Governor Pritzker extended the Stay-at-Home Order to May 30, 2020. Under this extension, there are several modifications that came into effect starting May 1, 2020.

Illinois and the City of Chicago are now on track to enter Phase 3: Cautiously Re-open.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), industry leaders, labor leaders, and public officials from around Chicago, released industry-specific guidelines for businesses, employees, and customers to follow as the city prepares to begin safely reopening in early June.

For several weeks, I've served on Mayor Lightfoot's Recovery Task Force and the Retail Industry Working Group, and you will see The Magnificent Mile Association is listed as a partner in the city's data-driven guidelines to re-opening safely and smartly.

While present guidelines are not everything we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for your business.

As always, please reach out to me at with questions, concerns and tips. Stay safe. Together, we will get through this.

Your partner,

Kimberly Bares
President and CEO

A Phased Re-opening

Restore Illinois

Restore Illinois Phases

Restore Illinois is a five-phase regional plan to reopen the state’s economy on a regional basis in accordance with key public health metrics.

Additional Local Framework

Protecting Chicago

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, alongside the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), announced the “Protecting Chicago” framework that the City will be using to guide Chicago’s reopening process amid COVID-19.

The framework – organized into five phases in alignment with the State of Illinois’ “Restore Illinois” plan – will advise Chicagoans on how to safely exit from shelter-in-place while continuing to prioritize the health of our most vulnerable residents.

Chicago is monitoring answers to these four questions in order to help determine when and how the transition between phases takes place:

1. Is the rate of disease spread across the city and surrounding counties decreasing?

2. Does the city have the testing and contact-tracing capacity to track the disease and limit spread?

3. Are there enough support systems in place for vulnerable residents?

4. Can the healthcare system handle a potential future surge (including beds, ventilators and PPE)?

Statewide Guidance

Changes to Stay at Home Order that Impact Businesses

  • Added Categories of Businesses Considered Essential

    The following businesses will be considered essential and may re-open beginning May 1st:

    • Animal Grooming Services
    • Greenhouses, Garden Centers, and Nurseries
  • Requirement to Wear Face Coverings

    All individuals over the age of two who can medically tolerate face covering will be required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are:

    • In any indoor public space
    • In a public space and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance
  • Retail stores that are not designated as essential may re-open to fulfill online or telephone orders.

    Orders must be completed through pick-up outside of the store or through delivery. All non-essential businesses engaged in minimum basic activities such as these must follow the social distancing requirements.


    • Queuing is permissible as long as those in line maintain 6 foot social distance. 
    • Curbside pick up is allowed. However, those conducting curbside pickup must still obey all street signage and laws (for example, not parking in "Tow Zone" areas) and pay meters where applicable, as enforcement is still being conducted on those types of traffic violations.
    • The city has not made additional provisions to allow sandwich boards at this time.
  • New Requirements for all Businesses to Protect Employees and Consumers

    All businesses are required to take the following steps to the greatest extent possible:

    • Provide employees with face coverings
    • Require that employees wear face coverings in circumstances where they are unable to maintain a six-foot distance at all times
    • Where work circumstances require it, provide additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Evaluate whether employees are able to work from home

    This applies to all essential and non-essential businesses that are engaged in minimum basic operations. These requirements are in addition to existing requirements to:

    • Designate six-foot distances
    • Have hand sanitizer and sanitizing products available
    • Designate separate operating hours for vulnerable populations
    • Post online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility.
  • New Requirements for Retail Businesses to Protect Employees and Consumers

    In addition to the requirements outlined above, all retail businesses are required to take the following steps to the greatest extent possible:

    • Cap occupancy at 50 percent of store capacity or occupancy limits
    • Set up store aisles to be one-way where practicable
    • Communicate with customers through in-store signage, public service announcements, and advertisements about the social distancing requirements
    • Discontinue use of reusable bags
  • New Requirements for Manufacturers to Protect Employees

    In addition to the requirements outlined above, all manufacturing businesses are required to take the following steps to the greatest extent possible:

    • Stagger shifts
    • Reduce line speeds
    • Operate only essential lines, while shutting down non-essential lines
    • Ensure that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing
    • Downsize to the extent necessary to allow for social distancing
Latest Updates

From our city, state and federal partners.

Federal Relief Efforts

Due to the recently CARES Act, your business may be eligible for aid from the federal government.
Review your eligibility with resources from the U.S. Travel Association, including a guide to the Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act of 2020.

  • Paycheck Protection Program – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide to small businesses and non-profits. Portions of these loans will be forgiven to the extent that recipients maintain their existing workforce or rehire. Frequently Asked Questions >>
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan – The program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Borrowers can request an emergency advance of $10,000 within 3 days of submitting the application and do not have to repay the advance if they are denied a loan. Reference Guide >>
  • Subsidy for Current Loan Payments – The SBA will cover up to 6 months of principal and interest payments that are owed on most existing SBA loans. Learn More>>
  • Aid to Midsize Businesses and Nonprofits – $454 billion will be available from the U.S. Treasury to provide financial assistance through loan programs established by the Federal Reserve. As part of that, a special fund is dedicated to midsize businesses and nonprofits with 500-10,000 employees to provide financing to banks and other lenders to make direct loans to these entities. The interest rate on those loans would be capped at 2%, with no payments due for the first six months. These loans cannot be forgiven.

    Significant restrictions will be placed on the midsize business and nonprofit assistance, such as prohibiting paying out dividends while the loan is outstanding. More guidance will be forthcoming from the U.S. Treasury on additional criteria and funding access.

    Read more about economic assistance and financial relief in a Resource Guide for Local Business Owners and Leaders from Congresswoman Robin Kelly.

The US Chamber of Commerce announced the Save Small Business Fund.

This grant-making initiative issues $5,000 grants to small businesses who:

  • Employ between 3 and 20 people
  • Are located in an economically vulnerable community
  • Have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic

Eligibility is based on ZIP Code and you can check your eligibility on the Save Small Business website. Applications will go live on Monday, April 20, and you can sign up to be notified when they're ready.

Additional Assistance:

To mitigate immediate economic fall-out:

  • The City of Chicago is extending the due date to April 30 for City taxes, including the Amusement tax, Hotel Accommodation tax, Restaurant Tax and the Parking Tax.
  • Governor Pritzker has directed the Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants through May.
  • Governor Pritzker said Illinois will move its state income tax deadline back three months to July 15, aligning it with the extended federal tax deadline.

Protecting Immigrant and Refugee Communities:

  • Mayor Lightfoot signed an executive order explicitly ensuring that all benefits, opportunities, and services provided or administered by the City of Chicago are accessible to all residents, regardless of birth country or current citizenship status.

How you can help:

Medical Assistants and Nurses are encouraged to apply for temporary positions.

  • If you have any questions about the positions or the application process, you may email or call 813-261-2706.

Governor Pritzker has launched a website to update the public on the state's evolving response to COVID-19 and how you can help:

  • Governor Pritzker is directing healthy citizens to a state website to match their skills with organizations that work with the homeless or seniors, or deliver meals.
  • Governor Pritzker started the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to support nonprofits and other groups that work with "those hit hardest by COVID-19," providing emergency food and basic supplies, interim housing, health care services, assisting with utility costs and supporting children and families. To date, the fund has distributed more than $5.5 million to 30 nonprofit organizations across the state. Donate now >>
  • Governor Pritzker outlined supply concerns across the state. He said ventilators, masks, hospital gowns, hand sanitizer and other supplies are badly needed. Have items to donate? Email

Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications has provided a social media toolkit from the City of Chicago about the state-wide Stay At Home Order, which is now in effect.

Stay informed.

The City of Chicago launched 'Chi COVID Coach,' a mobile-friendly, web-based application to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
This forward-thinking app will allow the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to communicate directly with Chicago residents who may be COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms, providing them important information and guidance.

Learn more >>

We salute our district's first responders.

The Magnificent Mile Association is committed to providing the latest resources.

We are here to help!


Review resources for businesses, consumers and employees from Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

  • Get answers to your questions around unemployment benefits.
    • Unemployment Insurance claims can be filed with the Illinois Department of Employment Security by phone (800)-244-5631 or online
    • Web-based orientations, tutorials, digital literacy courses, and one-on-one career counseling are available for jobseekers from the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Access those services here
    • Similarly, consultative services for employers including hiring, lay off aversion, rapid response (layoff support) and training resources remain available through the Business Services Teams.  Access these services here.
  • Take care of yourself and your family.
    • Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined the Department of Housing (DOH) and Chicago’s leading housing lenders and landlord associations to announce the Chicago Housing Solidarity Pledge. Chicago’s landlords affirm they may provide one or more of the following for eligible renters who demonstrate a significant financial impact resulting from COVID-19:
      • Grace Period for Rent Payments: Offer deferred payments with repayment terms that avoid repayment at the end of the deferral period.
      • Written Repayment Plan: Permit renters with a missed rent payment to amortize the payments over time.
      • No Late Fees for Missed Payments: Provide relief from rent-related late fees.
    • Learn about Emergency Rental Assistance from the City of Chicago.
    • Apply for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, from the Illinois Department of Human Services, which provides financial assistance to expectant mothers and families with one or more children.
    • Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, from the Illinois Department of Human Services, which helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health.
  • The State of Illinois launched a new way residents can request assistance. Text the following words to 552020 for help with these needs:  
    • Text "FOOD"
    • Text "SHELTER"
    • Text "TALK" (mental health)
Medical Information
Chicago Help Initiative (CHI)
  • CHI staff will be on hand every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday outside the entrance of Catholic Charities from 10:00 am - 10:30 am to receive your meal donations. Ideally, each meal should contain one sandwich; a piece of fruit; a bag of chips or other snack; one single-serving drink, preferably juice; and a sweet treat, such as a cookie or candy bar
  • You can also donate socks, bar soap and/or hand sanitizer.
  • If you are able to help, please email Doug at, visit or call Jacqueline at (312) 861-1700

Learn more >>

Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Chicago Food Depository is hard at work responding to the increased need for food. Support their work by making a monetary donation.
  • Individuals who are healthy and meet all other volunteering requirements are needed at the food bank and training center to help prepare food for distribution. This is considered an essential activity at this time.
  • Commercial businesses: Need help adjusting your business' energy usage needs? If business operations at your location(s) are changing significantly in response to COVID-19 with impacts to your energy usage, please let your rep at Constellation Energy know right away so they can adjust load forecasts and/or schedule appropriately to avoid additional costs or penalties.
    Learn more >>
  • If you are looking to keep your customers informed with signage, banners, boards and more, we highly recommend Bannerville USA.
    Learn more >>


Stay connected.

Upcoming Webinars

Association members are hosting free webinars on a variety of topics to see businesses through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Read more about Register now
May 19

Office of Labor Standards Webinar Series

In preparation for the roll out of new labor laws on July 1, 2020, BACP’s Office of Labor Standards will host webinars every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:00 pm.

Register now View Topics
Read more about Register now
May 29

Overview of Chicago’s Reopening Plan for Businesses

12:00 PM (CDT)

Mayor Lightfoot has released a series of industry guidelines to safely and responsibly enter Phase 3 of the reopening of Chicago. Join this webinar for an overview of the businesses that will reopen and the guidance those businesses will need to follow during Phase 3.

Register now Questions?
Read more about Register now
Jun 2

CAC Live: Virtual Workshop on Returning to the Office

12:00 PM (CDT)

Going beyond the typical lecture or panel, this workshop lays out clear-cut steps for preparing your office for a returning workforce under social distancing guidelines.

This webinar is part of CAC's "What's Next" series.

Register now
Read more about Register now
Jun 3

What is Next for Public Art: Time-Based Media Artists in Conversation

6:00 PM (CDT)

As the notion of what constitutes “public” is shifting, this online panel discussion is about the issues facing artists and engagement in the public sphere now and in the future, including those that are specific to technology-based public platforms and time-based media artists.

Register now
Read more about Register now
Jun 5

CAC Live: The Future of Hospitals

8:30 AM (CDT)

Rush University Medical Center is uniquely suited to contain infectious diseases and respond to surges that occur during public health crises. What lessons does it offer for architects of future hospitals?

This webinar is part of CAC's "What's Next" series.

Register now
Read more about Register now
Jun 9

Road to Reopening: Responsibly Welcoming Our Guests Back From A(arts) to Z(zoos)

12:00 PM (CDT)

This first webinar in a series will focus on museums & attractions and feature domestic and international experts – from both institutions in markets that have already opened and local representatives – to share their thoughts on Chicago’s opening and guest services best practices.

Register now Questions?
Past Webinars.
Sharing best practice

In the Press

  • May 28, 2020

    Premier Shopping Districts Are Particularly Vulnerable To Pandemic And May Need A Reset

    “We’ve got some of the most recognized brands in the country, the world, really, and these brands are frequently well-capitalized."

    -Kimberly Bares, President & CEO

    IMG 2977

    Sephora, at 605 North Michigan Ave., getting ready for early June reopening.

    Read More
  • May 14, 2020

    Chicago’s iconic DuSable Bridge opened to the public 100 years ago in the wake of another pandemic, the Spanish Flu.

    NBC 5 Chicago's LeeAnn Trotter reports.

    Read More
  • April 24, 2020
    Retailers like clothing stores and book stores will begin the slow process of calling some workers back and partially reopening beginning on May 1, 2020.
    "This would be perfect for the stores at Water Tower, 900 North, The Shops at North Bridge, where they especially have the ability to set aside a loading zone, a pick-up area," said Kimberly Bares, President and CEO of The Magnificent Mile Association.

    Read more
  • March 31, 2020

    Retailers Take Proactive Approach to Prevent Looting During Shutdown

    ”This is a global pandemic and we are seeing the same as other cities: retailers’ responses vary from boarded windows to empty storefronts and showrooms. Some have painted or branded their boards, which we appreciate. And we will be looking for ways to encourage other property owners and store managers to do the same,” Kimberly Bares said.

    Read more on Women's Wear Daily.

    Burberry Prepares for Stay at Home Order in response to COVID19

    Full article
  • March 22, 2020

    The Magnificent Mile Association is working to ensure businesses downtown along North Michigan Avenue remain safe and secure as residents “shelter in place.”

    Kimberly Bares, President & CEO, shares the latest on FOX 32 Chicago.

    View More