CHICAGO (CBS) — While rules are tightening up for bars and restaurants, things are loosening up along Chicago’s Riverwalk: no more restricted hours there.
But people visiting the Riverwalk tell CBS 2’s Steven Graves, back to normal doesn’t mean back to feeling safe.
Foot traffic on Chicago’s Riverwalk is picking up. For the first time in months, it’s fully open. And sitting to take it all in safely is 76-year-old Anita Balodis.
“I really love the Riverwalk. This is such a beautiful place,” she said.
She loves the views of the river and clear skies. But there’s one thing she’s had trouble spotting lately.
“Ninety percent of the people were not wearing masks,” Balodis said. “Now I’m seeing a few more. I actually thank people and I thank them not only because they care about themselves, but they’re caring about me.”
Wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is a rule here. It’s posted on signs and the venue’s website. But people are quick to tell you it’s more like a suggestion.
“There’s a ton of people out here without masks on,” said one pedestrian.
“There was a young person who had no mask and sneezed,” Balodis added.
“If there were a lot of people near me, I’d be wearing this,” said the pedestrian.
And that can be challenging on the Riverwalk, especially because you could be walking normally and be forced to walk past people less than six feet away. But it’s a tough rule to distinguish. There’s no city mandate requiring face coverings outside, which is the allure of the Riverwalk.
“To wear this 24/7, it’s kind of hot. I felt like I was almost going to pass out earlier,” said a pedestrian.
Running isn’t easy with a mask. They’re not required for areas of outside dining. And the thought is, if you’re by yourself, what’s the harm? This retiree said it just comes down to caring.
“Please think about us older people who are at risk,” said Balodis.
The hours at the Riverwalk are from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Security guards here said there are still social distancing monitors on hand to remind people of safety measures.