A Message to All City of Chicago Employees


With more of our colleagues and partners returning from telework, we remain committed to maintaining the safest possible work environment and doing our part to contain the spread of COVID-19 while keeping our recovery on track. With the City of Chicago having entered Phase IV of its reopening plan (Gradually Resume), the pandemic continues and it’s easy to get complacent. What will keep us safe as a city is continued vigilance and strict adherence to the policies we put in place to keep both you and our residents safe.

Stay home if you are sick 

Please, please, please, stay home if you are sick. The City’s COVID Sick Leave Policy Addendum remains in effect, and if you have symptoms of COVID you will not be required to use your own benefit time to remain at home. Few actions are more important to stop the spread of the disease than staying away from work if you are ill. Additionally, if you have been tested for COVID because you have symptoms or due to a known exposure, you should remain at home until you have received a negative test result.

Practice Social Distancing and wear a mask 

As you know, a face covering must be worn at all times when entering City facilities and within all common areas within City facilities. This includes conference rooms, break rooms, hallways and elevators. A face covering may be removed while alone in an office or at a workspace that is separated by at least six feet from any other individual. This mandate applies inside all City facilities

This requirement has been phased-in with an emphasis on education, but enforcement will be stepped up. Any employee found in noncompliance of the mask requirement may be subject to discipline. The bottom line is all City employees should plan on wearing a mask or other appropriate face covering while at work. We must set an example for the public who rely on us for guidance, as well as a source of reassurance in what remain very uncertain times. The City distributed cloth face masks to all personnel in April, and has since distributed additional masks as a courtesy. For more information about the effectiveness of face coverings in slowing the spread of COVID-19, as well as how to create one at home, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

For employees who interact with residents, rest assured that the same requirements are in effect for members of the public entering our buildings to receive services. No individual will be allowed into a City building or facility without a proper face covering and they must follow social distance protocols.

Additionally, in-person meetings are still strongly discouraged, and any meeting that can be held virtually should be held online.

Each department has its own social distancing plan and COVID safety officers who will continue to make sure we stay safe while at work.

Emergency Travel Order 

On Thursday, July 2, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., issued an Emergency Travel Order directing travelers entering or returning to Chicago from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. This policy applies to City employees. I know many of you are planning travel and summer vacations. Please be safe and smart and stay away from the states on the list. If you travel to one of those states, you will be required to quarantine upon your return, and with limited exceptions the City will not provide COVID leave for the period of quarantine. Please contact your HR staff with questions, or if you have an emergency that requires a trip (i.e. a funeral) before you travel.

We have been working diligently with department heads, union leaders, public health officials, and experts in the field to ensure that the safety and well-being of everyone at the city remains paramount.  You have a big part to play in our response. We value and appreciate all that you do for the city and its residents, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to make sure you stay safe while delivering the critical public services that our residents depend on.

Maurice Classen | Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor