Coronavirus Chicago: City wants you to report non-essential businesses you see open

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nearly a week into the governor's stay-at-home order, there is still some confusion over what qualifies as an "essential business."

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Essential businesses include: healthcare organizations and workers, police and fire, convenience stores, dry cleaners, and supermarkets.

It also includes construction and maintaining infrastructure, like SAC Wireless Chief Field Services Officer Jonathan McKinley and his staff. They're climbing phone towers in the Chicago area to keep your calls and data flowing.

"Their cell phone might be their only source of communication with their loved ones," McKinley said. "People can't live without it, especially during this time with social distancing."

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Places like theaters, amusement parks, museums, playgrounds and country clubs have all been order closed.

Chicago is cracking down, threatening up to $10,000 in fines if non-essential businesses do not close down. The city is asking you to call 311 to report an open business that shouldn't be.

"Investigators have been responding to complaints...Following up on complaints about employers who haven't been abiding by the rules of the road," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Gyms are shut down. Restaurants, if they're open, are only for takeout or delivery from another essential worker, like 66-year-old delivery driver Brian Linker.

"A lot of the people that you deliver to are really appreciative of what you do," Linker said. "They look you square in the eye and tell you thank you very much for doing this."

Hardware stores are open, and West Side garden center and design studio City Escape has opted to stay open as well. They've reducing staff to only three and personally checked with the governor's office.
"We do sell seeds," City Escape Owner Connie Rivera said. "You can see there are fresh herbs at the store so you see that is a food supply. But in addition to that, all of these green plants are cleaning our air so we are trying to give people a small outlet."

They're also offering curbside plant pickup.


What businesses are considered essential?

Chicago Stay at Home Order Frequently Asked Questionsl

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