CHICAGO — Hours after Mayor Lori Lightfoot scolded a large, maskless crowd at Montrose Beach on Twitter, city crews erected fencing to try to block off access to the closed beach.
“It’s called a pandemic, people. This reckless behavior on Montrose Beach is what will cause us to shut down the parks and lakefront. Don’t make us take steps backwards,” Lightfoot warned in a tweet.
In a follow-up tweet, Lightfoot said she visited Montrose Beach personally.
“In case you were wondering, I stopped by to see for myself. It’s being addressed,” Lightfoot wrote.
By Sunday, approximately 300 yards of fencing was installed between the grassy area that leads to the beach and the sand.
Less than 24 hours after Lightfoot’s tweet, people continued to gather near Montrose Harbor and the nearby lakefront. Many people walked around the fencing.
Some entered the area by walking past The Dock at Montrose Beach, the newly reopened beachside restaurant. But owner Luke Cholodecki said he does not let customers wait outside his restaurant and none of his patrons were involved in the partying condemned by the mayor.
Amy Osborne of Lakeview who was at the beach with two friends said she didn’t see the mayor’s tweets.
“I don’t think it’s really a problem,” she said.
Chicago Park District spokesman Michelle Lemons confirmed that park district employees installed fencing Sunday to deter large gatherings.
“While the lakefront trail is open, Chicago’s beaches and parkland east of Lake Shore Drive remain closed under the Chicago Department of Public Health’s executive order,” Lemons wrote in an email.
On Sunday evening, Chicago Police and emergency workers blocked cars from entering the driveway that leads to the beach from both Montrose and Wilson Avenues, but were not stopping pedestrians on foot.
Another woman at the beach who declined to give her name said she did see the mayor’s warning. She shrugged her shoulders in response.
Her boyfriend, who accompanied her, responded with a shrug, too, and a laugh: “That says it all.”
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