United Center to require proof of COVID vaccine or negative COVID-19 test for all events

New entrance process affects those attending United Center concerts, Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks games

ByMichelle Gallardo, Eric Horng, and ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, September 3, 2021
United Center adds COVID vaccine requirement for attendees
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The United Center will require proof of a COVID vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test for all upcoming events.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- United Center announced Thursday it will require proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend all upcoming events at the venue.

"The United Center will require all event attendees, including fans at Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks games, to present proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain access to the arena," they announced in a new reslease.

The decision affects anyone attending concerts, Bulls or Blackhawks games or any other events at the UC.

"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," a news release said.

As with everything COVID-related, the new policy is already dividing opinions.

"I think it's extremely smart and wise, and I think all sports venues should follow their suit," said Renee Miller, lives in West Loop.

"We have many policies on the federal level that we are not to intervene, nor ask about people's medical or health history," said Milton Jones, who opposes the new requirements. "And that's something that you should not ask about."

"I'm pretty happy about it," said Bulls season ticket holder David Abels. "I want to be safe. I want my friends and family to be safe when they attend games this season."

But sports business consultant Marc Ganis said there may be early hiccups.

"It's very unlikely the lines are going to be long," he warned. "People should plan for that, almost like going through TSA at the airport."

The entrance process will go into effect for all future events and will remain in place until further notice.

RELATED: Lollapalooza gates open in Grant Park with vaccine policy, testing requirements in place

The first event to be impacted is a Tame Impala concert scheduled for next Tuesday. The band had already announced a similar requirement for all U.S. fans.

With a capacity of nearly 21,000 people, the UC becomes the largest Chicago-area venue to impose such a requirement, joining Broadway in Chicago, the Lyric Opera, and others.

"I think it's an excellent idea, particularly because it's an indoor venue and it's a large venue," said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. "And I think especially as we move into colder weather, these indoor settings, this is one of the most important ways that we can keep them as safe as possible."

As final NBA and NHL health and safety guidelines have yet to be announced, the protocols are still subject to change, and the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks may communicate additional details to their fans as the season approaches, the release said.

Additional investments have been made to increase air flow within the arena, as well.

According to the UC's statement, the requirements apply to all arena and team employees. But there is a caveat: team players, who as of now, are not being required by their respective leagues get vaccinated.