Coronavirus/COVID-19 Important Information


The City of Columbia is expected to transition to Phase 4 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan on Friday, June 26. 

Part 3 of Transition Planning for K-12 Schools during Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan

The Illinois State Board of Education has released guidance in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Health to aid schools in their plans for reopening for the 2020-21 school year.    


May 28, 2020: The City has drafted Temporary Outdoor Seating Regulations for Dining and Drinking Establishments. These guidelines must be followed beginning beginning May 29 if your establishment plans to provide temporary outdoor seating for dining and drinking. Please note that the guidelines are still in draft form and there may be some changes made after the June 1 Council meeting; therefore, permit applications will be accepted beginning on Tuesday, June 2. If you have questions regarding the City’s Temporary Outdoor Seating Regulations for Dining and Drinking Establishments, please call City Hall at 281-7144. 

May 24, 2020:  The State of Illinois releases industry-specific guidelines to ensure safe reopening during Phase 3.

DCEO is available by phone (800) 252-2923 or email at to assist with inquiries regarding the new Phase 3 guidelines.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

If you have a medical emergency and you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are being evaluated for the virus, dial 911.  Notify the dispatcher of your medical emergency first, and tell them that you have COVID-19 or are being evaluated for the virus. If possible, put on a face mask before medical personnel arrive. 

If you do not have a medical emergency, and you suspect you could have been exposed and/or infected by the COVID-19 virus, call the IDPH 24-hour hotline at 1-800-889-3931 for further guidance. COVID-19 Hotline Opens in new window

Thank you for your concern regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19. If you have further questions, please contact the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or visit Illinois Department of Public Health . The CDC also has up to date information at: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What should I do if I think I have the Coronavirus

Gubernatorial Executive Orders and Messages

June 15, 2020: Gov. Pritzker announces $275 million in emergency relief for households impacted by COVID-19. Effective immediately, eligible Illinois residents and families can apply to receive assistance with food, rent, utilities, temporary shelter, medicine and other essential household services. To learn more about these expanded offerings and to fill out new remote applications made live today, visit  

May 29, 2020:  The Governor signed Executive Order 2020-39 (available via this link) extending previous executive orders. That includes extending Executive Order 2020-07 (available via this link), which suspended certain provisions of the Open Meetings Act (OMA), including the in-person quorum requirements and conditions limiting when remote participation is permitted.

May 29, 2020:  The Governor signed Executive Order 2020-38 (available via this link), called the Community Recovery Order, which supersedes the previous Stay at Home Order (available via this link) to reflect the changes allowed in Phase 3.

May 29, 2020:  With the whole state entering Phase 3 today, Governor JB Pritzker announced an end to his Stay at Home Order. He signed a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation (available via this link) extending the statewide disaster declaration through Saturday, June 27, 2020.

May 14, 2020:  Governor Pritzker launches "Get Hired" website to connect workers impacted by Covid-19 with employment and career resources. 

May 5, 2020: Restore Illinois plan is announced. This is a five-phase plan to safely reopen the state’s economy. The five phases are: Rapid Spread, Flattening, Recovery, Revitalization and Illinois Restored. The plan is guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education and recreational activities in each phase. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as effective treatments or vaccines are realized. We are currently in Phase Two (Flattening) according to this schedule.  

April 30, 2020: Governor Pritzker signs Executive Order 2020-32 that modifies and extends his original Stay at Home Order. The order lasts through May 29. 

April 30, 2020: Governor Pritzker signs a new disaster proclamation that goes into effect immediately and lasts through May 29. 

April 23, 2020: Governor Pritzker announces modified stay at home order will be extended through May to continue progress. See the press release for details. 

April 17, 2020: Governor Pritzker cancels in-person learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 

March 31, 2020: Governor Pritzker extends Stay at Home or Place of Residence Order through April 30. Find answers regarding the extended "Stay at Home" order on this updated Frequently Asked Questions document

March 20, 2020: Governor Pritzker issues a Stay at Home or Place of Residence Executive Order effective March 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and for the remainder of the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, which currently extends through April 7, 2020. 

Businesses or people who are looking for answers regarding who or what is considered "essential" may call the IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IL DCEO) at 1-800-252-2923 or email them at:  

March 22, 2020: Check whether or not a business is deemed essential using this Essential Business Checklist. This simple Essential Business Flowchart may also help. 

March 21, 2020 Governor’s Stay at Home Order FAQs

Complete list of all Gubernatorial Executive Orders pertaining to COVID-19.

Declaration of Emergency 

March 20, 2020 effective 4:30 p.m.: Mayor Hutchinson declares a civil emergency

City Facilities Closed to the Public

March 20, 2020: All City Facilities are closed to the public. Services may be limited. Business must be conducted virtually or by phone.

March 20, 2020: Columbia Public Library is closed to the public through April 7.

Impact on Water, Sewer and Trash

May 13, 2020: Update from the EPA - Building and business closures for weeks or months reduce water usage, potentially leading to stagnant water inside building plumbing.  This water can become unsafe to drink or otherwise use for domestic or commercial purposes.  The EPA recommends that building owners and managers take proactive steps to protect public health by minimizing water stagnation during closures and taking action to address building water quality prior to reopening.  Please click on the links below for more information.
Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality In Buildings With Low Or No Use
Restoring Water Quality in Buildings for Reopening (Checklist) 

March 18, 2020: The City’s water, sewer and trash services will not be interrupted. Until further notice, the City will not disconnect or shut off services due to delinquent payments. Water, sewer and trash customers are still required to pay any balances. Utility bills may be paid online at or dropped into the payment drop box located in the City Hall parking lot at 208 S. Rapp Ave., or mailed to City of Columbia, 208 S. Rapp Ave., Columbia, IL 62236.

Requests for Help in Columbia

Donations are needed at Columbia’s St. Paul Lutheran Church Food Pantry. Numbers have doubled, and due to quantity limits at the grocery stores, they are unable to purchase what is needed. Please pick up supplies listed on the COVID-19 Wish List for Shoppers when you visit the grocery store and place in the plastic bins on the front porch of the church located at 227 North Goodhaven. Alternatively, order items on-line and have delivered to the same location. No interaction with others will be necessary.

Impact on Businesses

June 24, 2020: The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is launching the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) for businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures.  

June 9, 2020: The Illinois Gaming Board sent a memorandum to all terminal operators regarding protocols for resumption of video gaming operations once regions reach phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan.

May 29, 2020:  Ameren Illinois announced that funding is available for small businesses and non-profits that have fallen behind on their electric bills. Under the company’s COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recovery Program, one-time grants of up to $500 will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until June 30, or until the funds are exhausted.

To be considered, businesses must have an active, non-residential account, 50 or fewer full-time employees, and a principal office in Illinois. Eligible businesses may include, but are not limited to: small commercial enterprises, restaurants, clothing stores, hair salons, flower shops, and fitness facilities. Eligible non-profits may include, but are not limited to: schools, day cares, senior centers, religious organizations, community organizations, and charitable organizations.

Grant recipients will have the funds applied to their Ameren Illinois electric account. To apply, Ameren Hardship Application or call 800.232.2477.

 Ameren Illinois also announced several new energy efficiency offerings to help small businesses and non-profits to reduce their energy usage and save money. Eligible customers can receive a free lighting assessment, free smart thermostat, and a free energy analysis tool. Call 866.800.0747 or visit

May 24, 2020:  The State of Illinois releases industry-specific guidelines to ensure safe reopening during Phase 3.

May 21, 2020: The City of Columbia is currently drafting "Temporary Outdoor Seating Regulations for Restaurants and Bars." More details will be forthcoming next week. 

May 20, 2020: Governor Pritzker announced various modifications to guidelines in Phase 3 (Recovery) of the "Restore Illinois" plan. Those modifications include allowing outdoor seating at restaurants and bars with certain restrictions, allowing more than two people in watercraft of appropriate sizes, the opening of outdoor and indoor tennis facilities and the expansion of golf to foursomes with the limited allowance of golf carts. The Governor’s press release announcing these changes is available via this link. It is anticipated that regions will enter Phase 3 of the plan on May 29, 2020. 

May 6, 2020:  The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has made funds available to essential businesses through the Layoff Aversion Funding Program. Applications are due Friday, May 8. 

May 1, 2020: The new Stay at Home Executive Order effective May 1 will include modifications to the occupancy restrictions for essential stores

May 1, 2020: With certain precautions and operational restrictions, golf will be permitted in Illinois as a recreational activity effective 6:00 a.m. May 1, 2020. 

April 23, 2020: COVID impacted businesses may review this list of resources available to them. The list was compiled by Monroe County EDC Executive Director, Edie Koch and prepared for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

April 15, 2020: Current operating procedures for building and occupancy inspections in the City of Columbia can be found on the City of Columbia’s COVID-19 Building and Occupancy Inspection Policy Memo

April 6, 2020: Email to Columbia businesses regarding notice of a COVID-19 Small Business Webinar with DCEO and IL Chamber

April 1, 2020: Email to Columbia businesses regarding a Small Business Telephone Town Hall Meeting with Representative Mike Bost scheduled for Thursday, April 2 at 11:00 a.m. 

April 1, 2020: Relief for Artists and Artisans

March 31, 2020: Due to the recently passed federal stimulus package, your business may be eligible for aid from the federal government. Learn more about the current available options below:

or visit the SBA Coronavirus Relief Options website

View the complete list of Columbia, IL banks that are certified to assist with applications to federal emergency loan programs for businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis

March 27, 2020: COVID-19 Email message from City of Columbia to local businesses

March 26, 2020: Three new programs were announced in the Governor’s press release which may provide some relief for businesses.  The programs are: 

  1. Hospitality Emergency Grant Program
  2. Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund for businesses located outside of Chicago (March 28, 2020: Additional Information and submit an "Expression of Interest.")
  3. Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

March 24, 2020: Guidance on Temporary Delivery of Alcoholic Liquor

March 17, 2020: Important Information for Businesses - Federal Relief

March 16, 2020 9 p.m.: All businesses in the State that offer food or beverage for on-premises consumption may no longer permit on-premises consumption. The executive order specifically encourages such businesses to serve food and beverage for consumption off-premises, as currently permitted by law, through in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, and curbside pickup. Additionally, customers may enter the establishments to purchase food or beverages for carry-out. Businesses offering a carry-out option must ensure patrons are able to maintain adequate social distancing. 

March 12, 2020: SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 11, 2020: Pritzker Administration to Provide Unemployment Benefits to Workers Impacted by Coronavirus


May 1, 2020: Information regarding face covering requirements in Illinois effective May 1, 2020.

April 21, 2020: During his daily press briefing, Governor JB Pritzker announced expanded relief for student loan borrowers whose loans are not owned by the federal government. The relief includes a 90-day forbearance and waiving of late payment fees. Borrowers should contact their student loan service provider to identify the options available to them. More information is available in the Governor’s press release announcing the expanded relief.

April 2, 2020: Governor Pritzker announced the creation of the "All In Illinois" campaign. Visit the website for helpful tools and information to support the cause. 

For-up-to date information on how Illinois is handling the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):  State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

COVID-19 related scams are on the rise. Protect yourself from these COVID-19 scams

For Residents 

For Businesses