It's official: the Bears won't have fans at Soldier Field for the start of the 2020 season.
On Monday afternoon, the team tweeted out this statement:
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 safely be developed to 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 that the health metrics show 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 the City will continue to monitor the environment and believe that there can be a sound plan in place to bring back fans to Soldier Field once it is deemed safe and appropriate. Until then, Bears games will not include in-person fans.
It's not an especially surprising ruling, and the Bears are one of a few teams who have already announced that there won't be fans for the start of 2020. Not all NFL teams will play in front of empty stadiums, though, as some have already outlined specific plans for having fans in seats this fall:
In the city of Chicago's reopening plan, fan attendance at sporting events comes in the 5th – and last – phase. While the city is currently in Stage 4, they can only move ahead with the widespread acquisition and application of a vaccine or therapeutic treatment for COVID-19. Earlier in the summer, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker expressed doubt over even small amounts of fan attendance: