CHICAGO (CBS) — Those vaccinated against COVID-19 now have good chance of getting into a ballpark and possibly get in for free at Six Flags now that the state’s “Bridge Phase” of COVID restrictions gets underway on Friday.Chicago Weather: Showers Wednesday Afternoon, Night
Governor JB Pritzker said there have been capacity limits across the state since the start of the pandemic, but this is the largest capacity limit increase to date.
“(When) we got to Phase Four it’s about 50% for most things, but it’s mostly 50%, in many of the crowded kind of locations including retail or bars and restaurants and so on,” Pritzker said. “This will increase for many of them to 60% for this next phase. But also weddings will increase in the number of people meant much more than, from 50 to 60%, other kinds of outdoor gatherings.”
The governor said 28 days from Friday, the state will be able to get into the final phase, Phase 5, which will remove all COVID restrictions.
Starting Friday, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox can increase capacity limits to 60%. At Wrigley Field, that will go into effect when the Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds on May 28.
For the Sox, the 60% capacity limit at Guaranteed Rate Field will begin Monday, May 24 when the Sox host the St. Louis Cardinals.
There will be special sections in both ballparks for people who’ve been vaccinated starting next week.
According to the Cubs, “a designated area specifically for fully vaccinated fans” will be available when the team hosts a four-game series against the Washington Nationals May 17-20 only.”
It’ll be the upper section of the center field Budweiser Bleachers. It’ll be sold at full capacity and seats will not be physically distanced.
Single game tickets located in this area will go on sale Thursday May 13, at 3 p.m. All tickets in that section will be $20 plus taxes and fees.
Fans will be required to present proof of vaccination and a photo ID.
Single game tickets for the May 28-June 2 games will go on sale next week, on Tuesday, May 18, at 10 a.m.
On the South Side, there will be two “vaccinated-only sections” for four games starting weekend. Beginning with Game one of the doubleheader against Kansas City on Friday, May 14 at 2:10 p.m.
Fans who purchase tickets in the designated vaccinated-only sections located in Sections 108-109 will show their vaccination cards or other proof that they have been fully vaccinated along with a photo ID as they enter the ballpark.READ MORE: Thieves Steal Your Identity To Get Rental Cars, And You Get Stuck With The Bills
Those sections won’t physical distancing. Tickets located in the vaccinated-only sections this weekend will be available for purchase at whitesox.com today, Thursday at 3 p.m.
Another COVID vaccine incentive: Every fan who gets vaccinated before a game will get a $25 White Sox gift card to use inside the ballpark.
Tickets for games at Guaranteed Rate Field starting on May 24 through June 16 will be offered in seating pods with an open seat between pods within the same row.
North of Chicago, Six Flags is offering 50,000 free tickets to the parks in Gurnee and Rockford.
“I know it’s been a difficult year, but that just makes it all the more exciting to be back at the park,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to the life-saving power of vaccinations, it feels once again like summer’s in the air.”
According to the governor, Illinois National Guard mobile vaccination teams will be at the Gurnee park starting the first weekend in June, Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th.
If turnout is high to get the shot, the teams will return to offer the vaccine. According to Six Flags, the value of the donated tickets is $4 million. Pritzker said free park tickets will be a good incentive to get more people vaccinated.
“I think that there are people who, hearing that, there’s an incentive knowing that it’s easy to get vaccinated at a place like this or somewhere near where you live. Those are things that there are an awful lot of people out there that just haven’t had time,” Pritzker said. “Or they haven’t had a that extra little push to go get it done and we’re so far along we have more than 60% of our adult population vaccinated.”
A number of tickets will be distributed through local health departments to use ” in the way that will best work in their community.”
The governor said the Vaccine Corps Partnership incubated at Michael Reese Health Trust will deploy tickets as a part of their hyper-local vaccine education campaign. The organization works with community-led organizations to build trust in the vaccine, primarily in the city of Chicago and Cook County. More on the partnership is on their website.
Illinois is averaging 2,047 new cases per day so far this month, a 35% decline from the same time period in April.
Illinois is averaging 1,947 hospitalizations per day so far in May, a 7% decline from mid-April, but still up 13% from the start of April.
Vaccinations are still lagging far behind the April peak, with Illinois averaging 76,082 vaccinations per day over the past week, down 43% from the peak on April 12.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Another Mild Day
A total of 4,656,004 people in Illinois have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 36.54% of the population.