Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, people have been urged to think of others and consider ways to support the local economy.
However, they also need to think about themselves.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 21 and directed people to stay inside unless they need to visit essential businesses such as grocery stores or pharmacies. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said going for a walk is permissible.
However, people have also been instructed to practice social distancing: stay 6 feet away from others and don’t attend gatherings of 10 or more people.
Nonetheless, not everyone is listening.
In an executive order, Lightfoot closed the lakefront, adjacent parks and the popular 606 Trail on the North Side on March 26 after large crowds continued to gather.
It is understandable that people want to get outside, especially when nice weather lured us on March 26.
But, even if some downplay the danger of COVID-19, visiting hotspots like the lakefront or The 606 is a bad idea.
At the least, such behavior will only motivate elected officials to extend the stay-at-home-order, which, for now, is scheduled to conclude on April 7.
But, Lightfoot warned it could be extended further into April.
She also said Chicagoans could be issued citations if they disobey her order.
“While our parks and other green spaces offer residents a brief respite during this stay-at-home order, we simply must take action to prevent the large gatherings that are putting our public health at risk,” Lightfoot said. “As we work tirelessly to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of COVID-19, we need people to stay at home as much as possible. Our order to temporarily close access to the lakefront and restrict gatherings has now become a necessary step in our effort to protect people and to get our city through this crisis as quickly as possible.”
As hundreds of people are diagnosed in Illinois each day, and the death toll rises to over 60 statewide, it shouldn’t be difficult for people to entertain themselves indoors and practice smart social activities when they do venture outside. There is still plenty of room to enjoy a jog away from crowds.
Everyone wants life to return to normal ASAP, but ignoring advice from health-care experts only pushes that day further away.