Florida travelers now face quarantine when entering Chicago

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People traveling to Chicago from Florida and 14 other states with increasing numbers of confirmed cases of the coronavirus will have to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival or face possible fines, city officials announced Thursday.

To comply with the order that takes effect Monday, travelers must stay at a single home or other dwelling for 14 days except to seek medical care or be tested for COVID-19.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Twitter that the order is intended to “preserve the gains Chicago had made.”

The city's Department of Public Health Commissioner said the specific states listed are based on the rate of new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.

As of Thursday, that means people coming from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah will be affected.

Carol Adams is a Chicago health care worker who has already built in time to self-quarantine when she fly’s back home. She was visiting Jacksonville on Friday.

“My bosses all said, ‘Carol, take a couple of days off.’ So at this rate, if it means quarantine, it’s OK,” Adams said.

Dee Smith lives in Jacksonville but occasionally works in Chicago. She’s prepared to self-quarantine the next time she flies back to the Windy City.

“It will be very difficult, so, you have to balance what’s best for the people and what’s best to keep you safe,” Smith said.

Chicago has reported 52,569 confirmed cases and 2,611 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Both categories have trended down in recent weeks and the city has allowed many businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants with limits on customers.

The order also applies to city residents returning from a visit to a designated state.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that people from nine states hit hard by the COVID-19 virus will be required to quarantine for two weeks when they arrive in his state, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Cuomo’s announcement came as Florida’s new confirmed coronavirus cases skyrocketed by 5,500, which was a 25% jump from its previous one-day record and triple the level of just two weeks prior.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Chicago officials will enforce that state’s order. According to a website explaining the change, people could face fines of between $100 and $500 per day, totaling up to $7,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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