On November 17, 2020, the Governor announced, due to the surge in COVID cases, the entire State of Illinois will undergo Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation Measures. The Tiered Resurgence Mitigation Plan first emerged in July 2020 to slow the spread of COVID in an effort to lessen the impact of COVID cases on hospitals. In July, each portion of the State of Illinois was divided into regions that would move along the various Tiers. Pursuant to the Tiered Resurgence Mitigation Plan, the Illinois Department of Public Health tracks the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in the identified regions over a fourteen (14) day monitoring period. Movement between tiers and the relaxing of mitigations will be dependent on a region experiencing less than 12 percent test positivity rate for three consecutive days AND greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability AND declining COVID hospitalizations in 7 out of 10 days.

Effective November 20, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., all 11 regions of the State moved into Tier 3 Mitigations. Tier 3 aims to encourage individuals to limit gatherings and stay home to the maximum extent possible while allowing some industries to remain open at reduced capacity in compliance with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) health and safety protocols.  

Though libraries are not explicitly identified in the IDPH guidance, they categorically align with  “infrastructure, governments, logistics and warehousing”.  Previously such entities were not subject to specific guidance, therefore, under the Tier 3 Mitigation measures, they will be permitted to continue with regular operations.  That being said, these organizations are encouraged to voluntarily comply with the Tier 3 Mitigation Measures where possible. This includes adhering to recommendations associated with customer service industries and limiting capacity to 25 percent and maximizing work from home where feasible. On November 19, 2020, the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) issued guidance (updated November 29, 2020) stating, “The operations of libraries are at the discretion of local governmental entities.” The Secretary of State and the State Librarian’s Legal Counsel’s Office further clarified the meaning of “local governmental entities” stating, “The local governmental entity is the public library board for a library district organized by the Public District Act of 1991 (75 ILCSA 16/1-1, et seq.) and the public library board, in consultation with the corporate authority, for a library organized under the Local Library Act (75 ICLS 5/1-1, et seq.).” The DCEO in its FAQ encourages governmental agencies, including libraries, to hold public meetings remotely during the time of Tier 3 Mitigation Measures.

Tressler is committed to continuing to monitor and report any COVID-based health and safety requirements that may impact Illinois Libraries. If you have any questions about the implications of Tier 3 Mitigation Measures on your library, please feel free to reach out to a Tressler attorney.  

For more information about this article, contact Tressler attorney Elizabeth Wagman at ewagman@tresslerllp.com.