Outdoor spaces are opening up just as the weather begins to warm up!
Since the pandemic first struck Chicago early last year many of our parks, playgrounds, pools, and beloved public places have been off-limits. We’ve been through severe lockdowns, faced restrictions of all kinds, and had to change up where we exercise and spend our free time. Now, the city of Chicago is reopening these public areas, many of which will reopen for the first time since March 2020.
On Tuesday, February 23, Chicago Park District officially announced via Twitter that they “will begin opening citywide playgrounds, nature play spaces, and public access points to parkland east of Lake Shore Drive.” Along with these public spaces, some indoor pools will open and the Lakefront trail will reopen once again lifting restrictions on lakefront parking.
Great News! @ChicagoParks will begin opening citywide playgrounds, nature play spaces and public access points to parkland east of Lake Shore Drive. Safety protocols must be observed at all times to continue our progress. For details, please visit https://t.co/eun4td38gD #ChiLFT pic.twitter.com/4mUBB2o8e9
— Chicago ParkDistrict (@ChicagoParks) February 23, 2021
The park district plans to unlock gates and reopen more than 500 outdoor playgrounds and nature play spaces. While registration for aquatics programs will begin on March 8 via the Chicago Park District’s website.
General Superintendent Michael Kelly attributed the reopening of facilities and spaces to metrics related to the spread of COVID-19. Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady reported that the test positivity rate has now dropped to 3.2% which is the lowest its been since the pandemic first hit.
FINALLY! Our playgrounds have been closed for a YEAR. I can't tell you how happy I am to finally have some sensible policy on outdoor spaces. https://t.co/fippfDi4DU
— Lisa Jarvis (@lisamjarvis) February 23, 2021
As ever, visitors to newly opened spaces will need to continue using masks, practicing social distancing, and avoid grouping together in numbers. Chicago Park District warned that playground equipment will not be regularly sanitized so it will be up to parents and caregivers to make sure kids are wearing masks, social distancing, and cleaning their hands.
General Superintendent Michael Kelly echoes this sentiment in a statement urging residents to “continue to be diligent with the safety protocols that have been instrumental in our progress.”
[Featured image from Shutterstock]