CHICAGO (WLS) -- Fans will be welcomed back to the United Center Friday night, as Chicago and the state are taking their best shots at the return to normalcy amid the COVID pandemic.
The UC can host 25% of its capacity for Bulls and Blackhawks games. There is a Bulls game against the Boston Celtics Friday and a Blackhawks game against the Dallas Stars Sunday.
"Getting everyone back together, the madhouse on Madison, it's always good to be there in person, whether you are watching the Bulls or the Blackhawks," fan Jeremy Geneva said.
Many people are ready to get things moving and open up.
"I think it's time," Kyle O'Conner said. "I think people that are comfortable being out and about are out and about; they either have been vaccinated or they haven't, but they are comfortable with it, and if you are not comfortable with it, that's a decision you have to make for yourself."
Chicago's famous comedy club The Second City reopens for shows Friday night, too, with 25% capacity and socially distanced seating.
"We always love to have themes and this one is simple: human beings back in the theater having fun," said Jon Carr, Second City executive director. "Making people laugh. That's the theme."
Carr said his performers and patrons have been patient, and are ready to laugh again...now with more leg room!
"This is really an opportunity for our performers to get up and have fun with folks, and for our audience to come and remember what it is to get together and to laugh," he said.
Next door, Roots Handmade Pizza staff is looking forward to the customer bump Second City's reopening will bring.
"We're doing as much as we can to keep the safety level at its highest, even though we're trying to welcome everybody back and bring a little normalcy," said Sharon Chavez, Roots Handmade Pizza.
Expanding vaccinations across Illinois are part of the reason why the state now plans to move into the next phase of reopening a week from Friday.
The state is expected to enter the so-called "Bridge Reopening Phase" on May 14.
That means theaters can increase to 60% capacity, as can retail, fitness centers, museums and amusement parks.
Social events, including weddings, are allowed 250 people inside, and 500 outside.
And if the metrics stay positive, the state will fully reopen as soon as June 11.
"We are moving in the right direction; the number of cases is decreasing and the number of people getting vaccinated is increasing. So that's a great recipe," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois director of Public Health.
And to make it easier for people to get vaccinated, Gov. JB Pritzker announced shots will now be available at your local doctor's office: One thousand have already enrolled.
"This is about making it as easy as possible for those who have not yet gotten vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19," Pritzker said.