United Center will require vaccination for Bulls and Blackhawks Games – NBC Chicago
United Center to require vaccination for games originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
It’s official, Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks fans will need to show proof of vaccination to attend games at the United Center.
On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that proof of vaccination will be required for indoor public spaces, including sports arenas, so this announcement was expected.
The United Center’s new policy begins Jan. 3, the day the City of Chicago’s new “vaccine requirements” for indoor public spaces go into effect.
The new policy of the arena reflects that of the city. Fans aged 5 and over must show proof of full vaccination. Fans 16 and over will also need to provide ID that matches their vaccination record. And the mask mandate is also still in effect.
Vaccination evidence is not entirely new to the United Center. Prior to the start of the current NBA and NHL seasons, the United Center required anyone attending events in the arena to present either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the arena. site. At the time, proof of vaccination was only an option for customers over the age of 11.
A negative COVID-19 test will no longer be enough to enter the arena.
Non-resident professional athletes are exempt from the policy.
Chicago becomes the latest city to issue proof of vaccination requirements, following New York and Los Angeles. And the inner mask mandate remains in effect.
“Despite our diligent and equitable vaccine distribution efforts throughout this year, unfortunately, our city continues to see an increase in cases of COVID-19 Delta and now Omicron,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Further measures must be taken to protect the health and well-being of our residents. This public health order requiring proof of vaccination to visit certain indoor public places is a necessary measure so that we can continue to enjoy our city’s many amenities as we enter the new year.”
Many Bulls and Blackhawks games have already been suspended this season as COVID-19 cases rise across the leagues. The NHL has suspended its season until after Christmas.
The Blackhawks had three games suspended in December. The Bulls have had two games suspended, and a third against the Toronto Raptors could be in jeopardy as players from both teams enter health and safety protocols.
“This new requirement will not eliminate the risk of COVID, but it will help ensure a much safer indoor environment for fully immunized Chicagoans, as well as employees working in these high-risk environments. As we head into the winter months, we need to take this step now,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “With Omicron, I expect to see many more COVID reinfections and breakthrough cases, but fortunately vaccines continue to protect very well against serious illness, hospitalization and death, and even more so when people have also received a booster shot. I remain very concerned for the hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans who have yet to receive a single dose of the COVID vaccine or recover from COVID infection. I am concerned for their own health, but also for the risk they pose to the health of others and to our hospital capacity – and while we are in this worrying wave, we must limit this risk.
The Canadian province of Ontario has reduced the capacity of sports venues by 50% following the spike in the omicron variant. This new rule came into effect on December 18.
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