With hundreds of Chicago residents flocking to the lakefront to take advantage of warmer weather, Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck warned that officers will be forced to issue citations if residents continue to flout the state’s “stay-at-home” order.
The order, in place until April 7 to help encourage social distancing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, is a “legal mandate,” Beck said, and violating the mandate is considered a misdemeanor.
“Beginning today, it’s one warning, and after that you will be cited. Please do not make us do that,” he said. “If you violate it, you are subject to a citation and a fine of up to $500. If you continue to violate it, you will be subject to physical arrest.”
According to Beck, if officers see large groups of people congregating, they will order the group to disperse. If the group refuses, officers will issue citations, which can come with a fine of up to $500.
“It’s not because we want to, but because we must,” he said. “If we do not do this, Chicago is at risk, and this is something your police department has to do.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized those flouting the state’s “stay-at-home” order, saying she’s seen too many people congregating outdoors in recent days.
“This situation is deadly serious,” she said. “We have to take this seriously, all of us, and we need you to take it seriously. If we don’t maintain the social distancing we need, we will lose ground that we’ve gained.”
Lightfoot also said that the city will consider shutting down parks and the lakefront if residents continue to violate state and local orders to shelter in place.
“That’s the last thing I want to do as mayor, but make no mistake, if people don’t take this seriously, I’m not going to hesitate to pull every lever at my disposal to force compliance, if necessary, but let’s not get to that point,” she said.