Twenty-five total states and Puerto Rico are now on the Chicago travel quarantine order. The four new states added Tuesday were Indiana, North Carolina, Rhode Island and New Mexico.
The threshold for inclusion on the quarantine order list is an average of at least more than 15 new cases per 100,000.
Wisconsin also remains on the quarantine travel order. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady reminded the public that the two-week travel quarantine is required for anyone coming from Wisconsin or Indiana to Chicago for non-work purposes, and for any Chicago resident returning from Wisconsin or Indiana, even if they were there less than 24 hours, unless they are an essential worker.
Other exemptions from the quarantine order include students who regularly travel over the Illinois-Indiana border for school, personal travel for medical care, and parental shared custody.
Chicago residents are strongly advised not to travel to any state on the quarantine list.
Anyone violating the order can be fined up to $500 a day, but with the northwest Indiana and Chicago border so intertwined, some wonder if enforcement is even possible.
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In Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood, many do much of their shopping and business in Indiana.
“Pfft. Who’s going to stop me?” said retired police officer Jerry Zepeda. “OK, how are they going to enforce this?”
Jessica Nardaez owns a produce store in Whiting, Ind. She said the new travel quarantine order could shutter her business.
“We’ll be forced to close down,” she said.
Nardaez makes daily trips to the city to purchase and pick up produce. Already struggling, she wonders if the ban will take what few customers she has left.
“We could not be able to provide produce for our community at a reasonable price,” she said.
Nardaez is likely exempt from the quarantine, as she would be making trips to and from the city for work. Dr. Arwady said essential work travel is allowed under the rules of the travel order.
Indiana was added to the travel order after a decision by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in September to move the state to the fifth and final stage of its reopening plan, which relaxed many remaining COVID-19 restrictions kept a mask mandate temporarily in place.
According to the latest numbers available, cases and positivity rates continue to climb.
The states and territories currently subject to quarantine are:
Travelers from the states are required to quarantine for 14 days. Essential workers are exempt. However, they are asked to limit activities to work activities and monitor for any symptoms.
Violators can be fined $100 – $500 per day, up to a maximum of $7,000.
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