March 25, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot Reminds Residents of Critical Importance of Staying at Home to Prevent Further Spread of Covid-19

Chicagoans reminded of key guidance to practice social distancing, and take precautions outdoors; Enforcement actions will be taken as needed to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and to keep residents safe

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Interim Chicago Police Department Superintendent Beck and Superintendent Kelly of the Chicago Park District to remind Chicagoans of the critical importance of complying with the State of Illinois’ Stay At Home order regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

With spring temperatures warming up, City officials reminded residents of key guidance to keep them safe and to comply with the order.  This guidance includes urging residents continue to practice key social distancing techniques, shown to prevent the spread of the virus; as well as encouraging residents to take precautions outdoors, including ensuring that trips outdoors are brief, individual and avoiding congregate settings and close contacts, which could further transmission.

“I want to remind everyone of how critically important it is for all Chicagoans to adhere to the State mandate during this time, which was implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “In the face of this global pandemic we all must play our part in flattening the curve locally, and that means staying at home as much as possible during this time. I want to be clear we are not saying that you cannot go outdoors, but everyone must implement social distancing when doing so and exercise increased caution.”

Since Governor Pritzker’s ‘Stay at Home’ Order went into effect on March 21, residents of Chicago and across the state are mandated to stay at home as much as possible, and to limit occasions for leaving their homes, unless it is to: retrieve essential goods or services, go work if they are an essential employee, seek medical care, or to get fresh air. The order was issued out of an abundance of caution to safeguard the public health and prevent further spread in the community, and is expected to last through April 7, unless otherwise directed.

Chicagoans are still able, and encouraged, to do the following during this time:  

  • Go for a walk or run but maintain physical distance from others while doing so.
  • Walk their dog, but not congregate at the dog park or beach.
  • Visit one of the City's public parks and outdoor recreation areas that remain open for use during regular operating hours but avoid clustering in groups.
  • Shop at the grocery stores that remain open, as long as you are not sick, and practice social distancing.
  • Continue visiting the restaurants that remain open for pick-up and delivery.

“In order to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we need people to stay at home and avoid congregating in crowds during this time,” said Dr.  Arwady. “This virus spreads through droplets, meaning coughing and sneezing, which is why it is so important to socially distance yourself from others.  We want to make clear it is essential for people to be using these extra precautions, especially when leaving their houses, if we want to be successful in stopping the further spread of COVID-19 in Chicago.”

Additionally, under an order released by CDPH last week, any Chicago resident that has COVID-19 must stay at home during this time unless seeking emergency medical care. This order was issued out of an abundance of caution to safeguard the public health and prevent further spread in the community.

While the Chicago Police Department are empowered to enforce the Governor’s order through citations and additional measures, the Department is primarily focusing on educating residents about the new state order and providing warnings to individuals not abstaining from non-essential activities, and especially those congregating in large gatherings. To further ensure compliance with the State’s mandate, the Department will move forward with issuing citations if individuals don’t adhere to warnings from police officers.

"The number one tool our officers have is education, and we'll be working to ensure our residents have the most up-to-date information and guidelines to prevent COVID-19 and keep them healthy and safe during these difficult times," said Interim Superintendent Beck. “Adhering to this order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Chicagoan to do their part to help keep each other safe.”

Chicago Park District’s facilities and fieldhouses will remain closed for the duration of the stay at home order.  However, while the district’s green spaces and parks remain open during this time, the it is taking the following public safety measures to ensure the safety of residents and communities:

  • Posted signage reminding residents that all field houses are closed and along the lakefront reinforcing social distancing along the lakefront reinforcing social distancing and reminding residents what that means.
  • Securing playgrounds, which are closed under the State order

"While Chicago Park District green spaces are open, we should not all rush out at once," said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. "Parks are not gathering spaces for normal park activities. They should be used as resources for a brief respite, in accordance with social distancing and other CDC guidelines. We are relying on our residents to police themselves to keep our city safe."

The Chicago Department of Public Health continues encouraging everyone to take the following preventative measures in order to ensure the health and wellness of the general public:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops and phones.

For more information and updates on COVID-19, text COVID19 to 78015, email or visit

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