering the issuance of a Shelter in Place order. Additionally, in conversations with BOMA/Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot has indicated that she is counting on office buildings to take the appropriate actions for the safety of their tenants and the safety of the public. 

“Essential Businesses” may stay open and their employees may leave home to go to work.  Examples of Essential Businesses include:

  • Healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, medical and mental health clinics, doctor offices, pharmacies, health care supply stores, and other health care facilities. 
  • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other store groceries.
  • Food cultivation
  • Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities.
  • Banks and related financial institutions.
  • Garbage and sanitation services and collection.
  • Hardware stores, and plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety and sanitation.
  • Schools, for distance learning and providing meals.
  • Laundromats and laundry service providers.
  • Restaurants and other prepared food facilities, but only for delivery or carry out.
  • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate; 
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences; 
  • Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
  •  Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted, subject to certain conditions discussed below.

If a business is not considered an "Essential Business" does it need to shut down?

No. Employees are allowed to perform “Minimum Basic Operations,” provided that employees maintain a distance of six feet from one another to the greatest extent feasible to carrying out:

  • The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, or for related functions.
  • The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

What are the employment functions that are permissible under the Order?

The Order identifies an extensive list of “Essential Businesses.”  The employees of these businesses may continue to work outside of their residences so that the businesses may continue to offer their goods and services.  Employees of non-essential businesses may report to work to maintain what the Order defines as “Minimum Basic Operations,” which are the operations necessary to maintain the value of the business’s inventory and to provide for the business’s security.  Additionally, government employees who are designated as essential by their government employer may continue to work outside their residence.  Any employees who work outside their residence should maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person whenever possible.

For more information, contact Ron Tabaczynski, Director of Government Affairs, at rtabaczynski@bomachicago.org or (312) 870-9611.



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