Emergency Travel Order


Updated as of 12/1/2020

In response to increased and high rates of COVID-19 transmission across the United States, and to add to Chicago’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the City is issuing a Travel Order applicable to anyone coming into the City of Chicago from designated states with a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19. Anyone traveling from a state on the Orange list is directed to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 14-day period (or the duration of their time in Chicago, whichever is shorter). Anyone traveling from a state on the Red list must quarantine for a 14-day period or the duration of their time in Chicago, whichever is shorter. The Order is subject to the limited exemptions outlined in the ‘Exemptions tab’.


 

 

Travel Advisory

Required upon arrival in Chicago

Red

Above *Chicago’s avg. daily cases per 100k residents

Avoid travel

14-day quarantine

Orange

15.0 to *Chicago’s avg. daily cases per 100k residents

Avoid travel

14-day quarantine
or

Pre-arrival negative test result (no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival) with strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings

Yellow

0.0 to 15.0 avg. daily cases per 100k residents

Avoid non-essential travel

No quarantine or pre-arrival test required. Maintain strict masking and social distancing

Note: *The Chicago daily cases per 100k threshold is based on Chicago’s current per capita case rate and is adjusted every 2 weeks.


Steps to follow the Order:

  1. When planning, review the CDPH Travel Order state list. Avoid all non-essential travel.
  2. Prior to arrival, Orange list travelers must receive a negative COVID-19 test result no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival and have proof of negative results OR plan to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Red list travelers should plan for a 14-day quarantine.
  3. Upon arrival in Chicago, Orange list travelers should maintain a copy of negative test result with them while in Chicago or quarantine for 14 days if they chose not to take a test. Red list travelers should quarantine for 14 days.
Get the Facts: (English, Spanish)

Frequently Asked Questions

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Chicago Emergency Travel Order State by State List

This list is updated every other Tuesday and goes into effect the following Friday at 12:01 a.m.

This updated Order goes into effect on Friday, November 13, at 12:01AM.

The Order applies to individuals arriving in the City of Chicago, while they are in the city. The city limits are defined in this interactive map.

A state is designated Yellow if it has a case rate lower than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, per day, over a 7-day rolling average. 

A state is designated Orange if it has a case rate between 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, per day, over a 7-day rolling average and the Chicago COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, per day, over a 7-day rolling average.

A state is designated Red if it has a case rate higher than Chicago’s COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, per day, over a 7-day rolling average. States are assigned to each list and the Chicago case rate is updated every other week.

The list of states will be amended every other Tuesday, with the Order effective for those states the following Friday (three days later).

Individuals found in violation of the Order are subject to fines of $100 - $500 per day, up to $7,000.

The Order will be communicated through messaging on highways, at airports and train stations, on the City’s website, and through social media. Hotels and short-term rentals will be asked to communicate the Order to guests.

Given the volatility of the daily data reports and the disruption that adding a neighboring state to the travel ordinance causes, neighboring states will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Individuals who live outside Chicago but regularly commute into Chicago for work can continue to do so as usual if they have not traveled to a high incidence state. If they have traveled to a Red or Orange list state, they are subject to the “essential worker” conditions and requirements for Chicago residents set forth in this FAQ in order to not have to quarantine or receive a negative test within 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago.

If you are coming from a state on the red or orange list prior to 12:01 AM, Friday November 13, you must complete your 14 day quarantine, unless deemed an essential worker or qualify for another exemption.

There are no travel restrictions within Illinois. However, non-essential travel to the areas of high incidence is discouraged. Areas of high incidence are determined by IDPH and can be found here. If essential travel is needed to these areas, follow the prevention techniques such as using a face covering, frequent hand washing/sanitization, and maintaining social distancing. If you feel sick, you should refrain from all travel and stay at home, unless seeking medical treatment.

The Order does not apply to any individual passing through designated states for less than 24 hours in the course of travel.

The Order does not apply to any individual passing through designated states for less than 24 hours in the course of travel.

If your final destination is a state on the designated list, then you must follow the Order, even if you are in that state for less than 24 hours. The Order does not apply if you are traveling through a designated state and are in the state for less than 24 hours.

Once the state is moved to the Yellow list (which would be announced on a Tuesday) you can end your quarantine, effective immediately. Additionally, there are no longer any testing requirements for those arriving in Chicago from that state, effective immediately. All individuals are still expected to follow the latest public health guidance for Chicago while in the city.

If a state moves from the Red list to the Orange list (which would be announced on a Tuesday):

  • Anyone currently quarantining in Chicago after returning from what had been a Red state must complete their 14-day quarantine, regardless of testing status
  • Anyone planning to travel from those states to Chicago can now receive a pre-arrival test result no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago in place of a 14-day quarantine, effective immediately

If a state moves from the Yellow list to the Orange list (which would be announced on a Tuesday):

  • That state will officially be added to the Order effective Friday, 12:01AM of that week. If you arrive in Chicago before that date/ time, you have no quarantine or testing requirements. If you arrive after that date / time, you must either quarantine for 14-days or receive a negative test result no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago.

If a state is moved to the Red list (which would be announced on a Tuesday):

  • Anyone returning to Chicago prior to Friday, 12:01AM of that week can still receive a pre-arrival test result no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago in place of a 14-day quarantine.
  • Those arriving to Chicago after Friday, 12:01AM of that week must complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Chicago, regardless of testing status

If you were in a Red or Orange list state, unless you are traveling through, you must follow the Order, even if you spent time in a non-designated state for a period after being in the designated state and before arriving in Chicago.

Travelers coming to Chicago for non-essential business and residents returning to Chicago from a designated state must adhere to the Order, subject to the limited exemptions outlined in the ‘Exemptions tab’.

Yes, all travelers arriving on or after the effective date of November 13, 2020, are required to follow the quarantine Order, subject to the limited exemptions outlined in the ‘Exemptions tab’.

The Order’s mandatory quarantine for Red list states is 14 days or the duration of the individual’s presence in Chicago, whichever is shorter. If you are traveling from an Orange list state and choose to not do a pre-arrival test, you must quarantine for a period of 14 days or the duration of your presence in Chicago, whichever is shorter.

The Order does not apply to individuals changing planes at a Chicago airport, changing trains at a Chicago station, or traveling directly to a suburban municipality or otherwise out of the city limits. However, all individuals are expected to follow the latest public health guidance for Chicago while in the city, including in the airport terminals and railroad stations. This includes the mandate that individuals over the age of 2 wear masks or face coverings at all times.

No. Household members who did not travel from a designated state are not required to quarantine or receive a negative COVID-19 test.

All travelers returning to Chicago from the designated states must follow the Order unless deemed an essential worker and subject to the limited exemptions outlined in the ‘Exemptions tab’.

Any employer with an employee subject to the Order because the employee departed the state on or after November 13, 2020 for non-work-related travel, and subject themselves to quarantine upon return, should consult the City's Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in determining the appropriate response.  If the employer is covered under the FFCRA and if the employee is unable to work or telework due to one of the specified COVID-related reasons in the FFCRA, the employee is likely eligible for up to two weeks of paid leave under the FFCRA.

Yes, the Order applies to all travel unless outlined in the “exemptions” tab.

If you are in an Orange state for fewer than 72 hours, you still must take a test within 72 hours of returning to Chicago, or complete a 14-day quarantine upon your return. The test cannot be taken in Chicago prior to your travel. If you arrive in Chicago and are still waiting for the test result, you must quarantine until you receive it.  

The Order does not apply to individuals picking up or dropping off at Chicago airports, Chicago train station, or traveling directly to a suburban municipality or otherwise out of the city limits. However, all individuals are expected to follow the latest public health guidance for Chicago while in the city, including in the airport terminals and railroad stations. This includes the mandate that individuals over the age of 2 wear masks or face coverings at all times.

Travelers from Orange list states who choose the pre-arrival testing option should receive a COVID-19 test prior to arrival in Chicago. Contact the local health department to learn more about testing options in each state.

If you are traveling to or from an Orange list state, travelers must receive a negative test result no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago. If you are traveling to a Red list state, there is no testing option and you must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. If you are traveling to a Yellow list state, you do not need to have a test or quarantine.

Turnaround time for COVID-19 test results varies across the country. Research testing turnaround timelines prior to travel. If you arrive in Chicago and are still waiting for results, you must quarantine until you receive your results.

If you are traveling from an Orange list state and receive a pre-arrival negative test result no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago, you do not need to quarantine. If you are traveling from a Red list state, you must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of a test result.

Testing information does not need to be submitted, but please keep a copy of your results with you while in Chicago.

If you receive a positive test for COVID-19, you most likely DO currently have an active COVID-19 infection and can give the virus to others. Stay home and follow CDPH guidance on steps to protect yourself and others. Do not travel unless seeking medical care.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you most likely DO NOT currently have an active COVID-19 infection and no longer need to quarantine. However, you must continue to wear a mask when in public settings and practice social distancing. You should keep monitoring symptoms and follow CDPH guidance on steps to protect yourself and others.

If you cannot take a test prior to arrival, you have the option to take a post-arrival test in Chicago under two conditions:

  1. You quarantine in Chicago until you receive a negative test result
  2. The test must come from a private test provider (you cannot use a CDPH community-based testing site to fulfill the travel order requirement due to limited testing capacity at these locations).

If you cannot be tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving in Chicago and do not take a post-arrival test, you must quarantine for 14 days (or the duration of your stay, whichever is shorter).

If you are traveling to or from an Orange list state, your pre-arrival test must be a diagnostic test. An antibody test does not qualify.

Children under the age of 18 are exempt from the Order if they traveled with others who have receive a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test. Children who travel alone are required to follow the Order for pre-arrival testing or quarantine.

Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease before a person knows they are sick, including if a traveler has been infected with the virus but does not have symptoms. Under this Order, quarantine means staying at a single designated home or dwelling for 14 days before doing any activities outside of the home or dwelling. People in quarantine should separate themselves from others as much as possible and check themselves for symptoms. Additional requirements under quarantine include:

  • The individual must not be in public or otherwise leave the dwelling that they have identified as suitable for their quarantine, unless seeking medical care.
  • If seeking medical care or testing, or when traveling to or from the airport, train station, or bus station (if applicable), a face covering must be worn, and public transportation must not be used.
  • Food and other needed supplies must be delivered to the individual’s dwelling; the individual may not leave the premises to acquire supplies.
  • The traveling individual or family group should be situated in separate quarters with a separate bedroom and, if possible, separate bathroom facility from non-traveling household members.
  • The individual must self-monitor for symptoms potentially consistent with COVID-19. If any symptoms develop, the individual may leave the dwelling to receive testing for COVID-19 but then must return to complete the 14-day quarantine while isolating from other household members, regardless of the test result.

Yes. All travelers returning to Chicago from the designated states must follow the Order unless deemed an essential worker and subject to the limited exemptions outlined in the ‘Exemptions tab’.

For purposes of the Order and this FAQ, “essential workers” are not subject to the mandatory self-quarantine if their travel is for work purposes under the following circumstances:

(a) if a non-resident of Chicago, is traveling from a designated state to Chicago for the primary purpose of carrying out their primary work in Chicago, and who needs to be physically present in Chicago in order to carry out that primary work, with identification issued by their employer, or

(b) if a resident of Chicago, is returning from a designated state, and was in the designated state for the primary purpose of carrying out their primary work in that state, and who needed to be physically present in that state in order to carry out that primary work, with identification issued by their employer.

An essential worker whose travel is for non-work purposes is subject to the Order and is not covered by this exception.

An “essential worker” is a person who works in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. “Essential worker” includes any state, local, and federal officials and employees traveling in their official capacities on government business, including military service.

Essential workers traveling for work purposes are subject to the following requirements:

  • Essential workers should avoid any non-essential interactions until the quarantine period has ended. They must limit their activities to work-related activities and functions that directly support their work-related activities and avoid public spaces as much as possible.
  • Essential workers should monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect workspaces.
  • Essential workers are required, to the extent possible, to avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings.

Exceptions to the Order for personal travel will be permitted for travel for medical care and parental shared custody. The Commissioner of Health may additionally grant an exemption based upon an organization’s or business’ testing and other control policies or in extraordinary circumstances, which warrant an exception from mandatory quarantine, subject to the terms and conditions applied to essential workers or terms and conditions otherwise imposed by the Commissioner in the interest of public health.

Students who commute regularly to Chicago for school from designated states are exempted from the Order, but should follow the same guidance as essential workers traveling for work purposes:

  • Avoid any non-essential interactions. Limit activities to school-related activities and functions and avoid public spaces as much as possible.
  • Monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect school spaces.
  • Avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you are exempt from the Travel Order as long as you have completed your 10-day isolation (from start of symptoms and/or positive test), have a documented positive test, and remain asymptomatic during your travel. 

Children under the age of 18 are exempt from the Order if they traveled with others who have receive a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test. Children who travel alone are required to follow the Order for pre-arrival testing or quarantine.

Individuals who live in a Red or Orange list state but regularly commute to Chicago for work can continue to do so, but should monitor their temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distancing and clean and disinfect workspaces. If commuting individuals (including essential workers) have travel to a Red or Orange list state for personal travel, they must follow the Order. If an essential worker commuter travels to a high-risk state for work, they are exempt from the Order, but should monitor their temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distancing and clean and disinfect workspaces. 

Individuals who live in Chicago but regularly commute to a Red or Orange list state can continue to do so, but should monitor their temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distancing and clean and disinfect workspaces. If commuting individuals (including essential workers) have traveled to a Red or Orange list state other than their work state for personal travel, they must follow the Order. If an essential worker commuter travels to a high-risk state for work, they are exempt from the Order, but should monitor their temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distancing and clean and disinfect workspaces. 

Students who commute regularly to Chicago for school from designated states are exempted from the Order, but should follow the same guidance as essential workers traveling for work purposes:

  • Avoid any non-essential interactions. Limit activities to school-related activities and functions and avoid public spaces as much as possible.
  • Monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect school spaces.
  • Avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings.

Students are expected to follow the Order and should ask their school for guidance.  CDPH is working with institutions of higher education to provide various acceptable options.

Parents who accompany students to college from high-incidence states should follow the same guidelines as anyone else traveling inbound to Chicago from Orange or Red states under the new order.

Parents who accompany students to college from high-incidence states should follow the same guidelines as anyone else traveling inbound to Chicago from Orange or Red states under the new order.

Parents from high-incidence states who accompany students to campus to assist with move-in/move-out should have documentation of a negative result from a diagnostic test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago (antibody tests not acceptable). In addition, parents from Red states should quarantine during their stay, avoid all public settings, and limit exposures to others outside of the scheduled move-in time.  

Parents from high-incidence states visiting Chicago for a reason other than to assist their child with move-in/move-out must follow the same guidelines as anyone else traveling inbound to Chicago from Orange or Red states under the new order.