Chicago Brings Back COVID-19 Travel Restrictions As Infections Rise in Neighboring States

Missouri and Arkansas are back on Chicago's travel advisory list as COVID-19 infection rates rise in both states.

Two states have made their way back onto Chicago's orange list, which requires travelers to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their visit or quarantine for 10 days on arrival to the Windy City.

Missouri and Arkansas landed on the list because of rising COVID-19 infection rates that recently pushed both states above the threshold for unrestricted visits set by the city earlier in the pandemic, Chicago officials said in announcing the change.

Chicago hasn't had any states on its travel advisory list since June 1. The additions come as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are trending upward in western and southern Illinois, which shares a border with Missouri.

Missouri and Arkansas are reporting more than 15 new cases each day per 100,000 local residents. They're the only two U.S. states with infection rates above those levels.

Tourists ride a trolley through a shopping center in Branson, Missouri
Tourists ride a trolley through a shopping center in Branson, Missouri, U.S., on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. President Biden set a goal for 70% of American adults to get at least one Covid-19 shot by July 4. Despite ample vaccine supplies he missed that target, largely because the government has struggled to give away shots in rural, deeply conservative regions that are bastions of support for his predecessor. Liz Sanders/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"We are doing very well right now here in Chicago, but across the whole U.S., you know, cases actually are up a little bit...they're up 5 to 10% across the whole country," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live event covered by a local NBC station.

Chicago has made clear that it won't be shy to amend travel restrictions as the COVID-19 situation evolves, especially as a new, rapidly spreading Delta variant is making its way around the world.

As vaccination rates rise, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to fall in Chicago. The city is now reporting fewer than 60 new coronavirus infections per day, according to the latest available city data.

More than 50% of Chicagoans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while nearly 57% have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The city continues to urge everyone to get vaccinated and recommends that travelers bring along their original vaccine cards.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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