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Chicago quarantine: 2 new states added to city’s travel quarantine order for travelers from states with surging COVID-19 rates

By ABC7 Chicago Digital Team

Two more states were added to Chicago’s mandatory travel quarantine order Tuesday.

Beginning Friday, anyone traveling to Chicago from Iowa or Oklahoma will have to self-quarantine for two weeks. Chicago health officials plan to reassess the list each week and add or remove states depending on the latest data.

The emergency travel order took effect on July 6 for travelers from the following states:


-North Carolina
-South Carolina

Chicago leaders announced the order before the start of the 4th of July holiday.

“These are states that are seeing new cases of COVID at the rate we were seeing here in Chicago and Illinois back when we were under our stay-at-home order,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

There are exceptions to the order, including essential work and medical travel.

Speaking to ABC7 on Wednesday, Chicago’s public health commissioner hinted this could be coming.

“We’ve been looking at other states that have done this,” Dr. Allison Arwady said. “We definitely are considering it, I would say considering it strongly. It’s important if we’re thinking of doing this that we’re doing this to do it in a way that’s consistent as it can be I think with other places that have made that decision.”

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, the states designated in the travel order have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19. A state will be designated if it has a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average.

Essential workers who must travel to Chicago must provide a certified note from their employer so that it can be reviewed by the health department and Chicago police. Essential workers will be subject to requirements that include limiting their activities to work-related activities and avoiding public spaces as much as possible.

Non-essential business travelers are also required to comply. Exceptions to the order for personal travel will be permitted for medical care and parental shared custody.

Back in May, Chicago health officials reported more than 1,000 cases and 50 deaths per day. Now the city is seeing well under 200 cases and about eight deaths per day.

For Aurora resident Kim Schulz, she said even though the order doesn’t apply to her family’s upcoming Florida trip, they plan to minimize their exposure when they come back for the safety of others.

“I think that we’ll probably be a little bit more cautious, plus I have grand babies so you know, we got to be really careful around them too,” Schulz said.

The president of the Illinois Restaurant Association is optimistic business won’t immediately suffer.

“Our neighboring states are not on the list,” said Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. “If our neighboring states do get put on the list, it could make it a little tougher for the hospitality industry here in the city of Chicago.”

If family and friends are coming to visit, family members who did not travel from a designated state are not required to self-quarantine.

“If people are coming to visit you from Chicago, you really want to make them aware of this,” said Clint Henderson, a travel expert and senior news editor for The Points Guy. “The airlines and hotels have been very flexible in the age of coronavirus, so have them call their airline, have them call their hotel and ask them what their policies are. Most of the time they are able to get their money back if they have to cancel their trip.”

The order will remain in effect until further notice. The city said that individuals found in violation of the quarantine order are subject to fines of $100 – $500 per day, up to $7,000.

You can read the full emergency travel order and find frequently asked questions about the order on the Chicago Department of Public Health website.

This article originally appeared on ABC7 News.

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