Chicago, March 27 (IANS) Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has ordered the immediate closure of trails, bike paths, green spaces and parks near the city's Lakefront in an accelerated effort to fight COVID-19.
The order also prohibits contact sports, like basketball and football, according to a statement posted on the city government's website on Thursday, Xinhua reported.
To ensure compliance with the order, the Chicago Police Department is empowered to issue a $500 ticket, and go further with issuing citations if individuals do not adhere to initial warnings from police officers.
"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," said Lightfoot.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a "Stay at Home" Order, which went into effect on March 21. Under the order, residents of Chicago and across the state are mandated to stay at home as much as possible.
However, city officials of Chicago have observed crowds congregating along the Lakefront, in parks, and other public spaces violating the state's mandate and health guidance.
By Thursday, the US Midwest state of Illinois has 2,538 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and death toll has climbed to 26.