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Chicago Quarantine Order In Effect At 12:01 a.m. Monday For Those Coming From States With COVID-19 Surges

CHICAGO (CBS) — Effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Chicago’s travel quarantine order was set to begin for those coming from states with coronavirus surges.

The order affects anyone coming to Chicago from the following states, or Chicago residents who have traveled to these states and are returning home:

People traveling from the following states, including Chicago residents returning from these states, are told to quarantine upon returning to Chicago:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

With the order taking effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, thousands of people were advised to think twice before traveling. The order is in effect indefinitely, and it is not a suggestion, but a mandate from Chicago health officials.

As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported Sunday night, those who break the rule could be fined up to $7,000.

This comes as Chicago fights to keep COVID-19 cases down, and as the city remains a popular spot. Last week, it was a top-listed travel destination

“Texas, Arizona, Florida – great places to go, but that switched. Everyone’s moving, essentially, up north away from all these hot spots which is totally understandable, given the safety concerns that nine out of ten travelers tell us are most important,” said Trip Advisor chief executive officer Stephen Kaufer.

Chicago has seen a steady decrease in COVID-19 cases over the past months. The city’s highest count came in mid-April.

Officials said restricted states like Florida now have a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

But a quarantine mandate comes with expected enforcement. In places like Hawaii, there is a quarantine enforcement task force, and visitors and residents are screened at airports and then get follow-up phone calls.

But Chicago officials told the public last week they are not necessarily taking a hands-on approach.

“We do not have a plan to, for example, look for out of state license plates and pulled people over we or to create a list of people who are traveling and track them down,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

The Chicago police is also more lenient that the tri-state quarantine policy for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, which are working off of list of states with a 10% positivity rate.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seems serious about enforcement.

“We’d like the Port Authority Police working with the airlines to get those names and share them with the city,” de Blasio said last week.

What happens if you’re caught breaking the quarantine? In Chicago, you could face fines of $100-$500 per day, up to $7,000.

By comparison in New York, the penalty could be up to $10,000.

The Chicago policy does not apply to people catching a connecting flight or passing through Chicago. And if a state is not now on the list, that could change, as it gets updated every week.

Illinois has not issued such an order on a statewide basis, and Gov. JB Pritzker’s office said last week that the state does not currently intend to do so. But Pritzker earlier indicated that could change.

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