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Chicago's Director of Public Health Optimistic About Fans in Stands, Eventually

Dr. Allison Arwady is optimistic about fans returning to Chicago sporting events but notes that it's likely "months away."
Chicago White Sox home Guaranteed Rate Field

Photo: Chicago Tribune

As the sports world continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19, there is optimism about fans being able to attend games again in Chicago.

Yesterday, the Director of the Chicago Department of Health, Dr. Allison Arwady, spoke to the press about the state of COVID-19 and its current impact on Chicago as well as what the city's future holds. Arwady explained that while great progress has been made, there is still plenty of work to do and ground to cover as far as the minimum case numbers and infectious rate that the city holds.

Some areas of Chicagoland are seeing lifts on certain restrictions that will make bars and restaurants available for dining again. Additionally, the effort to get children back into school continues throughout the state while creating a safe environment for everyone involved. But what does all of this mean for sporting events?

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Arwady expressed that caution would be a focus moving forward. Going back to last year, the Bears, Cubs, and White Sox played their home games in front of empty seats. Nothing has changed for the Bulls and Blackhawks, who roll out in an empty United Center on the city's West Side.

Some teams located in different states have allowed a limited number of spectators in their stadiums. Most recently, over 1,000 fans were in attendance when the Blackhawks visited the Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. This weekend, the NFL will welcome 25,000 spectators to the Super Bowl in Florida, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers.

Although there have been fans in the stands in other states, there is no definitive plan to allow supporters into Chicago stadiums anytime soon. Arwady says that is likely still "months away" but she is optimistic about further reopening when the time is right. Members of the city's franchises will continue to stay in close contact with Chicago health officials to ensure a safe, efficient plan to reopen gates as soon as possible.