STAY HOME SAVE LIVES! Closed: Parks, playlots, The 606, Riverwalk and the lakefront


Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot along with Chicago Police Department's (CPD) acting Superintendent Charlie Beck, Chicago Park District CEO Michael Kelly, Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and several suburban mayors echoed "STAY HOME SAVE LIVES" in a press conference early this afternoon.

They warned that it is possible that 40,000 people could be hospitalized with COVID-19 in Chicago. 

Yesterday, Mar. 25, Lightfoot first plead with people to practice social distancing and abide by Governor J. B. Pritzker's order to "stay-at-home" then threatened to close down the lakefront and other public spaces if there was non-compliance. 

Thousands of residents chose to totally disregard Lightfoot's Wednesday plea and warning. Now hundreds of thousands will have to live with the consequences.  

Parks and facilities, playlots, trails along the entire length of the lakefront from north to south, The 606 (the Bloomingdale Trail), and the Chicago Riverwalk are closed. Contact sports--basketball, soccer, football, etc.-- are not allowed. 

The astonishing numbers that could strike Chicago residents is based on projections and data modeling, explained Arwady. She shared how the State's preparedness which started months ago included mortality management. They planned where the deceased could be housed.

Currently they are in talks with Metro South in Blue Island and McCormick Place along the lake as possible locations for putting in hospital beds.

Later in the afternoon Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, announced that there are 673 new cases in Illinois raising the total to 2,538 and seven more deaths, increasing total deaths to 26. 

"The Chicago Department of Public Health states that the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 increases by 20% with people in such proximity," explains Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward Alderman and Chairman of Chicago City Council's Finance Committee. 

He went on to say that he expects that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) will enforce the Chicago Park District's closures. Beck confirmed that during the press conference. 

"We don't want to arrest anyone around this issue," said Beck. "But we will if we have to." Yesterday CPD gave out 56 warnings and arrested one.

 Non-compliance with these orders and rules puts everyone at risk…family members, friends, neighbors, first responders, strangers and yourself. The virus is age, color, gender and culturally blind with no care about country of origin. It can spread like wild fire. It can consume resources an devastate communities. 

Anyone needing housing, food or other resources can call 3-1-1. "Operators have recently been trained to handle these situations," explained Lightfoot. "They can now put those in need in touch with resources." 

"It is so critical to flatten the curve of new cases and keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed," says Daniel LaSpata, 1st Ward Alderman. "Comprehensive physical distancing is a necessity."  

One's physical and mental health is important too. 

The Friends of the Park (FOTP) join with the City in messaging “Stay Home Save Lives.” 

Agreeing with Arwady, Juanita Irizarry, FOTP Executive Director, said getting your heart rate up every day and guarding your mental health is vital for everyone. "But generally stay home. When you really need to go out for an Essential Activity like taking a walk and getting some fresh air, please apply ample wisdom and use parks only in isolation. 

"This is likely to be a long haul, and we will need to go outside occasionally with great care. Keep modeling how to do it right in allowed open spaces with your posts using #Isolation Inspiration, #HealthyParksHealthyChicago, and #ParksAreOurFriends.  

Constituents of 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins were provided the following list to provide constructive activity alternatives:

Walking in the neighborhoods is allowed while practicing social distancing, Mother Nature appears to be helping too. The weather forecast predicts cool wet weather for the next few days.

Share your coping activities...send us your thoughts and suggestions to be shared with others.



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