CHICAGO (CBS) — The United Center will welcome fans back for the first time in more than a year Friday night, when the Chicago Bulls host the Boston Celtics.
CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe details what fans can expect at the stadium.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: More Storms Possible This Weekend
The pandemic isn’t over yet, but this is one of those small signs here and there that things are getting better.
For the first time in more than a year, the Bulls will play in front of their home fans. The Bulls have said about 4,000 fans will be allowed inside to allow for social distancing measures inside the United Center.
Masks also will be required, and fans will have to fill out a health questionnaire online within 12 hours of arriving at the arena.
The United Center is not allowing bags or purses of any kind, except for medical purposes or diaper bags.
The Bulls have four home games remaining this season. The Chicago Blackhawks have two home games left, including Sunday night against the Dallas Stars, when they’ll host fans for the first time in more than a year.READ MORE: Boards Used To Protect Businesses During Last Summer's Unrest Now Painted And On Display At DuSable Museum Of African American History
The Blackhawks already have been eliminated from playoff contention, while the Bulls still have a small chance to make the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, sitting 3.5 games back of the 10th place Washington Wizards.
Meantime, the state is getting closer to fully reopening as COVID-19 cases continue to go down.
Gov. JB Pritzker has said the state will enter the so-called “Bridge Phase” of his reopening plan one week from Friday, on May 14.
It will allow for greater capacity limits at businesses, museums, zoos, and spectator events. People with proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated, or with a negative COVID-19 test one to three days before an event or public gathering will not count against capacity limits.
While seating capacity at restaurants and bars will remain at 50 percent, indoor recreation like gyms will increase from 50 to 60 percent of normal capacity. And social events like wedding receptions will increase from 50 to 250 people.MORE NEWS: Chicago Police Officer Owns Englewood Home That Was Location Of Deadly Mass Shooting
Barring another surge in cases or hospitalizations, the state could then fully reopen four weeks later on June 11, with no capacity limits on businesses or public gatherings.