By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — The city of Chicago is still cautioning people not to travel if they don’t have to because the spread of COVID-19 continues at an alarming rate across the country.

The travel order starts Friday December 18. The territories include Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

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The city’s health department used a color coded map highlighting the places where COVID cases are not leveling off. Indiana and Wisconsin are two nearby red states. According to the  Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)  based on Chicago case counts, the red list case rate threshold is now 60 new cases per day per 100,000 residents.

Tennessee, Arizona, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, West Virginia have moved from the Orange to the Red list. That makes a total of 31 states in the red.

It is recommended that people avoid traveling to those states. People who travel are advised to quarantine for 10 days. According to the city’s health department, people traveling to states in orange must quarantine for 10 days or get a negative COVID test result before traveling (but not longer than 72 hours before arriving. They must adhere to strict masking, engage in social distancing and avoid in-person gatherings.

Iowa moved down from red to orange. Maine and Vermont were added to the orange zone.

The only state in the yellow zone is Hawaii.

Travelers entering Chicago are now required to quarantine for 10 days if coming from a red list state or orange list state without a negative test. The guidance for each tier is:

  • Yellow: States with a rolling 7-day average less than 15 cases/day/100k residents.
    • No quarantine or pre-arrival test required. Maintain strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
  • Orange: States have a rolling 7-day average between 15 cases/day/100k residents and the Chicago rolling 7-day average (currently: 60 cases/day/100k residents)
    • 10-day quarantine OR pre-arrival negative test no more than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago with strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
  • Red: States have a higher rolling 7-day average of positive cases/day/100k residents than Chicago.
    • 10-day quarantine

Chicago’s quarantine list is updated every other Tuesday and goes into effect the following Friday at 12:01 a.m. The list will be updated again December 29.

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According to the city, people are urged to avoid non-essential travel and to follow standard COVID-19 mitigation practices such as wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and social distancing.

(Credit: City of Chicago)

Essential workers are exempt if they have to travel for work but must limit their activities to work-related activities and avoid public spaces as much as possible. Another travel exception is for “medical care and parental shared custody reasons, commuters, as well as travelers passing through designated states for less than 24 hours in the course of travel.”

For more information, visit the city of Chicago’s COVID emergency travel order site at


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