Chicago Travel Order Updated: 46 States Now on List Requiring Quarantine or Negative Test

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Chicago updated its emergency travel order on Tuesday, now including 46 U.S. states and one territory in the orange tier that requires either a 10-day quarantine or negative COVID-19 test before arrival in the city.

Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota and Puerto Rico were moved to the yellow tier Tuesday, which does not require quarantine or a pre-arrival coronavirus test but remains under an advisory to avoid non-essential travel, the Chicago Department of Public Health said.

All 46 other states and the District of Columbia remain in the orange tier. Updates to the order are issued every other Tuesday and take effect the following Friday.

"Though the Chicago case numbers have dropped of late, this is not a time to let our guard down," CDPH said in a statement. "To maintain the current trajectory, we must double down on what we know prevents COVID spread. This includes wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands and staying at home as much as you can. Chicago residents are strongly advised to cancel non-essential travel."

The guidelines and restrictions for the emergency order changed again last month, adjusting to the two-tiered system categorizing states as either orange or yellow and eliminating a previous "red" category.

Orange states and territories have average coronavirus rates above 15 cases per day, per 100,000 residents and yellow states and territories have rates below 15 cases per day, per 100,000 residents.

While health officials urged residents to avoid travel if possible, here are the requirements for each category:

  • Yellow: States with a rolling 7-day average less than 15 cases/day/100k residents.
    • No quarantine or pre-arrival test required. Maintain strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
  • Orange: States have a rolling 7-day average above 15 cases/day/100k residents
    • 10-day quarantine OR pre-arrival negative test no more than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago with strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings

The emergency travel order requiring a quarantine for travelers from certain locations was first issued in July in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady has said previously that no matter a state's color under the order, she would not recommend any unnecessary travel.

The city said it hopes to simply educate travelers about the order, but those found in violation could be subject to fines of between $100 and $500 per day, up to $7,000.

"The quarantine and pre-arrival testing requirements apply to people even if they have no COVID-19 symptoms," the city's health department said in a statement last month announcing the order's update.

Exceptions can be made for travel for medical care, parental shared custody and business travel for essential workers. It also does not apply to an individual passing through states for less than 24 hours over the course of travel, including layovers at airport or people driving through a particular state. Daily commuters to and from neighboring states are also exempt.

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