Chicago Bulls: Protocols sent to teams for having fans in the stands

United Center, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
United Center, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls could soon have an initial set of protocols in place for having fans back in the stands next season at the United Center.

As it pertains particularly to fans around the NBA, the news dropped on the early afternoon of Nov. 11 what we should expect for any potential home games next season. For the Chicago Bulls in particular, a return of fans in some altered capacity back at the United Center would be the first time that’s happened since mid-March.

The protocols that the NBA office sent out to the 30 teams around the league this week also had some details released to the public. And the details in these protocols, in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic that rages on around the country right now, were very specific.

A few of the more notable takeaways from the protocols that were released included the requirement of people within 30 feet of the court to register a negative COVID-19 test at least “two days prior to the game or rapid test on the day of the game”. That’s very detailed and the most specific of any requirement so far to be released among the four major professional sports leagues.

A lot of the rest of the requirements for home games depend on local testing capabilities or the county’s positivity rate on a seven-day moving average per 100,000 residents.

Also all fans will be required to wear masks, outside of those two years old and younger. The fans will also be required to “socially distance and undergo symptom surveys”. There are also significant alterations to the food and beverage requirements for those sitting within 30 feet of the court.

As previously mentioned, these requirements are more specific than any other of the major four professional sports leagues in North America have released to date. The MLB first had fans return to games this year in the World Series, held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX. And the NHL didn’t have any fans from the general public in attendance in their two city bubble system to finish out last season north of the border.

The only other of the major professional sports leagues to have fans return to the stands is the NFL.

You can find the protocols that the NFL released for having fans in the stands at their home games this year, thanks to here. The NFL currently has less specific requirements tailored to their home games this season. They look to be following closer to CDC requirements as they continue to update.

The NBA currently has a planned start date for the 2020-21 regular season of Dec. 22, and Training Camp beginning in just a few weeks on Dec. 1. That would mean that the Bulls can potentially return to meaningful game action this calendar year for the first time since mid-March, when they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers at home (specifically back on March 10).

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The Bulls finished up the 2019-20 regular season with a record of 22-43 under the direction of former head coach Jim Boylen, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. The next significant event for them this offseason will be the night of the 2020 NBA Draft, set to take place on Nov. 18.