Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday that the odds of Chicago Bears' fans coming back to Soldier Field this season are less than 50 percent, casting doubt on the teams' hope of spectators being able to attend games.
“We’re nowhere near at a place where we can even realistically talk about fans coming back to Soldier Field,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in an interview on 670 The Score Friday morning.
Lightfoot's comments come one week after Bears Chairman George McCaskey said he was "optimistic" about fans being permitted to attend games, adding the team submitted what he called a "good plan" to city officials, according to NBC Sports Chicago.
"...The city wants to see the numbers of active cases in the city come down before we can bring people to Soldier Field," McCaskey said. "So we’re hopeful. But we want to be prudent, we want to do the right thing and we want to cooperate with the city in their health and safety measures.”
While Lightfoot said the city is willing to work with the Bears, she said it's important that the team cooperates.
"The Bears have got to be better partners with us on a range of different issues, but this as well, if they want to get fans in the stands," she stated.
The team released a statement in the hours after the mayor's radio interview, stating in mid-August it reviewed a detailed plan with city and public health officials to assess the "feasibility of allowing a limited number of fans to attend Bears games."
"On August 17, both the Bears and City issued statements referencing the plan, the collaboration and the hope to return fans to Soldier Field, but not until health metrics improved," the statement added. "We continue to work closely with members of the Mayor’s staff on monitoring the environment, assessing the plan and determining the right time to bring fans back.”
The Bears are one of 26 NFL teams who began the season with no fans in attendance. The team will face the New York Giants at 1 p.m. Sunday at Soldier Field.