A sign in front of the field house in Chicago's McKinley Park reminds visitors to wear masks and maintain distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McKinley Park Programs Suspended Due to COVID Pandemic

Published January 5, 2021

In-person winter programming for Chicago's McKinley Park and other Chicago Park District locations has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district announced in a news release. This pauses some of the newest programs planned for rollout at McKinley Park, including a slate of programming for armed forces veterans, as well as regular programs such as those for youth and recreation, open-play table tennis and volleyball, and badminton leagues.

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This action is conducted "in accordance with the state’s Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation Plan to suppress the spread of COVID-19," the release said. Programs in McKinley Park and other locations won't resume until city and state public health officials determine it is safe, the release stated. 

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Some Outdoor Activities Still OK

The ice skating rink at McKinley Park remains open for use, with enforced capacity limits, mask-wearing and social distancing. The long lines of people often waiting to enter the ice rink highlight its popularity during the pandemic, with ice skating and hockey sessions scheduled Wednesdays through Sundays.

Also open are the walking trails winding through the 69-acre McKinley Park, but "trail users are required to keep it moving," the release said. "Masks are mandatory. Large gatherings and close contact activities are strictly prohibited, and social distancing must be observed at all times."

Although the playground at McKinley Park is officially closed due to the dangers of COVID-19 transmission, many families, children and youth still use and sometimes crowd the playground equipment.

Limited Hours, Basic Services

The McKinley Park field house remains open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, however, it only offers restrooms and shelter while open. 

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Overall, the park district recommended strictly following City of Chicago recommendations: "Residents are advised to only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up food, or receiving deliveries."

The park district release noted its free virtual programs still available to residents and provides links and details for signing up on the Winter 2021 Programs page of its website. "Families can register for a menu of engaging, virtual programs as well as pre-recorded classes and other unique park experiences, including virtual walks, story time and fitness workouts,” the release stated.

The release said that the park district will resume in-person programming when the State of Illinois announces a move back to Tier 2 pandemic mitigation restrictions.

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