Chicago to Use Social Media to See If Visitors Are Breaking Quarantine
The city will use social media to confirm a person of interest.
Chicago health officials will monitor travelers' social media — on a case-by-case basis — to help enforce the city’s travel restrictions.
"One of the easiest ways to sort of get enough proof that there was the potential of a violated quarantine order without me having to send out an inspector or do any sort of more aggressive follow up to collect that is to look at social media," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said this week, NBC Chicago reported.
Though investigators "absolutely not" insta-stalking tourists through the city’s geotag, they will use social media as a tool if they already have a person of interest.
"Where we already have a concern, it's one of the easiest ways to identify people who are not just breaking the travel order but flaunting it publicly," Arwady added.
Implemented in July, the city placed a travel restriction on a number of states throughout the country, mandating that travelers from those places quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. States that qualify for the restriction have an infection rate higher than 15 per every 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average.
The current list includes Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico. (The city is considering dropping Iowa, Kansas, and Utah from the list, as their COVID-19 infection rate has fallen below the chosen infection rate.)
The order includes anyone from these states and also Chicagoans returning home from a visit there. Anyone found in violation of their quarantine is subject to a fine from $100 to $500 per day, up to a total of $7,000.
If the city identifies a traveler from one of these states and can confirm they violated quarantine via social media, they will be issued a fine.
Chicago has reported a total of 62,437 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,798 deaths, according to city health data.
New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut have also teamed up to implement a similar travel ban, requiring visitors to quarantine for two weeks.