coronavirus illinois

Lightfoot Says Chicago Beaches Will Not Open ‘Any Time Soon'

As of now, there is no set date when beaches and pools will open

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot wears a mask

As July heat causes more people to seek some relief, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday that Chicago beaches will not open any time soon.

Though several other states opened beaches and pools already, Lightfoot explained that the potential for congregation makes it too difficult to properly socially distance amid the coronavirus.

"Until we feel like we are in a good place, and right now, as I mentioned, we're starting to see a slight uptick in cases, the beaches conversation is one that's going to have to come down the road," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot has previously voiced her fear for opening Chicago beaches too soon, even as COVID-19 cases were declining.

"Given where we are, which is progress, but we have some concerns," Lightfoot said. "We're not going to take any steps that could really tip us over or tip us backwards."

The mayor also warned against swimming in the Lake without lifeguards present as the waves and current have been especially strong this summer.

"The lake levels are up at historic levels," Lightfoot said. "Just the other day I was near a beach, looking out on the lake and the waves were coming, crashing. The lake is not safe."

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.

Chicago officials has previously announced they 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.

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.

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

As of now, there is no set date as to when beaches and pools will reopen throughout the city.

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