mask guidance

Arenas, Theaters and More: How Venues Are Responding to Lifting of Mask Mandates

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

While Chicago and Illinois are lifting vaccine and mask mandates across the city and state, some of the city's biggest venues are making decisions of their own.

From the United Center to the Chicago Theatre and more, the sites of some of the area's biggest events are announcing changes to their COVID protocols.

The United Center is easing its in-arena COVID-19 guidelines, but still maintaining a test or vaccine policy for visitors.

Moving forward, the United Center will require all attendees — including Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks fans — to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain access to the venue. Masks are also now optional for attendees.

"The decision to continue to require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is representative of the continued commitment to providing the best environment for all fans and employees," the United Center said in a release, adding that while masks are optional, they remain "recommended."

The updated guidelines will first take effect for Blackhawks fans on Thursday, March 3, for their home matchup with the Edmonton Oilers, and for Bulls fans on Friday, March 4, for their home matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Allstate Arena did not provide details on an updated COVID policy, but an employee confirmed to NBC 5 via telephone that the masking requirement at the venue was lifted along with the state. Details on vaccination requirements remained unclear, however.

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre did not immediately respond to requests for comment surrounding its COVID policies.

In Chicago, the League of Chicago Theaters - which includes places like Broadway Chicago, Blue Man Group, the Second City, the Goodman Theatre, Lyric Opera, the Chicago Theatre and more- said it will continue vaccination and mask requirements for audiences "until further notice."

At Chicago's House of Blues, the venue on Monday began calling for a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of an event or proof of vaccination.

Meanwhile, at the Vic Theatre, the venue said it "will not require a mask or proof of vaccination to attend a show unless specifically requested by the artist on a per show basis."

Despite changes to state and city mandates, along with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local governments and businesses have the ability to set their own rules. School districts, too, may decide to implement their own mask mandates.

In addition, the new guidelines do not change the federal requirement to wear masks on public transportation and indoors in airports, train stations and bus stations.

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