The Chicago Park District has moved into Phase Three of the City’s “Protecting Chicago” framework to begin cautiously reopening.
During this phase of reopening, the Chicago Park District will ease restrictions on select park facilities including lakefront parks west of Lake Shore Drive, inland golf courses, and park fieldhouses across the city. The District will also offer limited programming, including a modified day camp at 148 parks.
“Our parks are the city’s playgrounds and we look forward to cautiously welcoming residents to enjoy the wonderful outdoor spaces that our city has to offer,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “In the coming weeks, as we work toward continued progress in reducing the spread of the coronavirus, we will be able to enjoy even more of our great city.”
Lakefront parks west of Lake Shore Drive have reopen. This includes Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park, Harold Washington Park and Jackson Park, which were previously closed under the Chicago Department of Public Health executive order. Maggie Daley Park will reopen Monday, June 15. Millennium Park, managed by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will reopen in mid-June.
The Chicago Park District will deploy 100 social distancing ambassadors to help educate the public and manage the flow of patrons in these parks. Ambassadors will actively engage park patrons providing guidance on appropriate social distancing, the importance of face coverings as well as other health and safety guidelines. The district plans to increase the number of ambassadors as more parks reopen.
In addition, all park fieldhouses are reopened to the public, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for washrooms and shelter only.
The Chicago Park District’s inland golf facilities and Diversey Driving Range reopened to the public on June 8. The Sydney R. Marovitz and South Shore golf courses will remain closed for the time being. All golfers will need to follow specific guidelines as mandated by City and State guidelines. Visit www.cpdgolf.com for details including hours, and to book a tee time.
The district will offer a modified version of its popular summer day camp, from Monday, July 6 through Friday, Aug. 14, at 148 parks across the city. Families will also have the option of registering for a two-week extended camp that runs Monday, Aug. 17 through Friday, Aug. 28. Campers will engage in STEAM activities, reading, and journal writing as well as modified sports and outdoor activities that observe social distancing and other public health guidance. For hygiene purposes, park drinking fountains will not be turned on and campers should bring an ample supply of water to stay hydrated. Free lunch and snacks will be provided for all registered camp participants.
“While this summer will look a lot different than years past, we are eager to welcome youth back to summer camp and all Chicagoans to our new reimagined programs so that we can safely enjoy our outdoor spaces,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent Mike Kelly.
A complete listing of summer programs is currently available on the Chicago Park District website. Online registration will begin Thursday, June 11, for parks west of California Avenue and Friday, June 12, for parks east of California Avenue. In-person registration is scheduled for Saturday, June 13, if public health guidance permits. Due to limited capacities at each location, the district asks that only families in need secure a space. Day camp registration is reserved for Chicago residents only.
As always, no child will be turned away for inability to pay. Financial assistance is available for families who qualify. Refunds will not be provided for day camp at any time after purchase.
In addition to day camp, the district will offer a menu of virtual programs to keep residents active while at home. Offerings include sports, wellness, arts and crafts, and fitness programs. Residents can access additional park experiences, including fitness demonstrations, storytelling and virtual park tours by visiting the Chicago Park District’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/chicagoparkdistrict/.
Chicago’s lakefront and swimming pools will remain closed while public health officials advise the district on options to open safely. All park playgrounds remain closed and equipment is not being cleaned or sanitized. The district asks that parents keep children away from equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.
The district strongly urges patrons to take precautions to protect their health and the safety of others while in parks. Signage will be posted at every park facility to remind patrons of required safety measures. Face coverings are required at all times. The district also urges patrons to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching their face with unwashed hands, and cover their noses and mouths when sneezing or coughing. Also, anyone who is feeling unwell should stay home, per Chicago Department Public Health order.
As Chicago continues to move forward into Phase Three of its COVID-19 response plan, it is critical that residents continue to work together to keep the parks, community, and city safe, a district spokesperson said. For more information, log on to www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.