On Thursday, the United Center announced that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be required for anyone attending an event, including both Blackhawks and Bulls games, at the venue.
The new policy is effective immediately and extends to fans and all arena and team employees.
Here’s part of the statement from the United Center, as posted on the Blackhawks team website:
The decision to implement proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is representative of the continued commitment to providing the best environment for a safe return for all fans and employees. This new entrance process will go into effect for all future events and will remain in place until further notice.
As final NBA and NHL health and safety guidelines have yet to be announced, these protocols are still subject to potential league requirements, and the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks may communicate additional details to their fans as the season approaches.
The UC will accept digital or printed proof of a vaccination card or negative test upon arrival, including a photo of the original vaccine card, negative test or a digital vaccine card through the CLEAR app. Anyone younger than 12 not currently eligible for vaccines can provide proof of a negative test.
City and statewide mask mandates still apply inside the arena, as fans 2 years old and above will be required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth while not actively eating or drinking.
The Blackhawks were the last NHL team in the U.S. to allow fans in the building, doing so for the last two games of the 2021 season.
Virtually every county in Illinois is currently listed as having “high transmission” of COVID-19, according to this map from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Putnam County, just north of Peoria, is the lone exception with a current indicator of “substantial transmission.” Every county in Indiana is listed as high transmission and the vast majority of counties in Wisconsin as well, meaning the risk of transmission is increased in the three states.
The NBA and NHL have not finalized their respective health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, so guidelines for those games could be subject to change if the Bulls and/or Blackhawks impose additional requirements for fans.