What to know ahead of Bears home opener at Soldier Field Sunday

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What to know ahead of Bears home opener at Soldier Field originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Whether you're going to Soldier Field, watching from home or just going to be in Chicago this weekend, there are some things you'll want to know ahead of the Chicago Bears home opener at Soldier Field.

Here's a breakdown:

What time is the Bears game?

The Bears-Bengals game is set for noon on Sunday.

What channel is it on?

The game will be televised on Fox and listeners on the radio can tune into WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM.

Fans who are in the broadcast area can watch the game live and for free via ChicagoBears.com or the Chicago Bears Official App.

Football Aftershow with David Kaplan, Alex Brown, Lance Briggs and Olin Kreutz will discuss the game on NBC Sports Chicago immediately after the game ends.

How should I get there?

For those going to the game, parking lots open at 8 a.m. and gates open at 10 a.m. 

If you're driving, city officials are warning about major traffic impacts from multiple large events this weekend and the potential for street closures.

Due to Mexican Independence Day celebrations, residents can expect increased traffic in the Central Business District and on DuSable Lake Shore Drive this weekend, officials warned.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Metra are teaming up to help get fans to the game.

For those using the CTA, you'll want to take the #128 Soldier Field Express, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express or the Roosevelt station served by the Red, Green and Orange Lines.

For those coming in from the suburbs, six Metra lines will take you to either Chicago’s Union Station or Ogilvie Transportation Center, where the CTA's #128 Soldier Field Express offers express bus service to Soldier Field. The Metra Electric Line’s Museum Campus/11th Street Station is also located adjacent to Soldier Field. According to Metra, the rail agency will be providing extra service on that line on game days.

Metra lines that connect to either Union Station or Ogilvie include:

Union Station:

  • BNSF Railway

  • Milwaukee North

  • Milwaukee West

Ogilvie Transportation Center:

  • Union Pacific North

  • Union Pacific Northwest

  • Union Pacific West

COVID protocols like masking remain in place across all public transit.

What are the COVID Protocols at Soldier Field?

Fans are strongly encouraged to arrive at and enter Soldier Field early.

  • Ticketing continues to be mobile-only.

  • Per guidance from the CDC and based on Chicago’s current local COVID-19 data, the Chicago Department of Public Health is requiring that everyone age 2 or older, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in public indoor settings. The requirement allows masks to be removed while patrons are actively eating or drinking.

    • Some fan areas considered indoors at Soldier Field include the United Club, Miller Lite Midway, Pro Shop, North Garage, bathrooms, elevators and enclosed hallways. Once suite guests arrive to their suite, masking will be encouraged when not eating or drinking, but will not be required. Open-air concourse areas and the seating bowl are considered outside.

  • Masking remains optional in outdoor settings, though masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings.

  • Advocate Aurora Health and the Chicago Bears will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday in the Fan Zone located at the Stadium Green on the southeast side of Soldier Field. No game ticket is required to receive the vaccine.

Anything else I should know about?

The Bears are warning fans that staffing shortages could lead to long concession lines.

"Like many service industries, our concessionaire is currently experiencing a shortage in their labor force. We ask that fans remain patient," the team said.

Lee Twarling, senior vice president of sales for the Chicago Bears, urged fans to keep that in mind and know that employees are "doing the best job they can."

"The labor struggles are definitely real," he told NBC Chicago Friday. "The staffing has been a challenge."

Fans will also want to remember the stadium's "clear bag policy":

Approved bags are limited to:

  • Bags that are clear plastic and do not exceed 12"x6"x12"

  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar)

  • Small clutch bags, no larger than 4.5”x6.5”, with or without a handle or strap, may be carried into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.

"What to Know Ahead of the Chicago Bears Home Opener at Soldier Field Sunday" originally appeared on NBCChicago.com.

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