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What You Need to Know About the Reopening of Chicago's Lakefront Trail

There will be rules in place and guidelines to follow and not everything will be open

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Chicago's lakefront will soon begin reopening for residents- but things won't be the same just yet.

There will be rules in place and guidelines to follow and not everything will be open.

Here's a look at the changes:

When will the lakefront reopen?

Beginning June 22, the Lakefront Trail will open east of Lake Shore Drive from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Beaches and parks east of Lake Shore Drive will remain closed, however. Dates for further reopenings have not yet been announced.

What is and is not allowed along the lakefront?

The 18-mile Lakefront Trail will be open for exercise and transit only, and no other recreational activities will be allowed, the mayor's office said, stating "Chicagoans must abide by a 'keep it moving' strategy where only walking, running, biking, and rollerblading will be allowed."

"At this time, the Chicago Park District will not allow congregating, gathering or use of park amenities, which includes but is not limited to, stationary activities, fitness classes, barbeques, beaches, and picnicking," the mayor's office said in a release.

What will be open?

Roughly half of the more than 50 access points to the lakefront will reopen, but the remainder will stay closed in an effort to minimize traffic, officials said.

Due to the significant lakefront storm damage and high lake levels, three sections of the lakefront trail will merge to accommodate users. 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. 

While the trail will open, all other lakefront amenities including outdoor fitness equipment athletic fields and beaches will not. Chicago’s swimming pools and playgrounds will remain closed and no outdoor fitness equipment, basketball courts, tennis courts or athletic fields can be used. Parking lots will also remain closed for the time being.

In addition, beaches and parks east of Lake Shore Drive will stay shut down.

Last week, the Chicago Park District eased restrictions on select park facilities including lakefront parks west of Lake Shore Drive, inland golf courses and reopened park fieldhouses across the city.

How will rules be enforced?

Park district security will work with Chicago police and the Office of Emergency Management and Communication, officials said.

There will also be so-called "Social Distancing Ambassadors" stationed along the trail to "educate the public and manage the flow of traffic." Ambassadors will remind patrons on safety guidance, such as wearing a mask, and social distancing requirements.

“The trail is one of our city’s most treasured lakefront amenities,” Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said in a statement. “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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