Chicago Lakefront reopens, along with playgrounds, indoor swimming as COVID metrics improve

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Posted: Feb 23, 2021 1:59 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2021 2:03 PM

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    Chicago (WLS) -- Chicago will soon reopen access to its lakefront, playgrounds and indoor aquatic programs, as COVID-19 metrics continue to improve across the city, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in an announcement early Tuesday.

The gates blocking Montrose Harbor were actually reopened last Friday so city trucks could dump snow back there, but the gates remained open to the general public.

Chicago Park District crews will now begin opening public access points to parkland east of Lake Shore Drive.

Chicago's lakefront is reopening amid easing COVID restrictions.

Restrictions on parking will also be lifted.

"I remember doing the track before and it was closed, and we couldn't park," runner Guillermo Baca said. "So it's nice to have parking as well and also it speaks to the progress we are making as a city in terms of COVID."

With spring just around the corner, many are getting a little squirrelly.

"It's very exciting for sure, but it's also obviously, like, a little concerning," said Jackie Keller, a runner. "People still have to be safe."

During the upcoming weeks, the park district will also start unlocking gates and prepare more than 500 outdoor playgrounds and nature play spaces for reopening.

The city will also reopen indoor swimming pools to limited programming. Registration for the spring season starts March 8.

The lakefront east of Lake Shore Drive has been officially closed since March 26, 2020, because of pandemic restrictions.

"When we started to make changes to the lakefront, we were in a very different place," Lightfoot said. "I think what we've seen from that time is people understanding the moment that we're in, so it's appropriate."

The lakefront trail reopened in June 2020 for those who kept moving.

This full reopening comes as COVID-19 cases in Chicago continue to drop.

The city is still asking people to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, including social distancing and mask wearing.

The new announcement is being welcomed by many itching to get back to normal.

"I think it's OK because everyone is being responsible," runner Suraj Suresh said. "I have not seen anyone without the mask. People are socially distancing."

The Chicago Park District superintendent said they will work to reopen as soon as possible.

More information is available at chicagoparkdistrict.com.

 

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(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1309459

Reported Deaths: 24018
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5245929847
DuPage869211254
Will72209968
Lake64862965
Kane55955753
Winnebago31341460
Madison29912515
St. Clair27220504
McHenry27207278
Peoria21504284
Champaign19902139
Sangamon17870230
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Kendall1241790
LaSalle11835232
Macon10284190
DeKalb9390118
Vermilion9101127
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Williamson7229126
Whiteside6913164
Boone642971
Ogle579978
Clinton570890
Grundy562971
Coles554894
Knox5344137
Jackson486763
Henry474863
Effingham468471
Livingston461883
Macoupin460681
Stephenson454280
Woodford443063
Marion4415115
Franklin433770
Monroe431790
Jefferson4167119
Randolph409684
Lee400151
Morgan377679
Logan365456
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Montgomery364773
Bureau355181
Christian352772
Fayette314054
Perry313059
Iroquois291064
Jersey263549
McDonough261144
Douglas255335
Saline251453
Lawrence239525
Shelby225037
Union223040
Crawford209325
Bond198924
Cass194824
Pike177451
Jo Daviess176824
Clark176732
Warren173946
Wayne173452
Hancock173030
Richland172140
Carroll171736
Ford170746
Edgar166939
White166526
Washington162825
Moultrie157526
Clay147343
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Piatt141914
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De Witt139723
Mercer136933
Wabash134112
Massac131439
Cumberland128319
Menard118812
Jasper114317
Marshall99817
Hamilton82415
Schuyler7095
Brown6916
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Stark61223
Edwards55812
Henderson52114
Calhoun5122
Scott4691
Alexander46211
Gallatin4534
Putnam4483
Hardin37012
Pope3073
Out of IL70
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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
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Warrick7702155
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Grant6855171
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Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
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Gibson429589
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Jennings225448
Fountain209345
Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
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Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
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Newton104234
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Benton97413
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Union70110
Ohio56011
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