CPD clears lakefront Wednesday, just hours after frustrated mayor reminds residents to stay home

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CHICAGO — Hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reminded residents again to take the COVID-19 stay-at-home order seriously, police officers cleared the lakefront.

Around 6:30 p.m. officers and squad cars were at North Avenue Beach and the surrounding area enforcing the “do not congregate mandate” issued by Gov. JB Pritzker.

The warm weather Wednesday had residents flocking to sidewalks, parks and paths.

Up and down the lakefront late in the afternoon scores of officers were either actively patrolling or assigned to certain spots.

After repeated calls in recent days for compliance, a visibly frustrated Lightfoot held a news conference to explain the severity of the situation – again.

“Under no circumstances are you allowed to congregate and do not let the warming weather let your guard slip,” she said. “I hope that I don’t have to shut down the lakefront and all the parks but I will if we cannot get compliance.”

Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck added the time for advising the public to enforcing the edict is upon us.

“Violation of this legal mandate is a misdemeanor. It is a violation of the municipal code,” he said. “If you violate it you are subject to a citation, a fine of up to $500 and if you continue to violate it you will be subject to physical arrest.”

The lakefront trail was back open Thursday morning with Chicago police on deck, to make sure Chicagoans are not congregating.

Mayor Lightfoot will hold another press conference at 1 p.m. Thursday with other area mayors, to announce more action designed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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