In reviewing Illinois’s Stay at Home Executive Order 2020-10, it is my understanding that church gatherings of more than 10 persons is expressly prohibited by this order (See Clause 3). The Order requires all individuals to stay home in their place of residence, except for essential activities. In my reading of the order, church services are not exempted as essential, and the Illinois.gov COVID-19 FAQ’s specifically say that church services “will be cancelled.” Additionally, this Executive Order may be enforced by state and local police.
Social Distancing is required during essential activities (See Clause 15). Here are a few essential activities which are identified in the Executive Order:
– Clause 12.c. Organizations that provide charitable and social services, such as food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
– Clause 12.q. Residential facilities and shelters;
– Clause 12.w. Funeral services.
Regular church services are not exempted. Additionally, educational institutions and restaurants shall not operate classes and meals on premises through April 7, 2020.
Executive Order 2020-10 is in effect Saturday March 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm through April 7, 2020.
I am providing this as a legal opinion. Please see below for links to Executive Order 2020-10 and related FAQ’s, which are both available at Illinois.gov.
Victoria D. Pipkin, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Converge MidAmerica Executive Board Member