Chicago Orders Quarantines for Travelers From 15 States

Hoping to keep the lid on the coronavirus outbreak, the city of Chicago will require visitors from states with a surge of cases to quarantine for 14 days.

Effective July 6, the order applies to states with a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a seven-day rolling average.

As of now, those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Travelers from these states are directed to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. Violators are subject to fines of $100 to $500 per day, up to $7,000.

“Like every action we have taken in response to the COVID-19 crisis, this decision was difficult but necessary in order to ensure the continued health and safety of Chicago’s residents and businesses,” Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said in a news release.

The list of states included in the order will be updated every Tuesday, and the order will be in effect until further notice. There are exceptions for essential workers traveling for work purposes and for other specific circumstances. Other states have similar restrictions.

“For close to six months now we’ve been laser-focused on containing this virus, limiting infections and ultimately saving lives, and we’ve made tremendous progress,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “That remains our focus today, and this order is another important measure in helping us further contain the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago.”

Chicago has experienced several weeks of declining new daily cases, and the percent positivity rate – the percentage of people tested who are positive for COVID-19 – has fallen steeply and is now under 5 percent. But the city is still considered an area of moderate-high incidence under Centers for Disease Control guidance, and officials don’t want to see those gains reversed.

The order will be communicated to travelers through signage at O’Hare and Midway International Airports, on highways and roadways, as well as through city websites and social media channels. The city has asked hotels and short-term rentals to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the designated states as well.

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