Will Blackhawks and Bulls fans be allowed to return to United Center this season? (LIVE UPDATES)Sun-Times staffon April 21, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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Lightfoot expects Blackhawks, Bulls fans will be allowed to return to United Center this season

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
The Bulls and Blackhawks each have seven regular-season home games on their schedules.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday she expects Bulls and Blackhawks fans will be allowed to watch home games at the United Center this season, barring a turn for the worse in COVID-19 cases.

“We feel like we might be plateauing and even, dare to dream, going down,” Lightfoot said of COVID-19 cases during an unrelated news conference. “Going down is the right time to have that conversation. So we’ll continue with that, and I expect before seasons end there will be fans in the United Center.”

The Bulls and Blackhawks each have seven regular-season home games on their schedules.

A limited number of fans have been able to attend home games for the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, but those fans are at a decreased risk of COVID-19 transmission because seats are in an open-air setting. Fans were allowed into Soldier Field to watch the Chicago Fire home opener on Saturday, too.

Read Mitch Dudek’s story here.


10:25 a.m. Budweiser giving away free beer with proof of COVID vaccination

Budweiser is the latest brand to raise awareness for the COVID-19 vaccines by offering free beer to those who get vaccinated.

The Anheuser-Busch beer brand has brought back its popular Budweiser Clydesdales and a puppy for the commercial called “Reunited with Buds,” which posted to YouTube Thursday and is scheduled to run on national television April 26, the company told USA TODAY.

Set to the tune of Queen’s hit “Don’t Stop Me Now,” the ad “celebrates our favorite bars as they start to reopen and reminds people to safely return to them once they have been vaccinated,” the company said.

To help encourage more to get vaccinated, there’s also a contest with 10,000 free beers up for grabs.

Now through May 16, or while supplies last, U.S. residents 21 and older can enter the “Reunite with Buds” giveaway at ABeerOnBud.com with proof of vaccination.

Read the full story here.

New cases and vaccination rates

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,587 new coronavirus cases diagnosed among 62,406 tests on Tuesday, decreasing the seven-day average statewide positivity rate to 3.8% — the first time that figure has fallen below 4% since April 6.
  • The numbers have now trended in the right direction for eight straight days, including in Chicago, where the regional positivity rate has inched down to 5.5% after more than a month of troubling increases.
  • Hospitals across the state are still feeling the effects of Illinois’ uptick, even if it is flattening out. COVID-19 patients took up 2,288 beds statewide Monday night, the highest number of admissions since the first week of February.
  • The state reported nine more coronavirus deaths Tuesday, including that of a Cook County woman in her 40s.
  • COVID-19 has killed at least 21,694 Illinoisans since March 2020, as more than 1.3 million residents have tested positive.

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