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Chicago’s Travel Order Adds 13 States To Most Severe Category

The order's rules apply to all travelers, even those not showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Katherine Johnson/Flickr
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CHICAGO — The city has released its updated Emergency Travel Order, which moves 13 states into its most severe category.

The order break states and territories into three categories — Yellow, Orange and Red — based on how bad their outbreak is. Regardless of which category a place falls into, the Chicago Department of Public Health is advising people to avoid any kind of travel since COVID-19 is surging across most of the United States.

This week, eight states were upgraded from the Orange to the Red category, while just one — Iowa — moved down from Red to Orange. Maine and Vermont, which had been in the Yellow category, were moved to Orange, as well.

The order’s rules apply to all travelers, even those not showing symptoms of COVID-19.

All people who still opt to travel will be asked to social distance, wear a mask and avoid gatherings. But people who go to states and territories listed as Red or Orange under the order face special requirements.

Travelers coming to Chicago from places in a Red category must quarantine for 10 days in a single place upon arriving in the city. Requirements for safely quarantining are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Travelers coming from places in an Orange category must quarantine for 10 days, or they can get a pre-arrival negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before getting to Chicago and they will not need to quarantine.

Travelers coming from places in a Yellow category do not need to quarantine or get a pre-arrival test.

Only people who spent a day or longer in Orange or Red places need to quarantine once they get to Chicago. People who have had layovers in those states do not need to quarantine.

There are still some exceptions: People can travel for medical care and parental shared custody, and essential workers can travel for business. But essential workers who travel for business must limit their activities to work-related functions and avoid public spaces.

The latest update goes into effect Friday. The list of states in each category will be updated every two weeks.

People found violating the quarantine order could be fined $100-$500 per day, up to $7,000.

Here’s the list:

Yellow: States with 15 or fewer average daily cases per 100,000 residents. The city asks people not to travel unless it’s essential, but people who come to Chicago from those areas do not have to quarantine or get a test. They must still wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid gatherings.

• Hawaii


Orange: States with more than 15 average daily cases per 100,000 residents, but less than that number in Chicago. People should avoid traveling to those areas or coming from those areas to Chicago. People who do still travel are required to quarantine for 10 days or get a negative COVID-19 test before arrival. They must still wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid gatherings.

• District of Columbia
• Florida
• Georgia
• Iowa
• Louisiana
• Maine
• Maryland
• Michigan
• Missouri
• New Jersey
• New York
• North Carolina
• Oregon
• Puerto Rico
• South Carolina
• Texas
• Vermont
• Virginia
• Washington


Red: States with more average daily cases per 100,000 residents than Chicago. People should avoid traveling to those areas or coming from those areas to Chicago. People who do still travel are required to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of if they get a negative COVID-19 test.

• Alabama
• Alaska
• Arizona
• Arkansas
• California
•.Colorado
• Connecticut
• Delaware
• Idaho
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Kansas
• Kentucky
• Massachusetts
• Minnesota
• Mississippi
• Montana
• Nebraska
• Nevada
• New Hampshire
• New Mexico
• North Dakota
• Ohio
• Oklahoma
• Pennsylvania
• Rhode Island
• South Dakota
• Tennessee
• Utah
• West Virginia
• Wisconsin
• Wyoming

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