top of page

COVID Update !

Dear City For Chicago Residents,  


This Thursday, May 11, 2023, marks the end of the federal Public Health Emergency and state disaster proclamation related to COVID-19. This email is to update City of Chicago employees on the status of internal policies related to COVID-19.   


Most COVID-related employee policies, including COVID-related sick leave policies, will continue unchanged at this time. Details on each policy, as well as some questions and answers, are below.


Sick Leave Policy Addendum: This addendum has provided City employees with COVID-specific leave. This policy will remain in effect and unchanged at this time, with plans to evaluate a timeline to sunset COVID sick leave later this year. Employees may be granted COVID leave after providing reasonable evidence to their department’s HR section that they have COVID-19.  

  • As a reminder, and unchanged, the 5-10 calendar day isolation period for COVID will remain in place. Employees may utilize COVID sick leave for a maximum period of up to 10 calendar days for isolation following either the date of symptom onset or the date of the positive test (if asymptomatic).  

    • Unchanged, all COVID-positive employees should isolate at home for a minimum of 5 days, regardless of symptom severity. After 5 days, employees whose symptoms have resolved may return to work but must continue to mask on days 6-10 following symptom onset or positive test (if asymptomatic). 

  • The City of Chicago Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy and other forms of leave may apply to employees out of work due to COVID illness.   

  • The Chicago Department of Public Health will continue to monitor citywide case rates, and in close discussion with the Department of Human Resources, Mayor’s Office, and Department of Law, evaluate a timeline to sunset COVID sick leave later this year.  


COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: This policy will remain in effect and unchanged at this time, meaning that new employees must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exemption prior to starting employment with the City. Unvaccinated employees with approved exemptions do not need to routinely submit negative test results.  


COVID-19 Workplace Reporting Requirements: Workplace reporting requirements will be retired with the end of the public health emergency. Beginning May 11, 2023, departments and agencies:  

  • Will not collect or report individual cases of COVID-19 among their employees.   

  • Will not report cases or outbreaks to CDPH or DHR. CDPH, of course, remains able and willing to assist any City of Chicago department or agency that is concerned about a potential workplace outbreak of any disease or condition.    

  • Do not need to pursue work-based contact tracing or employee notification activities related to cases of COVID-19.   

  • Departments should continue to follow OSHA reporting requirements on work-related illness or injury.   


Additional Questions:  

  • Does anything change with the telework policy related to the end of the public health emergency? Can I still telework if my child is sent home from school to quarantine due to COVID-19?   

    • There are no changes to the telework policy related to the end of the public health emergency. Telework due to school-ordered quarantine is covered in the current telework policy and will continue to remain in effect. Note that this policy on school-ordered quarantine is not specific to COVID-19.  

  • I thought there was a lawsuit against the City about the vaccination policy – how does that impact things?   

    • The ruling is not yet final. However, at this point the vaccine policy primarily affects new employees.  

  • Will external-facing City policies, like the anti-retaliation ordinance, remain in place?   

    • Yes. The two existing City COVID-19 anti-retaliation ordinances, which protect employee rights to take time off to get vaccinated and to obey public health orders remain in effect at this time.  

    • The two existing City public health orders requiring hospitals and congregate facilities to provide case reporting to CDPH, and for hospitals to share COVID-related medical records with CDPH, also remain in effect.  


General COVID Reminders: Please visit to learn more about how the end of the public health emergency impacts access to vaccines, treatment, and testing for COVID-19. CDPH will continue to use and make public all available data to track COVID-19 locally, including data about severe disease and healthcare burden, along with variant and wastewater monitoring, to inform public health activities. 


Even after the public health emergency ends, Chicagoans should continue to be aware of COVID-19 and remember the steps they can take to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines remain the best line of defense against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. This is especially important for older adults, people with disabilities, people who are immunocompromised, and people with underlying medical conditions. As the public health emergency ends, vaccines remain free for all, at least in the short term. 

  • Effective early treatments for COVID-19 are available. If you test positive for COVID-19, especially if you are over age 50 and/or have underlying conditions, contact your healthcare provider, community health center, or CDPH to learn about treatment options. Treatment must be started within 5–7 days of developing symptoms to be effective.

  • All Chicagoans can continue to protect themselves and others by wearing masks, getting tested, and staying home if experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms. Gathering out of doors and improving ventilation indoors also help decrease the risk of spreading COVID and other respiratory diseases.

  • Any Chicagoan can continue to call the CDPH COVID hotline (24/7) at 312-746-4835 with questions about COVID, including accessing vaccine or treatment, or to schedule a free at-home vaccine appointment. 


Please contact your department's HR liaison with questions about any of the above employee policies.


Sybil Madison, Ph.D. 

Chief of Staff 


Christopher Owen 

Commissioner, Department of Human Resources 


Allison Arwady, M.D. 

Commissioner, Department of Public Health 

bottom of page