CHICAGO (CBS) — Wisconsin has been a popular getaway for people from Chicago during the coronavirus pandemic, but by Tuesday, anyone who visits will have to quarantine when they get home.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is adding the Badger State to the city’s quarantine order.

She said despite summer travel, people need to be on their guard to stop the spread of COVID-19. The mayor said while cities in the south and southwest have seen a record number of coronavirus cases, she hopes to keep the spreading at a distance for Chicagoans.

“We’re also seeing an increase in states around us. Wisconsin, for example, is going to go on our quarantine list later this week,” Lightfoot said. “And even in the suburban Cook County area, we have some concerns about what we’re seeing.”

There are already 18 other states for which the city is requiring anyone traveling from to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in the city.

We asked how many people have actually been fined so far for failing to quarantine after to coming to Chicago from those states. As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, the answer was none.

Coming to Chicago from Wisconsin does not require a flight. Wisconsin also had an early reopening for restaurants, bars, and other businesses. Thus, Wisconsin has seen a surge of travelers from the Midwest – Cook County included.

Popular spots like the Wisconsin Dells, Noah’s Ark, and Lake Geneva have continued to welcome vacationers.

The City of Lake Geneva said its parking revenues, beach revenues, and boat launch fees have exceeded what they brought in in previous years. (Keys)
And that is despite being added to the travel quarantine list for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut back on Tuesday, July 14.

Now, Wisconsin will soon become the 19th state on Chicago’s two-week quarantine list.

That list already includes Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

The mandate has been in effect since July 6 and the city threatened fines as high as $7,000 for those who disobey it.

But when we asked the Chicago Department of Public Health how much money they’ve collected in fines for quarantine breakers, the answer was ZERO.

“This has really got to be about not just fining people into compliance, but understanding the risk factors out there and the risks that they’re taking for their own health and the risk factors for everyone they come into contact with,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

Of course, there are some exemptions for travel involving those states – for medical care, for essential workers, and for shared custody of children.

The list is officially updated on Tuesdays, so Wisconsin will not be added until then.

Meanwhile, cases of COVID-19 have also been rising sharply in Indiana. But Mayor Lightfoot said Indiana has not yet met the threshold 15 new cases per 100,000 people to warrant addition to the quarantine list.

Still, the mayor said they will be watching carefully.

Indiana’s mask mandate officially went into effect Monday.

 

Megan Hickey