Despite a few hiccups on St. Patrick’s Day and the first sunny day in Chicago people have been generally pretty good about social distancing here. But the city is about to face a real test as the weather warms up across the country after more than 50 days of (mostly) staying at home.
The trend really started Thursday afternoon when the sun broke through the clouds for the first time in a week and despite it being frigid everyone seemed to have the same idea: I just have to get outside and get some sun.
The vast majority of people were behaving responsibly, but a crew of six were holding an impromptu gathering in the parking lot across from Murphy’s Bleachers and there was clearly an uptick in traffic around the ballpark. Yesterday it was sunny and in the upper 50s for most of the day and the traffic shot up again. There was a line of maybe 12 people stretched down the block by Kozy Cyclery with people preparing to dust off their bikes this weekend and it seemed like just about everyone had the same idea to walk/run/bike by Wrigley Field.
Every bench outside Gallagher Way was taken up with pairs or families, there was a small line out the door by Jeni’s ice cream and I actually decided to alter my route and head up Clark to Grace Street to avoid the crowds on Waveland. That decision allowed me to capture this shot of a socially distanced line outside Sunnyside Dispensary — the pandemic has apparently not diminished the demand for recreational marijuana at all.
Today is an even more perfect Chicago day. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperatures are supposed to hit the mid 70s. While traffic didn’t seem abnormally high on my run this morning, I imagine that will change as the day continues. And who can blame people? So many of us are cooped up inside with no access to a yard, a park or even a balcony to get fresh air. The sun eases some of the depression and anxiety people are feeling during a traumatic time.
However, Chicagoans need to be smart about this. We can’t afford to undo all of the work we’ve done social distancing right as cases are (hopefully) peaking in the city. Explore side streets and areas with less traffic for now. Consider altering your chosen route if it looks too crowded. The entire neighborhood can’t flock to Wrigley Field every day this summer because the lake front is closed. Although it’s nice to know the Cubs are still a draw, even when baseball is suspended.