Planning on traveling anytime soon? Before you pack up and go, take note: For the first time in more than a month, new states have been added to Chicago's emergency travel advisory as the Delta variant causes COVID-19 caseloads to trend upward in certain regions of the United States.
Starting Friday, July 16, unvaccinated travelers coming from Missouri and Arkansas will be asked to quarantine or get a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of re-entering the city, according to the latest update from the Chicago Department of Public Health. The two states have been moved to the "orange" tier of the advisory, meaning that they're currently averaging more than 15 COVID cases a day per 100,000 residents at 21.2 and 19.2 cases per 100,000 residents, respectively.
It's the first time since early June that states have been included on the travel advisory (formerly known as the emergency travel order), when the city announced that no states reached the threshold for the orange tier for the first time since 2020 and thus would no longer require quarantine for domestic travel. The CDPH subsequently relaxed the travel warning from a mandatory order—technically punishable by up to $7,000 in fines, though there haven't been any publicly reported cases of enforcement—to a non-mandatory advisory on June 29. Still, officials have warned that the mandatory order might be reinstated if cases continue to climb.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and this only goes to show that the virus is still very much a threat and that we must all remain vigilant against it," CDPH commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. "That means getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public settings if you are not fully vaccinated."
The travel advisory is updated every two weeks, so we'll have to wait see if the Delta variant continues to push additional states into the orange tier. Until then, don't forget to bring a mask if you're traveling on a plane, train or any other kind of transit on your way to vacation!