CHICAGO (CBS) — In a phenomenon we haven’t seen in nearly a year, there are now no COVID-19 travel restrictions for Chicago.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Tuesday, more freedom for travelers could also mean more cash for the State of Illinois.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Storms Headed Our Way After Midnight; Damaging Winds And Heavy Rain Possible
For those looking to hit the skies and get out of town, or head to Chicago for a summer escape, it’s now all about the yellow. States in the yellow tier, as defined by the Chicago Department of Public Health, have a seven-day rolling average of 15 cases or fewer per 100,000 residents per day.
The department announced Tuesday that for the first time since the CDPH began issuing travel orders back in July of 2020, all states are in the yellow tier. There are none in the orange tier, with more than 15 cases per 100,000 residents.
According to CDPH, only four states are reporting more than 10 cases per day per 100,000 residents: Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, and West Virginia. No Midwest states are above 7.9 cases per day, per 100,000 residents:
State – Cases/100,000
- Indiana – 7.9
- Michigan – 7.9
- Illinois- 7.3
- Missouri – 7.3
- Minnesota – 7.1
- Wisconsin – 4.3
- Iowa – 3.7
The city updates its emergency travel order every two weeks, with changes taking effect the following Friday. The next update will be on June 15.
This means now that no COVID testing or quarantining is required for visitors and city dwellers coming back from a trip. Dr. Allison Arwady credits the declining COVID case average – 157 cases per day in Chicago – and the COVID vaccine as reasons the city was able to drop its domestic emergency travel restrictions.
The good news is trends are improving in most states. But Dr. Emily Landon, chief epidemiologist for UChicago Medicine, said that does not mean everyone should just travel with abandon yet.READ MORE: Years After Promise Of $100,000 From State And Photo-Op Prop Check, AMVETS Post 14 In Clinton, Illinois Has Not Seen A Dime
“The good news is that the trends are improving in most states,” Landon said. “I would say we’re in a situation now where we have a tale of two diseases.”
The vaccinated are protected, but the unvaccinated remain at risk.
“If you are an unvaccinated person coming from that state, you certainly could be very high-risk for spreading COVID here in Chicago – and if you are an unvaccinated person traveling to and spending time with unvaccinated people, you really could get COVID just as severe or just as bad as you could in January,” Landon said.
Meanwhile, the yellow map is not the only news for most travelers. It is a potential lifeline to the state’s bottom line – tourism – and its possible revival.
Before the shutdown, Illinois saw a record number of visitors in 2019 – 120 million of them, who spent more than $43 billion.
The 2020 numbers are expected to be half that, at best.
Tourism leaders hope with travel restrictions gone, those visitors will come back.MORE NEWS: Some Residents Say A Bears Move To Arlington Heights Would Benefit Community, Others Say It Would Bring Unwelcome Traffic And Crowds
With the travel map being updated every two weeks, restrictions could still be put back in place if trends reverse.