CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ice ribbon at Maggie C. Daley Park in downtown Chicago is open to the public for ice skating throughout the end of February, taking precautions to remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have ice skating going seven days a week here," said park manager John Wegforth. "Everything's outdoors, everyone's wearing masks, and we're operating at 25% capacity."
Instead of allowing walk-ins and long lines, the park has shifted to an online reservation system. Each day has four or five 90-minute sessions for skating around the ribbon.
Ice skaters of all ages and activities have filled the rinks limited capacity since it opened for the winter season. Dante Benford has been ice skating for seven years, and said the park is helping him get through a COVID-19 winter.
"The way I am out on the ice is a little bit different than how I carry my day-to-day. It's a chance to get to express myself a little bit," Benford said. "I sit around all day, and I get out here and become a new person."
In addition to regular skating, the park is partnering with local museums and cultural institutions this year to provide for Educate & Skate programming every Wednesday during the 2:45 P.M. skate session.
"There will be (an educational) video going and audio playing while people are skating," Wegforth said.
In order to accommodate more people, the park management is releasing new open sessions every two weeks. The ice ribbon will be open through February. To sign up for a skate session, visit MaggieDaleyPark.org.
Ice skating at Maggie Daley Park offers COVID-safe winter activity downtown
CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT