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Chicago Is Using Social Media To Catch And Ticket Violators Of Quarantine Travel Order

Colby Smith Colby Smith

Chicago Is Using Social Media To Catch And Ticket Violators Of Quarantine Travel Order

Fines can run violators $500 daily up to $7,000 total.

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city has begun to issue tickets to “flagrant” violators of the city’s Emergency Travel Order, which mandates that travelers or returning Chicagoans from a list of 22 states are subject to a two-week quarantine period.

Early July, the city drafted an Emergency Travel Order that would compel travelers from states with surging COVID-19 cases — then a list of 15 — to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Chicago. Since then, the list has grown to 22 with the city adding Wisconsin, North Dakota, Missouri, and Nebraska this week.

At the time when the travel order first went into effect, skeptics questioned the city’s ability to enforce the order. On Tuesday, Dr. Alison Arwady said in a press conference that the city had begun identifying individuals “who have clearly broken the quarantine,” via “enforcement activities.” Shortly thereafter, Lightfoot announced that the city has begun the process ticketing of violators.

“Our goal, obviously, is not to penalize people but to educate them into compliance. And that’s we’re gonna continue to do vigorously,” said Lightfoot in a press conference Wednesday morning.

The city’s process of identifying violators of the quarantine order has involved investigations into those who’ve admitted contact with someone with the COVID-19 virus, but didn’t quarantine thereafter. Chicago has also begun scanning social media posts.

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“People are flagrantly posting their social activities, clearly out and about in Chicago after being in settings that are subject to our quarantine order within the timeframe,” Dr. Arwady said.

However, the city is not running checks at airports nor on individuals with out-of-state license plates. Effective Friday, July 31, there will be 22 states on the city’s Emergency Travel Order. Essential workers are exempt from the quarantine period, whether native to surrounding states or to Chicago, whose presence — whether inside or outside the city — was essential in conducting their business — both cases require proper paperwork from their employers.

The list will be updated every Tuesday and go into effect every Friday.

See also: Lollapalooza To Host Free Four-Night Concert This Week On Youtube

[Featured image: @austindistel]