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    The Illinois Department of Labor is launching Back to Business Illinois, a free service that connects small businesses of 250 employees or less with consultants who will help them address workplace safety and health issues related to working safely during the coronavirus outbreak and create a plan to ensure a safe, healthy and productive environment for employees and visitors. Below are some frequently asked questions from business owners and employers around the state. Please contact the Workplace Safety and Health Consultation Division at dol.consultation@illinois.gov or 800-972-4216 for more information.

    Where will these consultations take place?

    These confidential consultations will be one hour and can take place virtually, via teleconference.

    What kind of background will these consultants have?

    Each consultant will be chosen to ensure that they understand your industry and your specific needs. For example, if you operate a healthcare business, the consultant you work with will have experience managing these kinds of issues in that field.

    How much will these consultations cost?

    These consultations are free of charge.

    Who is eligible for the consultation services?

    Illinois businesses with 250 or less employees.

    How do I earn a Back to Business Illinois self-certification?

    The Back to Business Illinois self-certification is a voluntary program to help businesses adapt to working in a COVID-19 environment and ensure the safety of employees and visitors in the workplace.

    The State of Illinois is encouraging employers to voluntarily comply by completing a series of self-certification modules online and instituting the necessary practices to ensure you are operationally compliant and committed to operate responsibly and promote a safe workplace.

    How can I stay up to date on the most current guidelines for employee safety and reopening status?

    Visit Restore Illinois, the public plan to safely reopen Illinois, for more information, and review Governor Pritzker's most recent Executive Order and Rules for current COVID-19 related guidelines for businesses across the state.

    What are my immediate next steps if an employee or I show symptoms of COVID-19?

    If you or an employee exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, you should visit a testing site and be tested immediately. Quarantine until you have your test results and then follow your doctor's recommendation. In the meantime, we recommend following the CDC guidelines  on how to stay safe until you are symptom-free again.

    How can my employees get tested?

    The State of Illinois offers community-based testing sites across the state that are available to all regardless of symptoms. To find your nearest testing site, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health's COVID-19 testing website.

    What if I believe an employee is showing symptoms but they show up to work? Do I have a course of action to send the employee home?

    Employees who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees and sent home.

    If an employee tests positive, what is my responsibility as an employer?

    If an employee reports having any COVID-19 related symptoms, the employer should encourage the employee to contact their healthcare provider. If two or more employees report having COVID-19 related symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, the employer should notify their local health department within 24 hours of being informed of the presence of COVID-19 symptoms or positive test results. The employer also should notify employees who have been or may have been exposed, although they must keep the name of the employee confidential.

    What are best practices I should employ at my place of business to keep my employees and/or visitors safe?

    Every industry presents unique challenges to the work environment. You can schedule a free one-on-one consultation with a safety and health consultant to customize the right plan for your business. In the meantime, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for guidance on recommended cleaning and disinfecting techniques, social distancing and other ways to limit the spread of COVID-19.

    What is the value of earning the Back to Business self-certification for my business?

    Through the Back to Business Illinois self-certification, businesses will have an opportunity to implement protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and responsibly foster a workplace that is safe for its employees and visitors. A business' voluntary participation also gives business owners the chance to promote their actions within their community as a safe place to do business.

    How will business owners be able to promote their Back to Business self-certification?

    Businesses that complete their Back to Business Illinois self-certification will receive an accreditation to showcase inside their business to validate the steps they are taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep their employees and customers safe. Businesses will also receive digital assets to promote across their social media platforms to highlight their completion of the self-certification program.

    Does the Back to Business self-certification expire/need to be renewed?

    No, the Back to Business self-certification does not expire but may require modification based on the coronavirus prevention guidelines.