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City beaches reopening Friday

The mayor and the Chicago Park District announced 22 beaches along Lake Michigan will be open to the public for the first time since Sept. 2, 2019. COVID-19 health and safety precautions kept them closed last year.

Chicago will open 22 Lake Michigan beaches on Friday.
On Friday, Chicago will open 22 Lake Michigan beaches, including 31st Street beach, shown in 2019.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file photo

Chicagoans can enjoy some fun at the lake again this summer, with the announcement on Wednesday that 22 city beaches along Lake Michigan will reopen Friday.

It is the first time Chicago beaches have been open to the public since Sept. 2, 2019, due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions.

Juneway, Roger, Howard, and Fargo beaches remain closed by high lake levels and erosion.

This summer’s beach season runs through Labor Day — Monday, Sept. 6.

“As the weather warms up and our city begins to safely return to a sense of normalcy, reopening our beloved lakefront beaches is the perfect way to turn the page on spring and get back to our favorite outdoor activities,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot was quoted as saying in a news release.

“While we are excited for folks to return to our beaches this summer, we still encourage everyone to be safe and continue to get vaccinated. This exciting announcement is the result of the tremendous progress we’ve made in our efforts to slow and stop the spread of this virus and I urge everyone to keep up the good work so we can reopen even more of our iconic summertime attractions in the near future.”

The city is loosening pandemic restrictions, having entered the “bridge phase,” so it will be pretty much business as usual at the beaches, though drinking fountains will remain shut off for public health reasons. Concessions, however, will return starting this weekend. More than 115 concession operators offer food, water recreational activities, and other items. At the 63rd Street beach, Reggie’s on the Beach has an expanded second-floor promenade.

“Chicago’s lakefront and beaches are among the city’s most popular summer destinations,” Parks Supt. Michael Kelly was quoted as saying. “We urge beachgoers to enjoy their visits responsibly by properly discarding their trash and respecting the flag system and only entering the water when lifeguards are present.”