Lightfoot Orders Visitors to Chicago from COVID-19 Hot Spots to Quarantine for 2 Weeks

Video: Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s Department of Public Health commissioner, discusses the quarantine on “Chicago Tonight.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday ordered those traveling to Chicago from states where confirmed cases of the coronavirus are surging to quarantine for two weeks starting Monday.

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The order covers travelers from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

All of those states now have a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average.

“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,” Lightfoot said in a statement that came at the start of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. “This emergency order will not only help contain the local spread of COVID-19 and preserve the positive progress we’ve made, it will also serve to prevent further spread nationwide and support the efforts of officials in other cities and states.”

Travelers from those 15 states must stay “at a single designated home or dwelling for 14 days before doing any activities outside of the home or dwelling,” according to the mayor’s office.

It was not immediately clear how the order would be enforced.

Violators could face fines of $100-$500 per day for a maximum fine of $7,000, according to the mayor’s office. 

Travel to obtain medical care, exchange children subject to a shared custody order and for essential workers is exempt from the order, according to the mayor’s office. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said June 24 he had no plans to issue a quarantine order for travelers to Illinois, where 2.6% of all tests for the coronavirus were positive on Thursday. That is significantly lower than all but a handful of states.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a similar quarantine order on Tuesday for travelers from states with rising coronavirus cases, and Hawaii has ordered travelers to quarantine since March.

Both Pritzker and Lightfoot have said they will not hesitate to reimpose restrictions if the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus rise.  

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

Note: This story was originally published July 2, 2020. It has been updated to include our interview with Dr. Allison Arwady.

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