Joggers, beachgoers and everyone in between can soon expect to enjoy Chicago’s lakefront and beaches this summer, but not until after the city enters phase three, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
On Thursday, Lightfoot said Chicago is expected to begin phase three of its reopening plan on June 3, which would mean the gradual loosening of many restrictions that have been in place for weeks across the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our hope is during phase three, we'll be able to open other parts," Lightfoot said noting the potential reopening of the lakefront and its beaches.
"But we'll have to wait to see how these initial first steps go," she added.
Phase three of the city’s reopening plan permits several businesses to reopen, with new guidelines and limitations, and allows small gatherings of up to 10 people.
“What I don't want to see happen is scenes that we've seen, for example, from other states, where you open up a resource that people really love and enjoy, and then it gets mobbed,” Lightfoot said. “And you see people abandoning all of the hard work and social distancing and public health guidance that really got us to the point where we can even talk about opening.”
Lightfoot said she’s been working with stakeholders and city aldermen to prepare guidance for residents hoping to enjoy the many features the lakefront provides, while incorporating examples from around the country.
“We’ve spent a lot of time, for example, looking at Los Angeles County and what they've done with their beaches,” Lightfoot said before noting her biggest challenges. “For us, it's not just the beach. It's not just the lakefront path. It's not just the parks that are adjacent to it, and the golf courses, so there's a lot that goes into our consideration of how we open this back up.”
When asked, the mayor wouldn't offer an exact day for when the lakefront would reopen but hinted she would in the in coming days.
“I think we'll be in a position to announce plans soon,” Lightfoot said Thursday. “I don't want to put a specific date on when that's going to happen, but we are actively involved in looking at ways in which we can bring this important resource back online and do it quickly.”