coronavirus chicago

Lightfoot: Chicago Beaches Remain Closed Amid Heat Wave

Chicagoans have to remain patient for beaches and pools to reopen

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Though temperatures have been the highest yet this year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Monday that beaches will not open any time soon.

As other states opened beaches and pools in their respective phases, Lightfoot explained that both call for congregating without the ability to easily social distance.

On June 22, the city announced that it would move forward into Phase Four of its reopening plan amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but beaches and playgrounds are not among the locations that will be allowed to reopen at this time.

"For now, the beaches and swimming pools will remain close," Lightfoot said. "I'm mindful of the fact that we're expected to see several days of 90 degree heat this week."

As announced last week, the city is providing cooling centers and cooling buses to aid residents amid Chicago's rising temperatures.

"We're going to be opening up the splash pools in the parks so that adults and children can get some relief," Lightfoot said.

The city has previously announced officials will monitor metrics as the Lakefront opens. Originally, the Fourth of July marked when Chicago would reevaluate metrics for reopening beaches, but Lightfoot said the public must continue to wait.

Along with beaches, the city playgrounds are also closed to the public until further notice in Phase Four.

“I drive around the city, and I see children playing on playgrounds, but they’re still closed and they’re going to be closed for the foreseeable future.”

Under Phase Four of Illinois’ phased reopening plan, gatherings of 50 or fewer people are allowed, but city officials are still having conversations about the safest way to potentially allow waterfront recreation, or for children to begin to use playground equipment.  

City officials did say that Phase Four regulations are “not static,” meaning that some places could potentially loosen restrictions even without moving into Phase Five of the city plan. Beaches are among those locations that could potentially be impacted.

“Where we think about pools and beaches, the water itself is not a concern for COVID spread,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady “The risk is that people who breathe on each other have the ability to spread the virus."

City officials did express some optimism that reopening could still occur this summer, as the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations in the city have continued to decline in recent weeks.

“Our hope is that it will be coming, and the way we get there is to see cases continue coming down, and to do that we need people doing what they need to be doing,” Arwady said.

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