coronavirus

Chicago Sends Emergency Alert About Lakefront Closure

The closures include "all fieldhouses, all playlots, all school playgrounds, the Chicago Riverwalk, and the 606 Trail," officials said

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If Chicagoans weren't already aware the city's Lakefront Trail, 606 Trail and Chicago Riverwalk have been shut down due to coronavirus, they probably are now.

An emergency alert was issued to residents' phones Thursday afternoon announcing the closures.

"Effective immediately Chicago lakefront, adjacent parks & beaches, 606 Trail & Riverwalk are closed to the public until further notice, when it is determined this degree of social distancing is no longer required for the safety of Chicago residents," the alert read. "Do your part: Stay Home. Save Lives."

The mayor shut down the outdoor locations, she said, in hopes of keeping people from congregating during a stay-at-home order in the state.

Thousands gathered on city trails, beaches and parks Wednesday as warming temperatures enticed people out of their homes.

"What we must do now, together, is bend the curve of this disease," Lori Lightfoot said in an address Thursday afternoon, reprimanding those who violated the state order and congregated in public.

"Your conduct is posing a direct threat to our public health," she said, pleading for residents to "stay at home."

Officials called out those who were playing outdoor sports or gathering together despite the order.

"That is a very real and direct threat of the well-being of everyone in this city, and it has to stop," Chicago Parks CEO Michael Kelly said.

The closures include "all fieldhouses, all playlots, all school playgrounds, the Chicago Riverwalk, and the 606 Trail," officials said.

SUPT BECK COVID19 PRESSER

Lightfoot noted, however, that her order does not mean people should be going out in groups in city neighborhoods either.

"This doesn't mean people should mass inland at other parks," Lightfoot said.

Chicago police said they plan on enforcing the 24-7 stay-at-home order rigorously, warning of citations and possibly even arrests for those found to be in violation.

On the same day Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned that she might be forced to shut down trails and beaches along Lake Michigan to enforce the state of Illinois’ “stay-at-home” order, Chicago police were busy Wednesday evening ordering beachgoers to go home. NBC 5’s Natalie Martinez reports.

"If you violate it, you are subject to a citation, a fine of up to $500 and if you continue to violate it, you will be subject to physical arrest," Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck said.

Meanwhile, Chicago's number of cases quickly topped 1,100 Thursday with experts expecting that number to rise. Statewide cases reached more than 2,500 with 26 deaths reported.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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