Even as Chicago sees eased coronavirus restrictions, with indoor dining reopening and kids potentially making their way back into classrooms, it doesn’t appear that the city’s sports teams will be allowed to welcome fans back into stadiums and arenas any time soon.
During a press availability Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Allison Arwady, the director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, says that while the city is making “good progress,” sports teams are still likely “months away” from allowing fans to attend games.
“We’re definitely making good progress here, but we are still not even below the 400-case mark (the number of new cases per 100,000 residents per week) and 5% positivity that really mark our danger zone in Chicago,” she said. “I think about fans in stands, that is months away.”
Currently, the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks are playing home games at the United Center, with no fans currently allowed in the building. The Chicago Cubs and White Sox, who are set to report to Arizona later this month for spring training, will open their 2021 seasons in April, but it is unclear if fans will be allowed to attend contests at Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Cubs and White Sox played their 2020 seasons without fans in the stands, and the Chicago Bears did the same at Soldier Field, with no fans in attendance at any of their eight home games.
Each of the teams has said they are keeping in close contact with health officials about the situation. Some other franchises have begun to allow fans in a limited capacity at their games, including several NHL and NBA teams.
This year’s Super Bowl, being held in Tampa, Florida, will allow 25,000 fans to attend, according to the NFL.
While Arwady says that fans won’t be allowed into buildings yet, she says she is “optimistic” that the city is approaching the day when supporters will once again be able to head to arenas and stadiums to cheer on their favorite teams.
“I am certainly optimistic that we will be able to reopen further, but we’re going to have to be doing that in a way that’s cautious, and I really can’t predict months from now where we will be. (But) I am feeling optimistic based on the way things are going right now,” she said.