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Chicago's Lakefront Trail, adjoining parks and beaches closed to public, officials say

Gregory Pratt and John Byrne, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- Chicago's Lakefront Trail, adjoining parks and beaches are closed, as well as The 606 trail, Chicago aldermen said in messages to constituents and social media posts.

"Starting today, all of Chicago's lakefront with its adjoining parks will be closed to the public until further notice. In addition, all fieldhouses, all playlots, all school playgrounds, the Chicago Riverwalk, and the 606 Trail are now closed to the public," Alderman James Cappleman, 46th, said in a letter to constituents. "These steps were taken to further limit COVID-19 infections due to projection rates that if this stricter stay-in-place order did not occur, we would have upwards of 40,000 residents requiring a hospitalization. This would decimate our healthcare system, leading to many deaths."

It was unclear whether Mayor Lori Lightfoot would close all other city parks as well.

On Wednesday, the mayor scolded restless Chicagoans who have taken advantage of spring weather and packed local parks, trails and the city's lakefront despite a growing number of people infected by the coronavirus disease.

Lightfoot's office did not immediately have a comment Thursday morning. She has a news conference scheduled for 1 p.m. local time.

Lakefront Alderman Harry Osterman announced the Lakefront Trail closing in an email to constituents.

 

"This includes parkland east of Marine Drive, as well as Berger Park," Osterman said. "This order has been put in place to ensure social distancing between individuals and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19."

North Side Alderman Andre Vasquez, 40th, also put out an advisory on Twitter saying the lakefront was closed starting at 8 a.m. Thursday "due to people disregarding social distancing measures."

Alderman Michele Smith, 43rd, said she talked to the mayor Thursday morning. City officials will close the lakefront and adjacent parks "till further notice," Smith said.

"Everyone regrets that we have to do this, but these next two weeks are critical to curb the spread of this disease," Smith said. "Unfortunately, one person's inadvertent contact, through no intentional fault of their own, is another person's case of coronavirus."

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