Coronavirus Chicago: Beach closures remain over July 4th weekend, but people flock to lakeshore anyway

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's beaches are officially closed through the July 4 holiday weekend, but that hasn't stopped people from getting out there and enjoying some time in the sun.

Taking in the cool waves lapping up against the hot sand of city beaches is usually any Chicagoan's idyllic start to a summer holiday weekend, but this is no idyllic summer.

"We haven't gotten in the water. Just trying to get the view," said Brianna Weathersby, who went to Foster Beach Thursday.

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"It shouldn't be happening," Weathersby said. "Nobody got the go-ahead, so I just think that nobody should be out here. But who am I to tell people what to do?"

"We've been following most of the statistics and it seems to be a much lower possibility when you're outdoors, said Patrick McGavin, Chicago resident.

All up and down the lakefront the small patches of sand were full of people.

"We were talking about the idea that it is a little concerning, that there is a lot of people, but this is not the worst environment because you can keep your social distance," said Antonio Casanova, beachgoer. "That's what we've been trying to do as a group."

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Socially distanced on the sand or not, the near lakeshore is full of swimmers even though lifeguard stands are laying on their sides and unstaffed.

Mayor Lightfoot warned residents that even though Lake Michigan can look calm and inviting, it's deep and contains rip currents that can be very dangerous. She strongly encouraged people to stay out of the lake when there are no lifeguards on duty for their own safety.

"Every single year, we lose so many people who drowned in Lake Michigan and this year, we have no lifeguards on the beaches because the beaches are closed. Please don't be foolish. A lake is dangerous," she said.

City health officials said they continue to monitor the data in Chicago to determine if and when they can open the beaches.
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