OAK BROOK, Ill. (CBS) — As the temperatures soared into the 70s on Tuesday, many people cooped up in their homes for weeks headed outdoors to soak up some sun.
But as CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reported, that perennial pastime is suddenly hazardous.
In Oak Brook’s Central Park, the ballfield and playlot are closed, and the only person in sight Tuesday afternoon was Puccinelli himself. Police chased anyone who tried to come to the sites away.
Canada geese were picnicking in left field all by themselves.
At Eldredge Park in Elmhurst, the tennis courts were locked up and the playground was ringed in caution tape.
“I never thought that I would live to see something like this,” said Ann Dietrich.
But this, of course, is the new normal in the time of COVID-19. And with springlike temperatures along Spring Road in Elmhurst, officials in the DuPage County town knew residents would be wanting to get out and stretch their legs – just as birds were intent on spreading their wings.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Dietrich said. “We’re trying to exercise and keep our heads clear from not going crazy from being inside.”
In response, all around the region, officials have closed courts, fields, rec centers and playlots.
But in Elmhurst and in many other suburbs. running and cycling paths remain open and in heavy use.
Dietrich, along with Gianna Janko, decided to picnic before hitting the prairie path.
“This is my motto – too blessed to be stressed, even in quarantine,” Janko said. “I mean, we’re healthy.”
But they’re healthy at a time when more than 385,000 Americans have been sickened. It’s why Janko was picnicking in a parking lot instead of on a beach.
“I was supposed to be on spring break in Phoenix, but I’m glad Phoenix came to us for the day,” Janko said.
And the parking lot – you can thank COVID-19 for that too. There is a picnic bench about 20 yards away, but Dietrich and Janko had no interest in sitting there.
“I told her that I did not want to sit at the picnic bench because I didn’t know who’s touched it,” Dietrich said.
There were no large crowds in sight Tuesday at any of the parks we checked out. So it appears that people are listening to the experts and trying to social distance as best they can.