As of writing this, there are over two million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Despite early predictions that the virus wouldn’t have a drastic impact beyond China, it has now spread to virtually every corner of the globe.
Nearly 140,000 lives have been claimed by this deadly and unforgiving pathogen. The pandemic hasn’t concluded yet, and more fatalities add to the count every day. These aren’t just numbers, every casualty is an individual who had to prematurely depart from those they love.
Essential workers are at the highest risk because, unlike most of us, they don’t have the luxury of staying at home. Many of us may view home quarantine as a nuisance but, when you look at the big picture, it’s really a privilege.
In response to the unfortunate situation that we find ourselves in, the State of Illinois has taken a proactive approach to ensure that essential workers have adequate protection during this trying time.
Costa Ivone, LLC was asked about the new amendment. Here is our very own, Anthony Ivone, discussing the details with Fox 32 – Chicago.
The emergency law ensures that essential workers will have financial coverage should they contract the virus. Contrary to standard workers’ compensation procedures, employees will not have to prove their claims.
Due to the dire circumstances, the state will assume that those filing a workers’ compensation claim contracted the virus as a direct result of their job and are thus eligible for coverage. If you start exhibiting symptoms then you should seek immediate medical help and inform your boss.
You’ll then be subjected to a 14-day quarantine to ensure you receive any necessary interventions and don’t spread the virus if you are in fact carrying it. The workers’ compensation will reimburse you for any time that you took off after contracting the virus.
You’re also going to receive compensation for the medical bills incurred during treatment as well as any long-term effects that the virus causes. This emergency law is good news for essential workers since it ensures that they’ll be financially protected while they serve others.
Who Qualifies As Essential?
According to Governor Pritzker’s COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8, there’s a rather broad range of establishments that are classified as essential by the state. At the core, supermarkets and drug stores both qualify since society would struggle without them.
The food and medicine they provide are crucial to the health of citizens during this challenging period. Nonprofit establishments such as homeless shelters and food banks will likewise qualify as essential.
This isn’t limited to humans as animal shelters, kennels, and adoption centers qualify too. On the transport side of things, gasoline stations and auto repair shops both qualify since health workers may not be able to get to hospitals without functioning, fueled cars.
Banks, credit unions, lenders, money changers, pawnshops, and other financial institutions were also covered in the executive order. Further, bakeries and restaurants are classified as essential but orders must be on a to-go or delivery basis to prevent transmission.
Rideshare drivers, food deliverers, caregivers, and nannies can continue to provide their usual home services. Lawyers and insurance providers also qualify as essential but are encouraged to provide their services in a remote fashion to reduce risk — as Costa Ivone has already done.
Manufacturers and distributors are encouraged to continue their operations so as to not disrupt the supply chains in critical industries. Essential establishments in the media sector include newspapers, radio stations, and television networks.
Other establishments mentioned in the executive order include post offices, hardware stores, laundromats, hotels, and crematoriums. Anyone currently working will generally qualify as essential and be covered by the recently passed law.
In addition to taking their services digital whenever possible, employers should also provide sanitizing products to all workers and instill policies that are in line with social distancing guidelines — such as instructing employees to stay six feet apart at all times.
Establishments are advised to set separate operating hours for elderly patrons since they’re more vulnerable to the virus than younger customers. Grocery stores, food banks, pharmacies, and other establishments are expected to adopt such systems for the greater good.
Not everyone can afford to stay home during this outbreak. After all, 78% of workers in the US live paycheck to paycheck. Some people, such as those in healthcare, may have the financial means to stay home but nonetheless choose to put the needs of the many before themselves.
This emergency law is a game changer and shows that the state does care about its residents. Lastly, those of you working from home should remember to get enough exercise to stave off heart disease and dedicate some time to yourself to avoid burnout.
Stay safe, everyone!