Tourists are Violating Chicago's Self-Quarantine Requirement to Eat Deep-Dish Pizza
Every Tuesday, the Chicago Department of Public Health reads through and revises its Emergency Travel Order, which requires anyone traveling from a state that is currently "experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases" to self-quarantine for a 14-day period after entering or returning to Chicago. As of this writing, there are 22 U.S. states on the list—and Puerto Rico will be subject to the same requirements starting on Friday—which means that travelers arriving from any of those locations shouldn't start sightseeing or head directly to lunch.
But it's zero percent surprising that people are still doing exactly what they want, because quarantine, schmarantine, apparently. WBEZ said that it took "less than an hour" to find vacationers and day-trippers who were ignoring the order so they could visit Millennium Park, take some selfies standing in front of The Bean, and get an ultra-thick slice of deep-dish pizza.
"With work and everything, [a] two-week quarantine just really isn’t an option,” a Kansas man who didn't give his name told the outlet. “We had this trip planned long before all of this stuff, so we weren’t going to back out of it just because of an order that’s unenforceable."
He and his three friends had already been to Lou Malnati's for lunch, were going to Wrigleyville that night, and to a museum the next day. Ditto for another group of friends who had driven in from Wisconsin, and who had already been to Lou Malnati's too. ("We’re not trying to hurt anyone by being here," one of those people said, emphasizing that they were wearing masks… while ignoring a public health order.)
Lou Malnati's has 56 pizzerias in Illinois, including 11 in the city of Chicago (not counting the suburbs). The restaurant calls itself "the oldest name in Chicago pizza" and "the best pizza in Chicago," and for almost 50 years, it has specialized in the kind of deep-dish pies that, uh, out-of-town tourists get super excited about. (Deep dish gets an eternal eye-roll from a lot of locals, who consider the real Chicago pizza to be a square slice of crispy tavern-style pizza.)
If you enjoy eating pizza with a knife and a fork, or you want to try Lou Malnati's pies, or both, you don't have to take a secretive day trip to northeast Illinois. Lou Malnati's can be shipped anywhere in the United States and you can order 2, 4, or even 6-packs of those ultra-thick pizzas. You can even order heart-shaped versions, which are the perfect way of saying "I love staying home instead of violating citywide travel orders with you."
The city of Chicago says that any non-quarantining rule-breakers are subject to a fine of between $100 and $500 per day, up to a maximum of $7,000. That would buy a lot of pizzas, whether you're into deep dish or tavern style.