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Illinois beach closing may affect Kenosha
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Illinois beach closing may affect Kenosha

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SIMMONS ISLAND THURSDAY

Beachgoers, including many from Illinois, enjoy the water and the sand on Simmons Island on June 25.

A decision Thursday afternoon by Illinois health officials likely will have a ripple effect in the city of Kenosha.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced that, beginning Saturday, the beach at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park in Zion will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

The beach, including the North Unit, South Unit and North Point Beach, will remain closed on those days until further notice, according to the agency.

What that means here remains to be seen, but it’s not that difficult to connect the dots.

“Simmons Island is just packed,” Kenosha Parks Superintendent Jeff Warnock said. “I think any other place that’s going to shut down south of us is going to impact us. ... I drive through Simmons Island and look at the license plates and I bet three-quarters of the cars are from Illinois.”

Whether the city is looking at following suit hasn’t been a discussion as of yet, Warnock said.

But there’s no doubting how busy city beaches have been in recent weeks.

“Not last weekend, but the weekend before, it was as busy as the Fourth of July here,” he said. “(There) was a couple thousand, I would think, at Simmons, and as it stretched out. It went to Kennedy (Park), Eichelman (which) gets a lot of people, too.”

Illinois reported 1,772 new COVID-19 cases and 18 related deaths Thursday. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state’s confirmed cases has reached 176,896, including 7,478 deaths.

The decision in Zion is only for the weekends, as the beach will remain open during the week, including other areas of the park, like the lodge and trails.

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