“Should I reopen my business while the stay-at-home order is still in effect in Illinois?”
Many people are asking that question – especially after seeing our neighboring states reopen local businesses.
But if you’re in Illinois, it’s a hard no. That’s because if you reopen your business despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, you’re facing a misdemeanor charge. While the governor says that giving someone a misdemeanor charge for reopening a business is a “lighter enforcement mechanism” than ordering a business to close or suspending a business license, the fact is that a misdemeanor goes on your criminal record.
We are currently working during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are charged with a misdemeanor for opening your business, call us immediately.
That means if a judge convicts you, you’ll have a criminal record over opening a business in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows or any other city in Illinois.
And that’s where it stays unless you take steps to have it sealed.
What Happens if a Judge Convicts You of a Misdemeanor for Opening Your Business in Illinois?
If you’re convicted of a Class A misdemeanor for opening your business in Illinois while the stay-at-home order is in effect, you could spend up to 364 days in jail and pay fines ranging from $75 to $2,500. That’s why you need to get in touch with a Cook County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Pritzker’s rationale is about community safety, but is a misdemeanor criminal charge really the answer?
“There are people who are endangering people in their own communities, and we wanted to be able to give local officials, local law enforcement the ability to do what they needed to do,” Pritzker said.
Non-essential business can’t open for quite some time if the state follows through with his reopening plan – and even then, it’s divided by regions according to this map (the counties in each region are listed in Table 1-1 below).
As you can see, we’re in the Northeast Region, in Cook County. That means if you’re a business owner, you must wait until the Northeast Region is in the appropriate phase (listed in Table 1-2 below) before you can open your business without facing a misdemeanor charge.
Table 1-1: Regions of Illinois Designated for Reopening Businesses
What is Pritzker’s Reopening Plan for Businesses, Gatherings, Schools and Nonessential Retail?
Check out Table 1-2, which details each phase of Pritzker’s reopening plan.
Table 1-2: Gov. Pritzker’s Reopening Plan for Illinois
|Activity||Phase 1||Phase 2||Phase 3||Phase 4||Phase 5|
|Gatherings||Essential gatherings must have 10 or fewer people
No nonessential gatherings.
|Essential gatherings must have 10 or fewer people
No nonessential gatherings
|All gatherings of 10 or fewer people allowed||Gatherings of 50 or fewer people allowed||Large gatherings of all sizes can resume|
Schools and universities closed
|Remote learning. Schools and universities closed||Remote learning. Schools and universities closed||All schools and universities can open||All schools and universities can open|
|Child care||Must be 10 or fewer and for essential workers only||Must be 10 or fewer and for essential workers only||Limited child care and summer youth activities can open||Child care can open with guidance||All open|
|Restaurants||Open for drive-thru, pickup and delivery||Open for drive-thru, pickup and delivery||Open for drive-thru, pickup and delivery.||Open with capacity limits||All open|
|Nonessential businesses||Nonessential businesses are operating from home||Nonessential businesses are operating from home||Employees can return to work||Employees can return to work||All open|
|Essential retail||Open with restrictions||Open with restrictions||Open with restrictions||Open with restrictions||All open|
|Nonessential retail||Closed||Open for delivery and curbside pickup||Open with capacity limits||Open with capacity limits||All open|
|Manufacturing||Essential only||Essential only||Nonessential with distancing||All open with distance||All open|
|Travel||Emergency travel and nonessential travel allowed but discouraged||Emergency travel and nonessential travel allowed but discouraged||All allowed, following CDC guidance||All allowed, following CDC guidance||All allowed, following CDC guidance|
|Health clubs||Closed||Closed||Can provide limited training and activities||Open with capacity limits||All open|
|Personal care||Closed||Closed||Allowed with guidance||Open with capacity limits||All open|
|Outdoor activities||Distanced outdoor activities||Some state parks open
Outdoor activities like boating, fishing and golf allowed
|State parks open
Activities with 10 or fewer people allowed
|All allowed||All allowed|
|Entertainment venues||Closed||Closed||Closed||Movies and theatres can open with capacity limits||Large events and festivals can resume|
What to Do if You Get Charged With a Misdemeanor for Reopening Your Business in Illinois
If you’re charged with a misdemeanor for reopening your business in Illinois, you probably need help from a Chicago criminal defense attorney.
Call us immediately at 847-920-4540 – don’t waste any time. If it’s easier, fill out the form below to tell us what happened.
We may be able to help you, but you need to act quickly. Call us as soon as you get a citation from the police.