Mayor Lightfoot orders Chicago Lakefront closed to public

Mayor Lightfoot orders Chicago Lakefront closed to public

Despite, Mayor Lightfoot’s warning yesterday that she would close the Lakefront if  excessive numbers of people continued to gather there, many people defied her warning.

This necessitated further action today. In order to bend the curve of COVID-19, the Mayor has issued an executive order to close the Chicago's Lakefront, Riverwalk and 606 Trail, effective immediately until further notice.

The Mayor’s Executive Order will direct a shutdown of the Lakefront including adjacent trails, green spaces and facilities.  In addition, the order provides guidance for residents to make every effort to practice social distancing during recreational activities, such as walking, running or cycling.  The order also prohibits contact sports, like basketball and football. These measures are designed to protect the health and safety of residents amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

 "While our parks and other green spaces offer residents a brief respite during this stay at home order, we simply must take action to prevent the large gatherings that are putting our public health at risk," said Mayor Lightfoot. "As we work tirelessly to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of COVID-19, we need people to stay at home as much as possible. Our order to temporarily close access to the Lakefront and restrict gatherings has now become a necessary step in our effort to protect people, and to get our city through this crisis as quickly as possible.”

Chicagoans are still able, and encouraged, to do the following during this time: 

  • Go for a short walk or runs but maintain physical distance from others while doing so, preferably in their own neighborhoods.
  • Walk their dog, but do not congregate at the dog park or beach.
  • Shop at the grocery stores that remain open, as long as, you are not sick, and practice social distancing.
  • Continue visiting the restaurants that remain open for pick-up and delivery.

Enforcement

While the Chicago Police Department is empowered to enforce the Mayor’s new order through citations up to $500 and additional measures, the Department is primarily focusing on educating residents about the new order and providing warnings to individuals using these closed spaces. To further ensure compliance with the order, the Department will move forward with issuing citations if individuals don’t adhere to initial warnings from police officers.

Other closures  

Chicago Park District’s facilities and fieldhouses will remain closed for the duration of the stay at home order. Currently, the District’s green spaces and parks remain open, and the City will monitor park activity in the event more closures are necessary to prevent large gatherings and congregations of people during the stay at home order.

State order 

Under Governor Pritzker’s ‘Stay at Home’ Order, which went into effect on March 21, residents of Chicago and across the state are mandated to stay at home as much as possible, and to limit occasions for leaving their homes, unless it is to: retrieve essential goods or services, go work if they are an essential employee, seek medical care, or to get fresh air for brief amounts of time while practicing social distancing. The order was issued out of an abundance of caution to safeguard the public health and prevent further spread in the community and is expected to last through April 7, unless otherwise directed.

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