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Millennium Park reopens with social distancing restrictions

The park is now open daily between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. to groups of 10 people or less wearing masks, according to the city.

Millennium Park, a tourist mecca, sits empty. The coronavirus means fewer tourists will be visiting Chicago this year.
Millennium Park, a tourist mecca, reopened Monday, June 15, 2020, with strict social distancing guidelines.
Getty file photo

Millennium Park reopened Monday with social distancing restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in a move Mayor Lori Lightfoot dubbed a “cautious reopening.”

The park is now open daily between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. to groups of 10 people or less wearing masks, according to the city.

Guests are required to enter Millennium Park at Michigan Avenue and Madison Street, and exit at Michigan Avenue and Washington Street, the city said. The entrance gate will close temporarily if the park reaches capacity.

“Social distancing ambassadors” wearing lime green shirts will remind groups to stay 6 feet apart.

Adjacent Maggie Daley Park also opened Monday, but the BP Bridge connecting the two remains closed.

Open areas at Millennium Park include the Chase Promenades, the Boeing Galleries and Lurie Garden. Cloud Gate — known as The Bean — is open, but can only be viewed from a distance. Crown Fountain and Wrigley Square are also open, but without water features.

The Great Lawn at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion remains closed, along with the welcome center and the bike rental center. Park Grill is open for limited to-go service.

“Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s great attractions and we are tremendously excited to have it take this first step in cautious reopening,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Lightfoot said she hopes the city can open the park further in the coming weeks and months “in a way that’s engaging and fun, while also being safe for ... the broader public.”

Millennium Park, one of Chicago’s most-visited tourist spots, closed mid-March amid a stay-at-home order to stem the spread of COVID-19. The closure prompted the city to cancel the parks summer festivals, including the Chicago House Music, Gospel Music and Blues festivals.

Last week, the city’s Riverwalk reopened with social distancing guidelines. Chicago’s lakefront remains closed, but is expected to reopen June 22, Lightfoot announced Monday.

Chicago’s Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, said last week that the city is on pace to move to Phase 4 of reopening as soon as June 26. The next phase allows for gatherings of up to 50 people and lets museums, gyms, restaurants and other businesses resume indoor operations at limited capacities.

So far, more than 2,300 people in Chicago have died from the coronavirus. There have been nearly 50,000 confirmed cases of the disease citywide.