Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to add Wisconsin to Chicago’s coronavirus travel advisory would hurt the city’s tourism and economy.
Mayor Lightfoot announced on Monday that Wisconsin would be added to Chicago’s “Emergency Travel Order”, starting Friday. This means that anyone traveling to Chicago from Wisconsin, or returning to Chicago after visiting Wisconsin, would be required to quarantine for 14 days. Chicago already has 18 states on its list.
Needless to say, the order would be very difficult to, if not impossible to, enforce. Although extremely difficult to enforce, the order would hurt Chicago’s tourism and economy by discouraging travel.
The number of visitors to Chicago, for business or pleasure, has been growing since 2010. Last year, close to 58 million people visited the Chicago area, which broke previous record. In 2018, the figure was 57.7 million.
In fact, tourism supports more than 150,000 jobs in Chicago. When visitors, including those from neighboring state of Wisconsin, go to Chicago, they spend money on food, fuel, hotel, parking, shopping, recreation and entertainment, etc. At a time when Chicago is in deep financial trouble, and particularly given the economic struggles pertaining to the coronavirus-related slowdown, tourism can really help jump-start the city’s economy.
Unfortunately, the mayor of Chicago has chosen a route that would push Chicago’s economy further into crisis. Mandating a quarantine for people from other states would strongly discourage travel to Chicago, and it would be detrimental for the city’s tourism and economy.
I hope Mayor Lori Lightfoot carefully reviews the matter and understands the effects of her decision on Chicago’s economy. It would be in Chicago’s best financial interest to withdraw the Emergency Travel Order that mandates a two-week quarantine, and open the city up to visitors.