Like most NFL cities, attending games is a huge event. It’s even more of a big deal in the Midwest, where football games are a way of life.
The Chicago Bears are the most-watched team in one of the biggest cities in the United States, and there will be no fans in Soldier Field to start this season.
The Bears announced on Monday night that after plenty of effort this summer to figure out a way to let crowds into Soldier Field, the decision was made that no fans will be allowed in. For now.
Bears: No fans for now
The Bears’ announcement came at an odd time, at about 6:30 p.m. local time on a Monday. The team announced that health metrics showed “it is not the right time to welcome back fans to Soldier Field.” That decision was made after the Bears, Soldier Field’s management partner, the Chicago Park District and public health officials discussed a potential plan. City health officials, the Bears and the city of Chicago came to the decision, citing the “health and safety of the city’s residents and fans of the Bears.”
Chicago Bears statement on fans at Soldier Field: pic.twitter.com/uaUSxQJipx
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 17, 2020
“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. 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 right 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 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.”
It has seemed for a while that announcement would be coming, but it still has to be a big disappointment for all Bears fans.
Perhaps Bears fans will be allowed in soon
NFL teams are working through whether fans will be allowed in stadiums and what the attendance will look like around COVID-19 restrictions.
As with everything else, things can change. That’s why other teams have addressed only the first game or two in their announcements on fans. There was optimism in the Bears’ announcement that there can be a plan that allows fans into games soon.
That won’t happen until it’s “safe and appropriate,” the team said. Not being able to go to Bears home games will make the winter a little colder there.
More from Yahoo Sports: