July 7, 2020

If you, your colleagues, your employees, or your clients have travel plans to or from a COVID-19 hotspot, the City of Chicago is requiring a two-week quarantine. On July 2, 2020, the City of Chicago issued an Emergency Travel Order directing travelers either coming into Chicago or returning to Chicago from a state experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days. The emergency order took effect on July 6, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. To date, this emergency order only applies to individuals arriving in Chicago. The State of Illinois has not taken similar action.

The emergency order applies to states that have had a case rate of COVID-19 greater than 15 new cases per 100,000 residents, per day, on a seven-day rolling average. The emergency order applies only if the traveler has spent 24 hours in the designated states. Therefore, if an individual simply drove through a designated state or had a connecting flight in a designated state, they are not subject to the restriction. In addition, the emergency order does not apply currently to international travel.

As of the date the emergency order was issued, the following states were subject to this quarantine restriction:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

This list is subject to change and is scheduled to be amended every Tuesday starting on July 14, 2020, with the changes to take effect three days thereafter, or the next Friday. For the latest information on the states subject to the travel ban, you can visit the City of Chicago's website.

Importantly, an individual can be fined if found to be in violation of the emergency order. The fines range from $100 to $500 per day, up to a maximum $7,000. There are exemptions for "essential workers," as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, such as individuals employed in emergency services, government facilities, and information technology. However, the definition of "essential workers" can be technical and the emergency order adds requirements for these professionals, including that the travel be for a work purpose and that any nonessential activities be avoided until the quarantine period has ended.

Please contact your Much attorney if you have questions about the emergency order, who constitutes an "essential worker," or anything else that pertains to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business. Stay healthy!

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.