Businesses deemed not essential asked to close in Rockford

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- All essential businesses are allowed to stay open during the "stay at home" order in Illinois. The goal is to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Closed down stores

Local business owners and employees now wonder if they qualify to remain open, or if they should close.

"You should do the right thing, and close your doors," says Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara when discussing non essential businesses. "Our businesses are the backbone of our city. Most of our businesses are taking this pandemic seriously. But unfortunately some of them are not."

McNamara says business owners should objectively look at their companies, and make a responsible decisions. Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker released a list of what the state deems necessary.

Essential businesses include:

-Health care facilities and public health operations
-Stores that sell groceries
-Pharmacies
-Government, fire, police
-Media, journalism
-Medical and adult use cannabis dispensaries
-Food production and agriculture
-Gas stations
-Financial institutions
-Laundry services
-Hardware stores
-Mail, postal
-Restaurants (take out orders)
-Transportation (including bus, Uber, Lyft, etc)
-Residential shelters
-Home care
-Pet food shops
-Funeral services
-Legal services
-Manufacturing, supply chain, infrastructure
-Hotels/motels

Those businesses that do remain open are asked by local leaders and health officials to take sanitary precautions.

"We're there 24 hours a day seven days a week if you need us," says Edward Coffman of Rockford Heating and Air Conditioning. "We do have masks, and we offer the customer before we come out if they would like us to wear the masks and gloves or anything that we're willing to do that."

Even facilities that sell pet food are permitted, and can remain open. "There's many dogs that are on prescription foods for kidneys, skin problems, stomach problems things like that," says co owner of Pampered Pet Grooming, Dena Campoli. "And even a small bag of food could throw their whole system off."

Pampered Pet Grooming did close its supply shop, but remains open for food and by appointment. The proceeds usually go toward Kibble Korner. Owners hope others will continue to donate to that organization while their supply sales are temporarily stopped.

Non essential businesses are those like clothing stores, sports facilities, gyms, salons or event venues. If you have a question on whether or not your business is necessary during this pandemic, email COVID19@wchd.org