CHICAGO - The Chicago Park District is struggling to keep people home as the weather warms up.
Lincoln Park is one the parks shutdown by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in response to COVID-19. But you would not have known that Thursday, where there was a steady stream of people at the park enjoying the mild weather, despite the mayor's executive order closing the lakefront, the adjacent trails and parks, the Riverwalk and 606 Trail to the public.
“It's my expectation that people must comply. This isn't a pretty please, will you? This is a must,” Lightfoot said.
But that did not stop people from enjoying the nice weather outside. Groups were playing basketball and doubles tennis, and people were walking their dogs and stopping to talk to each other while not practicing social distancing.
Meanwhile, a memo was sent out to park district employees stating that if staff sees any groups playing T-ball, soccer, basketball, tennis, or football at any park, to call security managers.
The memo went on to say that turf field nets and basketball nets will be removed, tennis courts will be locked, and as many chains and locks as they have will go up to ensure no congregating at all.
However, that is not what we saw at Lincoln Park on Thursday.
“People need to get fresh air, they can walk down the block or walk their dog…the issue isn't the exercise, the issue isn't necessarily being outside. It's congregating and being in places where the risk of exposure is heightened because of being in close proximity to somebody who really isn't in your household,” Lightfoot said.
Mayor Lightfoot says they are working with the park district to address problems they have seen and where they need to get more aggressive, they will.
“It's the congregating that spreads the virus, and that's where we have to clamp down on and we will continue to do that,” Lightfoot said.
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