Writen By: Scott E. Pointner, Esq. and James P. Arrigo, Esq.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020 – 10, entitled Executive Order In Response To COVID-19 (the “Order”). In Section 1, all individuals living within the State of Illinois were ordered to “stay at home or at their place of residence” unless specifically exempted by the Order. This leaves many condominium and homeowners associations wondering how to comply with the Order while continuing necessary operations. Unfortunately, reference to the Illinois Condominium Property Act and the Common Interest Community Association (“CICA”) Act offer no guidance. This article will briefly identify portions of the Order that exempt many employees and agents of condominium and homeowners associations to allow them to continue doing their jobs, or at least significant portions thereof. Given the legal ramifications of violating the Order (see Section 17 regarding enforcement), everyone is encouraged to read the order prior to leaving their homes or places of residence to ensure their planned activities are exempt.
Although there may be a half dozen or more provisions applicable to any individual association, the breadth of Sections 12 and 13 of the Order likely grant many associations ample authority to continue to allow their staff and agents to work as usual, especially when it comes to public safety/security personnel, maintenance workers, and essential functions such as finance. Specifically, the following are the various sections and provisions from the Order with potential implications on associations:
- In Section 2, Nonessential Business And Operations are to cease, except as exempted by the terms of the Order. To the greatest extent feasible, essential businesses that remain open are to enforce Social Distancing Requirements of maintaining a six foot social distance.
- In Section 3, all places of Public Amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, are closed to the public, which include outdoor activity locations like children’s play centers and playgrounds, unless otherwise exempt. Associations should thus consider closing such locations.
- In Section 4, all travel, including by automobile and bicycle, is prohibited, except for essential travel and essential activities as are later defined.
- In Section 5, Essential Activities include travel for health and safety for family or household members which includes pets. (Subsection a). Subsection b allows for transportation for necessary supplies such as groceries, household consumer products, supplies needed to work from home, and “products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.” Subsection c allows for outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running, and biking, so long as Social Distancing Requirements are honored. Construing Section 3’s prohibition from public use of playgrounds with Section 5’s allowance of walking, hiking, running, and biking means that while playgrounds and similar gathering places should be closed, hiking and biking trails, and lake activities may remain open. Subsection d allows for transportation “to perform work providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations… or to otherwise carry out… Minimum Basic Operations.”
- Section 7 allows individuals to leave their residence to work for Healthcare and Public Health Operations which include “providers of any related and/or ancillary healthcare services.” These definitions are to be broadly construed, but will not include things like fitness gyms, salons, and similar facilities. This provision likely exempts association staff and/or agents that patrol and/or maintain private roads to keep the roadways safe and in working order for public health operations.
- Section 8 provides an exemption to work for Human Services Operations, which include work in “residential settings and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness.” The definition is to be “construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of human services, broadly defined.” To the extent association staff and/or agents may be serving even one person with disabilities within the development, their activities would technically fall under this exemption.
- Section 9 exempts work for Essential Infrastructure, which includes “building management and maintenance” which is to be “construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the essential infrastructure, broadly defined.
- Section 12 exempts work for Essential Businesses and Operations, which includes in Subsection c services for individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency. Subsection e exempts businesses needed for transportation, which would include personnel necessary to secure not only private roadways in developments, but also work to secure access to individual units within condominium buildings. Subsection o allows for work to support private and public transportation. Subsection r allows for businesses related to real estate, which is arguably the broadest grant of authority with regard to associations.
- Section 13 is a catchall for Minimum Basic Operations, which allows employees, so long as they comply with Social Distancing Requirements, to allow them to carry out “the minimum necessary activities to . . . preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security… or for related functions.” Because individual circumstances will vary from one association to the next, we recommend that you consult with your association’s counsel.
If you have questions about how these new laws may impact your business or association, contact Scott Pointner at 630-668-8500.
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