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Lightfoot Says It's 'Way Too Soon' To Talk About Opening Lakefront, Blasts Florida Governor For Reopening Beaches; 'He's Not Living In Planet Reality'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Even though Chicago appears to be bending the curve of new cases of COVID-19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday it's "way too soon" to talk about opening up the lakefront or non-essential businesses.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week allowed his state's beaches to start opening up as long as people observe social distancing, but Lightfoot slammed that decision, noting the images of huge crowds gathering in close proximity.

"Look how well that's working. You see the pictures of people, they just flock back to the beaches in mass. I don't know what world that guy's living in, but he's not living in planet reality," Lightfoot said.

Jacksonville, Florida Re-Opens Beaches After Decrease In COVID-19 Cases
People walk down the beach on April 19, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that Duval County's beaches would open from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. until 7p.m. after a decrease in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The mayor also defended the move to put up fencing around many of the lawns at Lincoln Park, west of Lake Shore Drive.

"Unfortunately what we continue to see is some folks who are not abiding by the stay-at-home order. We shut down the lakefront now several weeks back, because we saw people congregating in mass in ways that we knew weren't safe," she said. "So the issue isn't going outside, the issue isn't getting exercise, the issue is congregating at a place that's attractive, and I get it. It's one of the crown jewels of our city, the lakefront and our parks, but we can't do it in ways that are not safe and put people at risk."

The mayor said, while she's encouraged that the vast majority of people are obeying her order closing the lakefront, the 606 Trail, and the Riverwalk, as well as Gov. JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order and his ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, she said there needs to be a steady and significant decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases before those orders can be lifted.

"I'm committed to making sure that we continue to do what is necessary to bend the curve, which we are doing, but get to a place where we see the number of daily cases decline. And until we see that decline significantly, and we see the hospitalizations go down, we see a decline in the number of ICU beds that are occupied by COVID positive or people under an investigation, it is way too soon to talk about opening up anything else in my view," she said.

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