Chicago’s Riverwalk Set To Reopen On Friday

Rob Hart
June 12, 2020 - 7:58 am
Chicago Riverwalk
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago's Riverwalk will officially reopen to the public on Friday, in accordance with public health guidance.
 
Following the latest data and based upon guidance from public health experts, City officials believe the Riverwalk can safely reopen and operate throughout the summer months.
 
Mayor Lightfoot ordered the Riverwalk closed in March, as part of a broader effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, with the city easing restrictions on the public and allowing more businesses to reopen, the Mayor’s office said it will allow people to visit the Riverwalk through limited access points on Lake Street and through ADA compliant ramps between Franklin and Lake Street and State and Columbus Streets. All entrances will be guarded by attendants who will be responsible for confirming reservations and counting the number of peopled to ensure capacity limits are not exceeded, while roaming Riverwalk Ambassadors will be monitoring the space to ensure social distancing is being maintained.
 
The Riverwalk will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. According to the Mayor's Office, those who visit the Riverwalk must wear a face covering and maintain a social distance from others.
 
“The Riverwalk is one of Chicago’s architectural gems and the rare ‘instant-classic’ in our already illustrious lineup of public landmarks. It’s also an important economic engine for our city, drawing an array of residents and visitors to is many bars, restaurants, and recreational activities,” said Mayor Lightfoot, in a statement. “Its reopening marks the latest exciting step in our safe, citywide reopening process, and an important indicator of our great city’s resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 crisis as we work to build, grow, and recover from this pandemic stronger than we’ve ever been.”
 
 
In order to maintain crowd sizes and ensure social distancing, the City is creating designated hours for recreation and concessions. Between the hours of 5-10 a.m. those using the Riverwalk will be able to run, jog, walk and bike along the path between Lake Shore Drive and Lake Street. The lakefront trail remains closed and will not be accessible from the Riverwalk until it officially reopens for public use. At 10 a.m. the Riverwalk will be closed for cleaning. Starting at 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. the Riverwalk’s Concessions Program Vendors will be open by reservation only.
 
According to the Mayor's Office, the full concessions program will be launched through a phased rollout over the coming weeks. In addition to requiring reservations, each establishment will take extra precautions to properly space tables six feet part. During this time, there will also be several passive recreation areas for outdoor use.
 
Riverwalk vendors that will be open by reservation include Tiny Tapp & Cafe, City Winery, Chicago Brewhouse, Beat Kitchen and Community Marketplace, Chicago’s First Lady and Mercury Sightseeing Cruises, Urban Kayaks, Island Party, The Northman, and O'Brien's Riverwalk Cafe.
 
Sweet Home Gelato also will have walk up service, the Mayor's Office said.
 
 
Limited passive recreation areas include Lake Street and LaSalle Street; Vietnam Veterans Memorial; Michigan Plaza; and Columbus Plaza.
 
Those looking to make reservations should contact the establishments directly and can note if ADA accommodations are needed. 

Chicago moved into Phase Three: ‘Cautiously Reopen’ of its reopening framework on June 3 and has been gradually reopening many of its most prominent shared spaces including Navy Pier earlier this week. Cautiously reopening still requires strict physical distancing, but will begin to allow for some industries to reopen. All residents must continue to abide by important guidance in Phase Three, including: physically distancing and wearing a face covering; limiting non-business, social gatherings to less than 10 persons; staying at home if you feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19; and getting tested if you have symptoms.

For more information about the Riverwalk visit Chicagoriverwalk.us.