While the sports world continues to grapple with the impacts
of the coronavirus, the Chicago Bears announced Monday that the team will not
allow fans into the stands of Soldier Field when the NFL season begins.
In a statement released Monday, the team said that it had
discussed a potential plan to allow some fans to attend games, but that “now is
not the right time” to allow fans at the venerable stadium.
“The Chicago Bears, Soldier Field’s management partner, ASM
Global, the Chicago Park District and public health officials have worked together
to assess whether a responsible plan that follows city, state, CDC and NFL
guidelines could be developed to safely accommodate a limited number of fans at
Soldier Field this season,” the team said. “After discussing a draft plan with city
health officials, the Bears and the city of Chicago agreed the health metrics
show that it is not the time to welcome fans back to Soldier Field.
“The health and safety of the city’s residents and fans of the Bears will always take a priority. The team and city will continue to monitor the environment and believe there can be a sound plan in place to bring fans back to Soldier Field once it is deemed safe and appropriate. Until then, Bears home games will not include in-person fans,” the team added.
Several Chicago sports teams have explored potential options
to allow fans at games, including the Cubs and White Sox, but all have opted to
play without fans for the time being as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Coronavirus concerns have already led to the NFL postponing
all preseason games, with the Bears set to kickoff the regular season in
Detroit against the Lions on Sept. 13.
The team’s first home game is slated for Sept. 20, with the
New York Giants coming to town.