Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot who has been promising “soon” whenever she is asked when the Lakefront will reopen has finally taken the first step to “soon.”
The mayor announced the opening date for the Lakefront Trail is June 22. The Lakefront Trail will open East of Lake Shore Drive from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.
The reopening plan allows trail use for commuting and exercise including walking, running and cycling. It requires users to stay in constant motion.
So what about the beaches?
Not so fast.
The beaches as well as all parks East of Lake Shore Drive will remain closed.
When will they reopen? “Soon.”
Bars, taverns and breweries
Beginning Wednesday, June 17, bars, lounges, taverns, breweries and other drinking establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food License will be able to open for outdoor service only.
Bars may reopen outdoor areas, including outdoor patios, rooftops, rooms with retractable roofs and indoor spaces where 50% or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows, doors, or panels provided that dining tables are within eight feet from such openings.
Under the industry guidelines, drinking establishments may reopen under similar health and safety restrictions that restaurants have been following since June 3, including the same requirements for outdoor service only.
Patrons must be seated at tables that are six feet apart, with six people or fewer per table. Furthermore, seating at drinking establishments will be limited to a maximum of two hours.
Alcohol sales at bars and restaurants for on-site consumption must end at 11:00 p.m. each night.
The sale of alcohol for carryout or delivery must cease at 9:00 p.m. each night.
Pools, playgrounds and athletic fields
While the trail will open, all other lakefront amenities including outdoor fitness equipment athletic fields and beaches will remain closed while public health officials advise the District on options to open safely.
Chicago’s swimming pools and playgrounds will remain closed while public health officials advise the Chicago Park District on options to open them safely. There will also be no use of outdoor fitness equipment, basketball courts, tennis courts or athletic fields, and parking lots will remain closed for the time being.
The Lakefront Trail detours
Due to the significant lakefront storm damage and high lake levels, three sections of the lakefront trail will merge to accommodate users. From Fullerton to North Avenue will be a shared trail. North Avenue to Ohio Street, trail users will be redirected to an on-street detour. From 43rd Street to 51st Street, users will merge onto one trail.
“We’re all excited to start the process of reopening our city but we need to do this cautiously and continue to follow all the guidance,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “Other cities and states that re-opened earlier are seeing rising case rates. We’ve made so much progress, we’d all hate to see that happen here in Chicago.”
For more information about the City’s “Protecting Chicago” reopening framework, and to find industry-specific guidelines, click here.
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