Chicago's popular Lakefront Trail will reopen Monday, June 22 following a more than two-month closure imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.
In a news release in which she revealed the news, the mayor also announced city bars and breweries will reopen Wednesday based on the "continued positive trend" in coronavirus metrics over the past several weeks.
On June 22, the Lakefront Trail will open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily east of Lake Shore Drive. Parkgoers, however, will be required to adhere to a "keep it moving" strategy in which walking, running, biking and rollerblading will only be permitted.
Additionally, beaches and parks east of Lake Shore Drive will continue to remain closed, the news release stated. In an effort to monitor the volume of visitors, only around half of the access points to the lakefront will be open.
The Chicago Park District will install visible signage along the trail to remind people of the "keep it moving" policy, and so-called "Social Distancing Ambassadors" will be stationed along the trail to educate the public and help manage the flow of traffic.
Lakefront amenities including outdoor, fitness equipment athletic fields and beaches will remain closed until an unspecified date. The park district also isn't permitting congregate gathering or the use of park amenities, including finesses classes, barbecues and picnicking.
“The trail is one of our city’s most treasured lakefront amenities,” Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said in the news release. “We are excited to share plans to reopen the trail, encourage active living and provide guidance on how people can begin resuming activities safely.”
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Due to the significant lakefront storm damage and high lake levels, three sections of the lakefront trail will merge to accommodate users, city officials said. From Fullerton to North Avenue will be a shared trail. North Avenue to Ohio Street, trail users will be redirected to an on-street detour. From 43rd Street to 51st Street, users will merge onto one trail.
Lightfoot had been hinting at plans to reopen the city's lakefront and ease further restrictions in phase three for weeks. On Friday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady noted that an announcement could be coming this week.
Chicago entered phase three of its reopening plan on June 3, allowing several small businesses to reopen with new guidelines and limitations, as well as permitting gatherings of up to 10 people.