City Not Yet Opening Stadiums For Limited Capacity

By 670 The Score
(670 The Score) The state of Illinois will permit attendance of up to 20% capacity for outdoor stadiums and venues as part of Governor J.B. Pritzker's fourth phase of reopening, but the city of Chicago won't allow that just yet, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.

"Unfortunately, because of where we are in the arc of the virus, industries that require very large gatherings such as spectator sports and conventions will at this time remain closed in the city of Chicago," Lightfoot said in a press conference detailing the city's fourth phase. 

The new guidelines for Illinois' fourth phase of its coronavirus reopening plan will affect venues such as Northwestern's Ryan Field, Illinois' Memorial Stadium and Northern Illinois' Huskie Stadium -- but not yet Chicago venues such as Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field and Soldier Field. Indoor venues such as the United Center will remain closed to fans for the entire state.

Lightfoot didn't specify whether Chicago venues could welcome crowds at a later date in the fourth phase. She did add that plans within the phase can change, though it wasn't clear if that pertains to stadium sporting events.

"My hope is that over time, we will get to a place where we can start to see some fans in the seats at stadiums and other venues," Lightfoot said.

"Right now that means in the short term reopening but without fans actually physically present."

Minimum guidelines set by the state of Illinois will require spectators to wear face coverings throughout the venues, except while seated at least six feet apart from others outside of their individual parties/groups. Each venue is required to design plans for social distancing and to designate employees to monitor capacity limits and social distancing. Tailgating won't be allowed.

With a capacity capped at 20%, Wrigley Field would be allowed to welcome in 8,329 fans, Guaranteed Rate Field would be capped at 8,123 and Soldier Field at 12,300.

Illinois can't move into the fifth phase of the governor's plan until either "a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern or there are no new cases over a sustained period."

Illinois is scheduled to start the fourth phase this Friday, with Chicago also moving forward with many aspects of that plan.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.