UPDATE: The Bears will welcome fans back at 100% capacity. As of Aug. 30, face masks are required, regardless of vaccination status. The below story was written in May.
There were no fans in attendance at Chicago Bears games in 2020, but that should change in 2021.
It looks like fans will be allowed back at Soldier Field. And, as it stands now, full capacity is the goal. The stadium can hold 61,500 people.
Soldier Field COVID rules in 2021
The Bears are one of 30 teams who have received clearance from the NFL to host fans at 100% capacity. Though, of course, state and local health and government officials would also need to give the thumbs up.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is optimistic about welcoming more fans back to stadiums in 2021.
“We do expect full stadiums. It’s very possible that some, particularly non-vaccinated personnel, may need to have a mask on. But those are the things we will continue to follow closely to make sure that we’re doing in accordance with all laws and regulations. (We want) to make sure we provide our fans the best possible experience as we come into the season.”
We will likely be tipped off about how the Bears will handle capacity limits based on what the Chicago baseball teams are doing.
Right now, the Cubs and White Sox are hosting fans at 60% capacity. But it’s only May, so it’s possible the capacity at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field can bump their numbers up to 100% in the coming months.
If that happens before September, it’s hard to imagine Soldier Field not following suit.
The NFL also hopes that fans will be able to attend training camps in most cities. The Bears recently moved their training camp operation from Bourbonnais to Lake Forest at their team headquarters.
Chicago Bears 2021 schedule
Hopefully, there will be at least nine chances for Bears fans to attend a home game this season, counting the preseason. And if Chicago can make the playoffs, perhaps more.
Here is the complete 2021 schedule:
- Week 1: Aug. 14 vs. Miami Dolphins
- Week 2: Aug. 21 at Buffalo Bills
- Week 3: Aug. 28 at Tennessee Titans
|Week 1||7:20 p.m.||Sunday Night Football, Sept. 12||at LA Rams||L 34-14||NBC-5|
|Week 2||Noon||Sunday, Sept. 19||Bengals||W 20-17||Fox-32|
|Week 3||Noon||Sunday, Sept. 26||at Browns||L 26-6||Fox-32|
|Week 4||Noon||Sunday, Oct. 3||Lions||W 24-14||Fox-32|
|Week 5||3:05 p.m.||Sunday, Oct. 10||at Raiders||W 20-9||CBS-2|
|Week 6||Noon||Sunday, Oct. 17||Packers||L 24-14||Fox-32|
|Week 7||3:25 p.m.||Sunday, Oct. 24||at Buccaneers||L 38-3||CBS-2|
|Week 8||Noon||Sunday, Oct. 31||49ers||L 33-22||Fox-32|
|Week 9||7:15 p.m.||Monday, Nov. 8||at Steelers||L 29-27||ESPN|
|Week 10||Bye week|
|Week 11||Noon||Sunday, Nov. 21||Ravens||CBS-2|
|Week 12||11:30 a.m.||Thanksgiving Day||at Lions||Fox-32|
|Week 13||Noon||Sunday, Dec. 5||Cardinals||Fox-32|
|Week 15||7:20 p.m.||Sunday, Dec. 12||at Packers||NBC-5|
|Week 16||3:05 p.m.||Sunday, Dec. 26||at Seahawks||Fox-32|
|Week 17||Noon||Sunday, Jan. 2||Giants||CBS-2|
|Week 18||Noon||Sunday, Jan. 9||at Vikings||Fox-32|
The Bears went 3-5 at Soldier Field last season without fans in attendance. Chicago typically has one of the best home-field advantages in the league, and perhaps that will propel them to more wins in 2021.
When can Bears fans watch Justin Fields in person?
No. 11 overall pick Justin Fields has inspired hope in a Bears fanbase that desperately needed it. Now the question is, when will he play?
General manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy said Andy Dalton would be the Week 1 starter. But there is plenty of time between now and the start of the season, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Fields starts in Week 1.
While those odds for Fields aren’t great, it’s easy to see Nagy inserting him for Week 4 at home against the Lions. The Bears have a difficult schedule overall, but that could be a nice spot for the rookie.
The Rams are 7-point favorites over the Bears.