Are you traveling to the State of Illinois soon and in need of information about Chicago COVID travel restrictions? Chicago advertises itself as being fully open but there are requirements you should know.
The Chicago Department of Aviation has information for those traveling to the Chicago area via O’Hare or Midway including an advisory that face masks are required for entry into Chicago air terminals for passengers two and older. Your airline may also have requirements and you must check with your airline to determine what is required for departure or arrival.
Screenings of passengers from overseas is handled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Chicago Department of Aviation advises travelers to check with that official site prior to travel to learn what may be required upon arrival in Chicago but in general evidence of a negative COVID-19 test and/or vaccinations may be needed to travel internationally to or from Chicago O’Hare or Chicago Midway.
Masks are required on all public transportation including METRA, as well as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) “El” train system and Amtrak. Additional requirements may apply depending on the transportation provider.
The Chicago Department of Public Health publishes a weekly travel advisory that removes states from the list when those states report daily COVID-19 cases below 15 per 100,000 residents “for at least two consecutive weeks” according to Chicago.gov.
When traveling to or from a high-risk area outside Chicago, the Health Department Advisory states that you should be tested no later than one day prior to departure. Other parts of the advisory include:
- All (regardless of vaccination status) “should wear” a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other public transportation
- While in the city of Chicago, wear a mask in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status.
- Avoid crowds
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
Under the Health Department advisories, unvaccinated travelers “should be tested for COVID before and after travel and should quarantine upon arrival in Chicago”. There is a strong recommendation to carry COVID-19 vaccination records while you are en route to or from the city.
Travelers who need a COVID-19 test prior to departure may obtain one, depending on demand and availability, in the airports in Chicago. This testing is NOT FREE. Be advised, the City of Chicago warns travelers, “patients will receive results in about 24-72 hours”. Furthermore, test recipients must provide “proof of flying” 72 hours before their flight, OR five days after travel.
On-site airport COVID-19 testing at Chicago Midway and Chicago O’Hare is reserved for those who are departing soon (within 72 hours), those who have traveled in the last five days, and airport employees.
Chicago hotels are open. Masks are required while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Bars & Restaurants
Chicago restaurants and bars are open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout with no restrictions on capacity or table size. Masks are required for all patrons indoors. Proof of vaccination status may be required at some establishments, always check before.
Entertainment, Attractions & Events
Chicago venues are open with no restrictions on capacity limits. Masks are required for all patrons indoors. Proof of vaccination status may be required at some establishments.
Parks & Beaches
Chicago parks and beaches are open, including the Lakefront Trail. Indoor and outdoor sports venues are also open. Festivals, farmers markets, and other public events have no capacity limits. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test may be required for entry.
We strongly recommend confirming the status of all places and upcoming events by reaching out directly before proceeding.