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Chicago Updates Emergency Travel Order & Entry Requirements

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Chicago has recently changed its travel order details, and updated its coronavirus-related safety measures to reflect the situation in the city. Whilst the official advice from the government is to refrain from traveling unless absolutely necessary, that hasn’t stopped millions of Americans from doing so over the past few months, as cases continue to hover around the wrong end of the 100,000 per day mark.

With constant changes to restrictions and rules, it can be hard to keep on top of what travelers can and can’t do. Here’s what we know about the travel order in Chicago, and what changes to Covid-19 restrictions have been made.

chicago skyline dawn

Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order Update – Information for Travelers

Chicago’s emergency travel order has been in effect since July of last year, when Covid-19 cases in the country were typically below 70,000 a day. Brought in to provide guidelines to travelers entering or returning to the city, it has evolved several times over the course of the pandemic to reflect the changes to the situation of Covid-19 in the area.

chicago masks

Yesterday saw the most recent updates to the emergency travel order, as changes were made to the city’s tiered system. The travel order features two color coded tiers – orange and yellow – into which different states and territories are sorted depending on the Covid-19 situation in those locations.

chicago empty street

Travelers returning from a location in the orange tier face the most severe restrictions on their return to Chicago. They must either quarantine for a period of 10 days when back in Chicago, or provide a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before arrival. Those coming back from a location in the yellow tier can enter as normal, without any restrictions.

Yesterday’s update saw two states and one territory moved into the yellow tier. Alaska, North Dakota and Puerto Rico now join Hawaii in the yellow tier, whilst all the remaining states and Washington, D.C., are in the orange tier.

Bear in Alaska

Those in the orange tier find themselves there due to the fact that they have a 7-day rolling average of above 15 cases per 100,000 residents. Essential workers that travel to the locations in the orange tier are exempt from the quarantine or testing requirements on their return to Chicago, as are those traveling for medical reasons or care-taking reasons. The rules also don’t apply to those who have been in orange tier locations for less than 24 hours.

you can fly direct from winnipeg to chicago

Chicago Coronavirus Updates

As the coronavirus situation in Chicago continues to improve, the city has started to ease some of the restrictions that had been in place to stem the spread of the virus through the city. According to Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the city is increasing the indoor dining capacity at restaurants and bars – a move that is sure to be greeted by Chicagoans as the city begins to go back to the new normal.


Chicago will also see more students and school staff return to school this month. Around 20% of students have opted to return to the classroom, with 80% instead deciding to continue with online learning. Meanwhile, Illinois has administered more than 1.5m doses of the Covid-19 vaccines, with a further 100 vaccine locations having opened in the last week – whilst Walgreens and Uber have partnered to offer free rides for those going to get their shot.

Chicago quarantine and testing rules

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Thursday 11th of February 2021

Your site contais many good updates for us international residents and travelers. Keep it up. Your overdone hyping of Cancun and Mexican Riviera is a little concerning in that it causes suspect that your site is shilling. Please cut back and be more objective.

Trevor Kucheran

Thursday 11th of February 2021

Cancun and the Riviera Maya are the most popular destinations in the world right now that are fully open for tourism. We want to cover in depth where people are traveling most right now. Thank you for your feedback and we are very excited to report on more countries reopening that allow tourists! Did we miss one you would like us to cover so we can be more objective? Please ensure to use the search bar to check if we are missing your favorite country.


Thursday 11th of February 2021

If history teaches us anything, it's that we don't know what to do without color coded tiers!