Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said earlier this week that the state is on track to begin Phase 5 on Friday, June 11. This final phase of reopening lifts all capacity restrictions on sporting venues, which should have all Chicago sports fans smiling.
Currently, the Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Chicago Red Stars and Chicago Sky can welcome fans at 60% capacity.
Which Chicago sports stadium will be at 100% capacity?
The following Chicago-area stadiums could expand to their full-capacity numbers in Phase 5:
- Guaranteed Rate Field: 40,615
- Wintrust Arena: 10,387
- Wrigley Field: 41,649
- SeatGeek Stadium: 28,000
However, the city of Chicago also needs to move to Phase 5 for that to happen.
On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a tweet that she plans to follow Pritzker’s lead, fully reopening Chicago on June 11:
“Because you’ve masked up, socially distanced and got vaccinated, we’re now moving to Phase 5 on Friday, June 11, in alignment with the state. This means Chicago is scheduled to fully reopen.”
With that said, don’t expect Chicago teams to be immediately selling tickets at full capacity once June 11 arrives.
Still, this is great news for fans and the franchises alike. It is feasible that Chicago sports venues will be open at full capacity by July.
How about the Chicago Bears, Illinois college football teams?
The Chicago Bears did not have an audience last season. In 2021, the NFL team aims to fill Soldier Field with fans starting in September.
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.”
The same goes for college football teams, such as Northwestern, Illinois, Northern Illinois, etc.
What about masks?
As for mask rules, Chicago stadiums, such as Wrigley Field, are following the latest CDC guidelines, which say that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear face masks. For what it’s worth, stadiums aren’t checking for proof of vaccination.
Obviously, social distancing isn’t possible with full capacity, though, not every game is going to sell out.
Given that the football season is still a few months away, it seems likely that the same guidelines will be in place. Speaking of fall …
… You may be able to bet on Illinois college teams, but …
Last week, the Illinois House passed a bill that would legalize betting on in-state college teams.
However, it does so in a limited fashion. Bets on in-state universities must occur at a casino, racetrack or off-track-betting site. Live betting and player props would not be allowed.
The Senate did not discuss the bill at their final hearing of the session. However, the expectation is it will pass in time for college football season. SB 521 passed by a 96-11 count in the House, so there appears to be overwhelming support.
Right now, casinos in the state are operating at 60% capacity. Illinois casinos have experienced closures or limited operations since March 2020.