Travel Information for O'Hare and Midway Airports Regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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Updated March 28​, 2020

On March 20, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide emergency stay-at-home order, in effect until Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Airport Operations have been exempted from the order as essential infrastructure and business, and O'Hare and Midway International Airports will remain open to facilitate essential travel and the movement of goods. Travelers are encouraged to refer to the CDC's definition of essential travel (as opposed to travel for tourism or recreational in nature​), and with their airline for the most up-to-date flight information. 


The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has no higher priority than the safety and security of the traveling public and our airport community, and we are taking every precaution to keep travelers and employees safe. We are in close contact with our federal and public health partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and strictly adhere to their recommendations. We are determined to maintaining normal airport operations, while at the same time supporting CDPH's mandate to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Chicago. 


Chicago Department of Aviation Actions

Since January, the CDA has been working closely and collaboratively with our federal and public health partners at the CDC and CDPH, as well as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to implement the federally mandated screening of travelers who may have been exposed to COVID-19. We are also committed to working with these agencies to ensure we are following best practices to keep the traveling public and airport employees safe. Specific actions we have taken in our airports include:

  • Increased frequency of surface cleaning in high-traffic areas, utilizing virus and bacteria killing disinfectants.
  • The installation of more than 120 additional hand sanitizing stations, along with a regimented refill schedule.
  • Utilizing airport signage and social media channels to display CDC and CDPH protective action messages. 
  • Enhancing public health preparedness by providing information on COVID-19 to passengers at airport information booths.
  • Fully participating in the City of Chicago's citywide COVID-19 emergency management response activation.
  • Convening regular airport community and stakeholder calls to disseminate the most up-to-date information and foster coordination.​
  • Limiting passengers on airport shuttle buses to 15 or less.
  • If you parked at O'Hare or Midway and are unable to leave your current location because of ​COVID19 restrictions, please contact our parking operator to discuss your travel situation. Standard Parking: (773) 686-7530 / 24/7 assistance.

Update on Airport Concessions ​​​
  • A variety of restaurants, bars, and other concessionaires are open for business at O'Hare and Midway to serve travelers.​
  • ​Some concessionaires have closed temporarily or are operating under limited hours, at their own discretion. Updated status is available here: O'Hare / Midway​
  • Airport concessions are exempt from the State of Illinois's emergency order closing restaurants and bars. ​
  • We are working with our concessionaires to encourage social distancing throughout our airports by removing some tables and seats to increase spacing and reduce density.​
  • ​​Additionally, the following measures have been strongly encouraged for all airport restaurants, in accordance with CDPH and BACP guidance::
    1. Removal of shared condiment or utensil items from common areas.
    2. All publicly-accessible soda fountains or water spigots moved behind counter, and refills into the same cup prohibited.
    3. Product displays adjusted to require less customer contact. 
    4. Use of one-use disposable menus (or visual displays) rather than reused menus at sit-down restaurants.​
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City of Chicago​​ Community Newsletters (​3/28/2020)​

 Information on the resources available and the preparedness measures taken  by the City of Chicago in response to COVID-19. 


Federal Actions and Airport Screening

All decisions regarding the screening of international passengers arriving at U.S. airports are made and carried out by federal agencies, particularly the CDC and CBP. Since January, the CDA has provided all necessary support for our federal partners to carry out the screening protocols of the moment. The City of Chicago and its airport employees do not (and are not authorized to) conduct screenings of arriving international passengers.

This a fluid and frequently changing situation. For the most up-to date information on screening procedures for international arriving passengers, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html.

What you can do

Public health experts recommend practicing good hygiene and taking proactive preventive measures to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19. These include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, mouth, etc, especially with unwashed hands.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue immediately in a trash receptacle.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay at home when you are sick.​​

The CDC and CDPH are NOT recommending that travelers or airport employees who are healthy wear facemasks or gloves at this time. 

Travelers should refer to the CDC regarding the advisability of travel. Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness, and should limit nonessential travel.

 

Resources

Information related to the COVID-19 outbreak is updated frequently; check the following resources for the most up-to-date information: