CHICAGO — Popular trails like The 606 and the lakefront won’t reopen anytime soon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot signaled Friday.
The city shut down lakefront beaches and parks, The 606 and the Riverwalk March 26 after crowds of people swarmed them during a bout of good weather. They’ve been blocked off since, with police clearing out any people who tried to enter.
While unveiling a plan to reopen Chicago on Friday, Lightfoot strongly suggested she doesn’t think those spots will open for at least some time.
There is a possibility the closed trails and lakefront could open this summer with restrictions, Lightfoot said, though that would depend on how Chicago is faring in its battle against coronavirus.
“A lot of that is gonna be guided by the science, and I’ve got to be confident that we can open up those larger venues: the lakefront, The 606 and other interior trails in a way that still allows us to maintain social distancing,” Lightfoot said. “I don’t see us early in Phase 3 throwing it back open again.
“But could I see circumstances at some point in the summer where, with limitations on numbers, limitations on space and the appropriate kind of social distancing and mask and hand sanitizers, that we could slowly see outdoor gatherings? Possibly.”
Officials, including Lightfoot, have repeatedly begged Chicagoans to stay indoors and to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
That’s become more challenging amid warming weather and sunny days, though, and many people have pressured Lightfoot for a timeline on when the lakefront will reopen.
Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, have said while Chicago is flattening its curve, there’s more work that needs to be done before the city can more fully reopen.
So far, Chicago has seen 28,567 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,206 people have died from the virus.
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