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Would you go to the beach or a public pool if you could? What Chicagoans told us.

Some said the beach would have more space for people to keep their distance. Others said the chlorine in a pool would make it a safer option during the pandemic.

Chicago’s beaches are officially closed, but that didn’t keep people from jumping into Lake Michigan as temperatures stayed in the 90s the past week.
Chicago’s beaches are officially closed, but that didn’t keep people from jumping into Lake Michigan as temperatures stayed in the 90s the past week.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

With temperatures in the 90s for day after day, we asked Chicagoans whether they’d venture out to the city’s pools and beaches if they were open. Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“I would go to a pool to swim laps where you have a reservation to keep the numbers to a minimum, but hell no to any ‘free swims.’ I don’t really go to the beach because the lake is cold, and sand is annoying.” — Shannon Heath Jeropke

“I would not because it would be flooded with people — taking no safety precautions, of course — and I’m trying to stay healthy! Plus I have my own pool in my backyard.” — Jaleesa Flores

“Ugh. I’d love to go to the beach. I live in Indiana. The national park beaches are beautiful. But they are totally crowded with people coming from Illinois. Can’t find parking, can’t find a socially distanced place to sit, and everyone is leaving loads of trash behind.” — Chris Jacobs Clark

“Yes, because it’s my freedom. There is more social distancing there than in any store.” — Carole Sue Buttke

“Pools no way because it still means being within six feet of other people that I don’t know, who will be yelling all kinds of particles into the air. The beach— yes because I can reasonably expect not to be within six feet of strangers there.” — Julia Harris

“No! I’m not even going out to eat with close friends to a restaurant that is practicing social distancing.” — Jay Thrash

“It would be wonderful to swim and enjoy summer with others, but I don’t think I would go because it’s hard to properly follow social distancing guidelines in those situations. I have vulnerable people in my household that I need to consider.” — Rosemary Sullivan

“No to pools, period. The beach maybe if there was a large secluded spot.” — Jutta Judy Petta

“Beaches, yes, 100%. It is extremely easy to distance yourself (as long as kids are not running around, and, if they are, then they shouldn’t go), and it is a lower-risk activity as compared to eating at a restaurant. Now a pool, on the other hand, I am not going anywhere near that one. It is not nearly as easy to distance yourself, so it doesn’t seem like a good idea.” Ryan Beth

“Pool with small attendance limits, yes. I feel like the chemicals keep it safer than the beach. But only to be active in the water, not to lay around on a pool chair.” — Joanna Milano

“Yes, both. I am not in a high-risk category, and I am not in contact or living with anyone who is. Have to get it sooner or later, probably many times.” — Robin SWild