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Lakefront Trail Chevron sculpture
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Chicago’s lakefront, playgrounds and indoor pools are officially reopening

The Chicago Park District is easing restrictions that have been in place for much of the past year.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Since the pandemic began and much of Chicago locked down last March, large swaths of the lakefront as well as all Chicago Park District playground and indoor pools have been off-limits to the public. This morning, superintendent Michael Kelly announced that many of these facilities will soon reopen, thanks largely to Chicago's test positivity rate dropping to 3.4 percent—the lowest its been since the early days of the pandemic, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

While the Lakefront Trail reopened in June, most of the parks surrounding the path have been closed—though that hasn't stopped residents from visiting them. As crews continue to remove snow from the area, they'll reopen public access point to Chicago Park District land to the east of Lake Shore Drive and lift restrictions on lakefront parking. Visitors will need to wear masks, practice social distancing from other groups and avoid large gatherings.

More than 500 outdoor playgrounds will also reopen in the coming weeks, with Chicago Park District staff unlocking gates that have restricted access to these areas since March. Playground equipment will not be regularly sanitized, so parents and caregivers will need to make sure that kids are wearing masks, social distancing and cleaning their hands frequently.

You won't be able to just show up to one of the Chicago Park District's pools and go for a swim, but aquatics programming will make a limited return this spring. Registration for spring programming is set to begin on March 8 via the Chicago Park District's website

As the weather warms up, Chicagoans are likely to take advantage of expanded access to outdoor spaces. The Chicago Park District is ready to welcome visitors back, but in a statement announcing the reopenings superintendent Kelly urged residents to "continue to be diligent with the safety protocols that have been instrumental in our progress."

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