Travelers from more than a dozen states and territories, including Illinois neighbors Wisconsin and Indiana, no longer will face COVID-19 test restrictions upon arriving in Chicago under the city’s latest travel order update, officials announced Tuesday.
Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin will be bumped down from the “orange tier” to the “yellow tier,” according to a statement from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Also in this week’s travel order update, Alaska moved up from the yellow to the more restrictive orange tier.
That will leave 31 states in the orange tier, which requires a 10-day quarantine or negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours before arrival. The yellow category, which will have 18 states and two territories, has no restrictions.
The orange category includes states or territories that have a seven-day rolling average above 15 daily cases per 100,000 residents, while yellow states are under that threshold.
Starting this week, another way to avoid the orange tier restrictions is to be fully vaccinated and not have coronavirus symptoms, CDPH said. Being vaccinated means having received the second dose of a two-dose regimen at least two weeks earlier, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine at least two weeks earlier.
But vaccinated travelers are not completely free of coronavirus mitigations yet, the public health department said. CDPH recommends they continue to wear a mask, social distance, wash their hands and avoid crowds.
“Though the Chicago case numbers have dropped of late, this is not a time to let our guard down,” CDPH’s statement said. “To maintain the current trajectory, we must double down on what we know prevents COVID spread.”
The travel order is updated every two weeks and goes into effect Friday at midnight. Essential workers traveling for their job are exempt, as are people traveling for medical or care-taking reasons. People passing through the orange states for less than 24 hours also are exempt unless their final destination is that state.
The travel order was implemented over the Fourth of July weekend, but officials have said the list is meant to educate residents and have not strictly enforced it.