The NBA's Chicago Bulls and NHL's Chicago Blackhawks are taking the "better late than never" path of reintroducing paid fans to the United Center in a recently published article on MSN News.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the two groups revealed that they had been granted permission to welcome fans at 25 capacity starting with the Bulls' game against the Boston Celtics on May 7. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks will have to wait for their May 9 home game against the Dallas Stars.
Beginning this Saturday, the clubs will welcome family members and other invited visitors to try new crowd-control strategies in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But no details yet have been provided as to how the COVID-19 testing will be done, according to Yardbarker.
Some Measures to Prevent COVID-19 at the United Center
The Bulls and Blackhawks will need fans to answer pre-arrival health screening questions and use only smartphone tickets for admission, as other teams have done in 2021. Tickets will be sold in pods of two or four seats, with enough room between them to allow for social distancing.
Throughout the rest of the 2020-21 seasons, the United Center will go cashless for concessions and store sales. According to a report in Daily Herald, all visitors over the age of two will be forced to wear masks over their noses and mouths while not vigorously eating and/or drinking inside the venue.
Fans will be introduced gradually to all clubs. Beginning with Saturday's game against Florida, the Hawks will host a few hundred team-invited guests and players' families. Only those who are invited are allowed to enter the United Center.
Hawks Coach Released a Statement
Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said, "I think it's great. Obviously, that extra energy will really help our guys. The impact they have at the United Center, it's well known across the league and we want to get back to it."
He also added that this is good news because this boosts the morale of the players. Further, the Hawks is the last NHL team based in the United States to allow fans back at the United Center.
Hawks defenseman Connor Murphy also released a statement and said, "It'll be exciting for guys new on the team who have known playing here (to see) what it's like and the adrenaline you get from the crowd and anthem."
He added this would make the games more exciting, especially for the rookies who will play with the fans' presence for the first time since the restrictions were implemented.
Meanwhile, there are no updates on how the players and other essential persons will be tested, as fans will be allowed at the United Center in the upcoming days. It is also important to note that bags are not allowed except for medical and diaper bags.
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