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Lincoln Park, Old Town

Cops Kick Runners, Cyclists Out Of Park Near Lakefront After Chicagoans Ignore Coronavirus Closure

Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the lakefront and adjacent parks closed after crowds ignored social distancing guidelines last week.

A Chicago Police car drives into Lincoln Park to clear out pedestrians and cyclists in the late afternoon on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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LINCOLN PARK — Chicago Police officers and Park District security began closing the lakefront to pedestrians and cyclist Wednesday evening as the city remains under a stay in place order because coronavirus continues to spread.

The cops started clearing part of Lincoln Park just after 6 p.m. Wednesday. Throughout the day, people and dogs could be seen running through the part of the park near Lake Shore Drive as the sun streamed through a foggy sky.

Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the lakefront, adjacent parks and The 606 closed after crowds ignored social distancing guidelines amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“The problem isn’t the activity, it’s the congregation,” Lightfoot said last week.

RELATED: Lakefront Trail, Parks Near Lake Closed Indefinitely After Warm Day Led To Big Crowds

Police tape and trash cans were used to block foot traffic in the tunnel below LaSalle Drive near the Lincoln Monument, however the tape was torn and people continued to pass through. Tape strung between a bench and a tree at the southeast corner of Stockton and LaSalle drives was also seen tangled and torn. 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Police officers watch runners in Lincoln Park where Chicago Police officers began clearing out pedestrians and cyclists in the late afternoon on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

Police officers stood there making sure people were not congregating before a squad car pulled into the park and an officer used its speaker to tell people to exit the park, saying it was closed.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A Chicago Police car drives into Lincoln Park to clear out pedestrians and cyclists in the late afternoon on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

Temperatures Wednesday peaked at 53 degrees Fahrenheit at O’Hare International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

What are the rules for heading outside during a pandemic? Here’s what city officials had to say:

  • Go for a short walk or run, but maintain physical distance from others while doing so, preferably in your own neighborhood.
  • Walk your dog, but do not congregate at the dog park or beach.
  • Shop at grocery stores that remain open — unless you are sick — and practice social distancing.
  • Continue visiting the restaurants that remain open for pickup and delivery.
  • Just stay home as much as possible no matter what.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A person runs past a blocked off entrance to a bridge to the Lake Front Path in Lincoln Park on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

Following the lakefront and parks closures, memes of Lightfoot sternly protecting the lakefront went viral, delighting Chicagoans and even the mayor herself.

Reporter Kelly Bauer contributed to this report.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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