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Wisconsin joins Chicago’s emergency travel quarantine order this week

If you visit our neighbors to the north, officials are directing you to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

At the beginning of July, the Chicago Department of Public Health issued an emergency travel order, directing anyone entering or returning to Chicago from a state with rising case numbers to self-quarantine for 14 days. The order was implemented with a list of 15 states with case rates greater than 15 new cases per 100,000 residents, and three more states (Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas) have joined the list over the past month. During a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Wisconsin will be the 19th state to join the quarantine list when it is updated on Friday.

The addition of our neighbors to the north to Chicago's emergency travel order doesn't come as a surprise—both Lightfoot and Chicago's Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady have mentioned over the past week that Wisconsin was on track to join the quarantine list. Wisconsin has seen a steady increase in its confirmed case numbers since mid-June, a few weeks after Governor Tony Evers' "safer at home" order expired, allowing businesses to reopen.

Wisconsin is a popular destination for many Chicagoans, especially during a time when most people are opting to drive rather than fly when booking vacations or weekend travel, so the state's addition to Chicago's quarantine list could disrupt some travel plans. It's important to note that trips to and from Wisconsin are still allowable, but the official advice for anyone entering or returning to Chicago from the state is to self-quarantine for 14 days. Anyone who regularly commutes to and from Wisconsin for essential work, medical care or parental shared custody is exempted from the self-quarantine requirement.

"We're watching all of our neighbors very, very carefully and we're going to be very prudent," Lightfoot said in response to a question about whether or not Indiana may be added to the quarantine list at some point (it's safe for now). Lightfoot also revealed that in spite of a $100–$500 daily fine ($7,000 maximum) that can be imposed on violators of the emergency travel order, the city has yet issue any fines—likely because there's not an enforcement mechanism in place.

Wisconsin will officially be added to Chicago's emergency travel order quarantine list on Friday, July 31 at 12:01am. If you're planning a trip up north to relax by a lake or to pick up some coveted New Glarus beer, be aware that you probably shouldn't see anyone outside of your household for 14 days after you return.

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