CHICAGO (CBS) — After playing without fans in the stands last year due to the pandemic, the Chicago Bears are preparing to return to full capacity at Soldier Field for the 2021 season.

“Your patience and loyalty over the past 15 months is appreciated. We are thankful and humbled by the unwavering passion you have shared with us. Once again, it’s time to enjoy Bears football in-person!” Bears President & CEO Ted Phillips wrote in a letter to season ticket holders.

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Fully vaccinated fans won’t have to wear masks at Soldier Field, but those who haven’t been vaccinated will be encouraged to wear masks.

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Hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the stadium, and officials will regularly deep clean and disinfect all high-touchpoint areas at Soldier Field, according to the letter.

Soldier Field also will use a new touchless entry process for the season, meaning fans won’t ave to remove phones and keys before going through metal detectors.

More details on public health guidelines for the season will be posted at

“The gameday experience will be everything you enjoyed in the past, plus more,” Phillips wrote. “From pregame tailgating to the activations and fan engagement opportunities around the stadium, we are committed to providing a fan-friendly, and family-friendly, day for everyone,” Phillips wrote.

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Last week, the city of Chicago and state of Illinois lifted all capacity limits that had been in place during the pandemic, allowing for full capacity at sports stadiums and other venues, along with all other businesses.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff