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Some Illinois offices open, while others remain closed

June 6, 2020 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Some Illinois employees have returned to work, but many state offices have not reopened since they closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Secretary of State Jesse White is the first elected official to reopen offices in the state. He opened driver services offices this week allowing people to obtain or renew licenses in person, The State Journal-Register reported.

Henry Haupt, White’s spokesman, said all secretary of state employees returned to the office this week, although some never stopped going in.

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Precautions are being taken for employees in driver services facilities and other offices, Haupt noted. Employees will have their temperature checked and will be required to wear masks. Plexiglas shields are up at driver facilities to separate customers and employees.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the comptroller, treasurer and attorney general’s offices still have some people working in the office, and some working from home.

Abdon Pallasch, spokesman for Comptroller Susana Mendoza, said the hybrid work system has worked well for employees living in Springfield and Chicago

“We don’t want to bring people back prematurely,” Pallasch noted. “The virus is still out there.”

The Pritzker administration is letting state agencies decide on reopening plans within the Restore Illinois plan.

“State agencies are currently building site-specific plans based on their operational need,” said administration spokeswoman Marjani Williams in a statement. “Agencies will be working with (the Department of Central Management Services) as their thought partners to focus on strategies around social distancing, safety and occupancy guidelines for work spaces to ensure that employees and constituents return to a safe working environment.”

Treasurer Michael Frerichs has 28 employees still reporting to work at offices and 159 working remotely.

Paris Ervin, Frerichs’ spokeswoman, said the office is following the guidance from the Illinois Department of Health under Phase 3 of the reopening plan, which allows offices that do not interact with the public to open.

“We do not have the same level of in-person interaction as other units of state and local government, so that has not been a concern,” Ervin said.

Ervin noted that a date has not been set for when employees will return to work.

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