The Chicago Auto Show returns to the city this weekend for the first time in more than a year, kicking off the five-day event Thursday after taking a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Auto Show will take place from Thursday through Monday, shorter than the usual nine-day run that takes place in the winter. It will also be held both indoors and outdoors for the first time since it started in Chicago in 1901, officials said.
Unlike some major Chicago events, the Auto Show will not require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, according to officials.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that although people will not need proof of a COVID vaccination to attend the iconic show, registration will be required.
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"Everyone will register after they buy a ticket, they'll register and then they will have to fill out a short medical questionnaire," Pritzker said.
The questionnaire will ensure that everyone attending is "healthy," according to the governor, but he did not provide details on what questions will be asked. Pritzker noted that one question will ask whether an individual as been vaccinated or not, but there won't be a requirement.
Other safety measures that will be put in place include: a move to Hall F in West Building, timed entrance windows and staggered entry to prevent congestion, a face mask requirement at all times, sanitization stations, contactless delivery for tickets, a temperature scan and medical questionnaire before entry and more.
"Around this time last year, McCormick Place was turned an alternate care facility that significantly aided our city during the first wave of COVID-19—making today's announcement all the more special," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement when she announced the Auto Show would be returning. "In the same spirit of collaboration between government, healthcare, community, and corporate partners, we are now able to bring conventions back to our beloved convention center in a way that is safe and reflective of our progress in slowing and stopping the spread of this virus."
"With strong public health protocols in place, the Chicago Auto Show will be the first large convention to take place in Illinois since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, setting the stage for the safe return of big events in the months to come,” Pritzker added. “The lifesaving power of vaccinations and the hard work by the people of our city and state has led us here. In recent weeks, we have seen our statewide COVID case rates and hospitalizations flatten and begin to fall, demonstrating a surge far short of the one we saw over the fall and winter. To be clear, our fight against the virus isn’t over yet – but things are getting better.”
The Chicago Auto Show was originally slated to be held in mid-February, but organizers postponed the event late last year as the pandemic continued, noting that they hoped to hold the show later in the year.