The latest update to Chicago’s travel order, which now includes Wisconsin, took effect Friday, requiring anyone visiting or returning to the city from one of now 22 states to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The updated order began at midnight after the city announced four states were being added to the list of states travelers must quarantine from. The newest states added include Wisconsin, Missouri, North Dakota and Nebraska.
According to city health officials, essential workers and those commuting from Wisconsin to Chicago for the purpose of work will be exempt from the quarantine, but will be asked to follow certain requirements.
The order will apply to anyone coming from Wisconsin to Chicago for “non-work purposes” as well as Chicago residents returning from Wisconsin who are not deemed essential workers, the city said.
Exceptions can be made for those traveling for medical care and parental shared custody. Anyone traveling through Wisconsin on their way to Chicago from a state not on the travel order will not need to quarantine if they were in Wisconsin for less than 24 hours, officials said. Still, non-essential workers who travel to Wisconsin, even for less than 24 hours, will need to quarantine upon returning, the city said.
Chicago’s mayor had announced Monday that Wisconsin was being added to the list this week, but noted that the city was also watching its neighbors “very carefully.”
“I think Chicago, we are doing well because we were extremely prudent when we started to reopen up,” Lightfoot said. “We didn’t go as large with capacity, for example, as other areas across the country. So what we’re seeing is cities and towns, particularly across the south through the southwest and on to California are really having significant struggles now because many of those communities took a very different approach to the one that Chicago took. We’re also seeing an increase in states around us.”
The city’s travel order is evaluated every Tuesday, with any additions taking effect the following Friday.
States are added to the list if they have “a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average.”
Chicago’s travel order first began on July 6.
In addition to the latest four, other states included are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
“We’re watching all of our neighbors very, very carefully and we’re going to be very prudent,” Lightfoot said Monday.
So far, Indiana has not been added to the city’s list.
“Indiana doesn’t quite rise to that level, which is a good thing for the residents of the Hoosier state but we’re watching all of our neighbors very carefully,” she said.
Arwady said travelers entering or returning to Chicago from “states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases” will need to quarantine “for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state.” Essential workers could be exempt from the quarantine requirement, however, as long as their employer certifies their work in writing.
The order is set to remain in effect until further notice.
The move comes as states across the U.S. see surges of coronavirus cases, many shutting down bars and restaurants in an effort to quell or prevent a spike.
New cases have surged in several states across the nation, setting new records, driven mostly by expanding outbreaks in the American South and West.
New York and New Jersey are also asking visitors from several states from the Carolinas to California to quarantine themselves for two weeks.
Still, outside of Chicago, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state likely won’t require residents who travel to and from neighboring states to quarantine for two weeks solely because of that travel.
“We don’t live in a country where you close the borders between states,” Pritzker said during the governor’s coronavirus briefing. “And we’re not going to stop people who live in Illinois and work in Wisconsin from doing so.”