City Of Springfield Helps Businesses With Social Distancing Policy

Apr 18, 2020

Essential Springfield businesses can download template signs and a social distancing policy from the city of Springfield’s website.

The city posted them to help businesses open during the stay-at-home order comply with an executive order recently signed by Mayor Jim Langfelder.

Under the order, businesses must have a written social distancing policy for employees to follow and be able to enforce with customers. They must post signs instructing people to stay six feet apart, and recommending that they wear a face mask and that no more than two family members enter at a time.

“We really needed a layer of enforcement,” Langfelder said. The fire department can issue a $500 a day fine for those not in compliance. “Most businesses are in compliance, but unfortunately not everyone is, and one thing (is) for certain the social distancing helps stop the spread, it helps flatten the curve.”

The sample signs don’t explicitly discourage children from coming in the store. Langfelder said the recommendation is covered by the section that says no more than two household members should be in the store at one time.

Meanwhile, the sample written policy is guidance developed by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to “encourage customers to respect the rules of social distancing.”

The mayor’s executive order initially drew criticism from the group, which has been working the with the governor to develop statewide recommendations. Alec Laird, IRMA’s vice president, shared his concerns with the city council Tuesday that the rules go beyond what the state requires and could be burdensome for local retailers to follow.

Chris Hembrough, the head of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, said he understands the association’s concerns. He said he’s gotten requests from business owners about a template policy they could adopt.

Langfelder said he emailed with representatives of IRMA and decided the group’s guidelines fit what he and other city officials were trying to accomplish.

Springfield Fire Chief Allen Reyne, whose department is in charge of enforcing the executive order, told NPR Illinois previously the city wants businesses to be partners in enforcing social distancing.