By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — High winds and waves mean swimming is off limits at Chicago beaches for opening day.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reports from Montrose Beach.

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The Chicago Park District said the water temperature was about 48 degrees as of Friday afternoon.

No one was allowed in the water all of last season. How ironic for the Windy City that the first day allowed on the beach looks more like a fall day.

“Memorial Day weekend, historically, has been hit or miss weather-wise,” said Castaways General Manager Eugene Mori.

That’s true, but the cold temps and cloudy skies couldn’t be more of a bummer for beach restaurants.

COVID restrictions prevented places like Castaways at North Avenue Beach from opening until August last year.

At least this summer begins only a day late with just one big change:

“We’ll start the season without the live entertainment,” Mori said. “Which is less than ideal for us but we’re still really excited to open our doors.”

Will there be any social distancing ambassadors this year on the beaches?

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“You may see some, but it won’t be the function of a lifeguard,” said Alonzo Williams, Chicago Park District Program Officer.

He said his guards are back to focusing on the water this summer after a strange 2020 task of shooing people from the sand.


Even outside and even if you’re vaccinated, at least while the state is still in “Bridge Phase.”

There are signs to encourage you to space your spot six feet away from others.

“We want everybody just to be safe, follow the existing rules that are up and hopefully we’ll have a great summer this year,” Williams said.

City pools will open June 25. Everything seems to be chugging along except for hiring.

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Both the park district and Castaways need more people to apply for jobs.

Lauren Victory