CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’re heading out of town this 4th of July weekend, you might not be able to go where you want when you return.
In a move similar to other cities and states throughout the country, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants anyone traveling into the city from experiencing COVID-19 surges to self-quarantine for 14 days when they return, starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 6.
People traveling from the following states, including Chicago residents returning from these states, are told to quarantine upon returning to Chicago:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
The emergency health order was issued by Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health.
“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,” said Lightfoot. “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.”
Even though the city has seen declines in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the recent surge of new cases across the country was one of the reasons for the emergency order.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, some of those states have seen astounding spikes. In Florida, there were 10,109 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Despite the surge, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not requiring people to wear masks.
Texas has also seen a record number of cases, with 8,076 on Wednesday and 7,915 on Thursday. But unlike Florida, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is now requiring people to wear masks when out in public.
Earlier Thursday, Mayor Lightfoot talked about keeping Chicago on the right COVID-19 path, which is a downward one.
“We are not going to suffer the fate that we’ve seen of other states and localities across the country that did not prudently recognize that reopening is not throwing open the barn door,” Lightfoot said. “Reopening needs to be cautious. It needs to be prudent. It is turning the dimmer switch, and not flicking the light switch and letting everything go up for grabs. It’s not going to happen in Chicago.”
Similar orders have been placed on a statewide in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for travelers from states with coronavirus surges to self quarantine when they reach their home destination.
Illinois has not issued such an order on a statewide basis, and Gov. JB Pritzker’s office said it does not currently intend to do so.
“Municipalities have the ability to issue more stringent guidance for their communities. With other cities in the country experiencing spikes as Independence Day weekend approaches, the governor believes extra caution is warranted, especially when advised by public health experts,” the Governor’s office said in a statement.
“For close to six months now we’ve been laser-focused on containing this virus, limiting infections and ultimately saving lives, and we’ve made tremendous progress,” said Dr. Arwady. “This order is another important measure in helping us further contain the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago.”
People who violate the order can expect some steep penalties.
They will be subject to fines of $100-$500 per day, up to $7,000. The only exceptions to the order will be permitted for travel for medical care and parental shared custody. Business travel to Chicago for essential workers is also on the exempt list.
The quarantine also will not apply to people just passing through Chicago, like those catching a connecting flight or just driving through the city.
EFFECTIVE MONDAY: To preserve the gains Chicago has made, we're issuing an Emergency Travel Order directing travelers entering or returning to Chicago from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases to quarantine for a period of 14 days. More info→ https://t.co/5D7ng691f8 pic.twitter.com/CA26uT7RF6
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 2, 2020
The Mayor’s order has many enforcement concerns and questions, CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov noted.
We are told Dr. Arwady will talk more about that on Friday morning.