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Lakefront Trail Closes Indefinitely And Chicagoans Could Face $500 Fine For Gathering In Public Spaces

By Charli Renken

Lakefront Trail Closes Indefinitely And Chicagoans Could Face $500 Fine For Gathering In Public Spaces

Violating the stay-at-home order could cost you $500.

In an email to those in the 48th ward, Alderman Harry Osterman announced that effective Thurs, March 26 at 8 a.m., the Lakefront Trail, park, and beaches from Ardmore south are closed indefinitely. This announcement comes after yesterday’s warm weather, during which many Chicagoans ventured outside to the lakefront and parks. Chicago Police were deployed to move people away from the water and parks.

2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins also tweeted that all public land on and near the lakefront is closed. While Mayor Lori Lightfoot hasn’t officially closed parks and beaches, she did announce yesterday that those disobeying Gov J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order could face arrest and up to $500 in fines. All playgrounds are closed and Lightfoot urged people not to gather in crowds. She is expected to address the crowding issue in parks and beaches at a press event later today.

The mayor also ordered Chicago Police to disperse crowds yesterday and will be enforcing Gov Pritzker’s order in a three-step escalation procedure. If someone is found disobeying the order, police are to first warn the offender, then issue a citation, and lastly arrest the individual.

“I want to remind everyone of how critically important it is for all Chicagoans to adhere to the State mandate during this time, which was implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” the Mayor said in a press release. “In the face of this global pandemic we all must play our part in flattening the curve locally, and that means staying at home as much as possible during this time. I want to be clear we are not saying that you cannot go outdoors, but everyone must implement social distancing when doing so and exercise increased caution.”

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Chicagoans are still allowed to go on walks and runs so long as they are short and not along the lakefront. They can also walk their dogs, go to the grocery store and other essential businesses, and pick-up food at restaurants so long as they practice social distancing.

Feature photo @matthewdolkart