COVID-19 Vaccine: What to know before this weekend's games at United Center originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Before the Chicago Bulls take to the court and the Chicago Blackhawks hit the ice this weekend, you'll want to know the changes to COVID-19 policies at the United Center.
As Chicago lifts coronavirus vaccine and indoor masking mandates across the city, the United Center has announced plans to ease some, but not all, of its guidelines for fans.
Here's what you need to know:
Do you still need to show proof of COVID vaccination?
Moving forward, the United Center will continue require all attendees to present proof of vaccination, but will now give the option to show a negative COVID test to gain access to the venue.
Previously, the United Center had required proof of vaccination for entry, and did not accept a negative test.
Are you required to wear a mask?
Masks are now optional at games and events at the United Center, however the venue still says they are "recommended."
Have the new guidelines already started?
The updated guidelines will first take effect for Blackhawks fans on Thursday for their home matchup with the Edmonton Oilers, and for Bulls fans on Friday for their home matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Blackhawks will be on off Friday, then on the road Saturday, facing the Philadelphia Flyers. On Sunday, the team will return to the United Center to play the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After taking off Saturday and Sunday, the Bulls will be in Philadelphia for their matchup against the 76ers on Monday.
The Bulls play eight of their remaining 21 regular-season games at home, and hope to host playoff basketball at the United Center come spring.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, play 14 of their remaining 28 regular-season games at home, but boast no such playoff hopes.
Are there any other notable COVID protocols?
Though they haven't drastically changed, the United Center will continue to conduct all ticket-checks and payments in a contactless format.
The venue also has enhanced cleaning standards including disinfecting equipment, increasing frequently of cleaning and adding more sanitation stations.