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Chicago’s Not Playing: Sports Teams And Mayor Urge Chicagoans To Stay Home

Chicago's We Are Not Playing campaign brings together stars from the White Sox, Blackhawks, Bears and more to encourage Chicagoans to stay home.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Solider Field Monday.
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CHICAGO — The city’s most famous sports teams are banding together to get Chicagoans to stay home amid the pandemic.

The city and the teams launched the We Are Not Playing campaign on Monday. They’ll use their star athletes in billboards and on social media to spread the word that Chicagoans should stay home as much as possible to avoid spreading coronavirus.

The Bears, Blackhawks, White Sox, Cubs, Bulls, Fire, Sky and Red Stars are all part of the initiative.

“This crisis has changed almost everything, and particularly our sports,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a Monday press conference as she stood in an empty Soldier Field, home of the Bears. “Coming to these parks now would be dangerous and deadly to ourselves and our city.

“No matter how frustrating it may be at times, we all need to continue staying home and saving lives.”

Many of the teams have had to disrupt and postpone their seasons due to the virus. But, Lightfoot noted, they’re still supporting employees like vendors who would have been hard hit by the loss of income.

And now they’ve lended their stars to the We Are Not Playing campaign. Lightfoot showed clips of various athletes — including Jonathan Toews, captain of the Blackhawks — advising Chicagoans to stay home to save lives.

That will have an impact because athletes have cache with younger people, Lightfoot said.

“I remember back in the day thinking nothing could stop me, that I was invincible,” Lightfoot said. But the campaign has “credible messengers like sports athletes who can really reach sports fans but also young people, in particular.”

The city is trying to get as many people to stay home as possible. That’s the best way to slow the spread of coronavirus and prevent deaths, officials have said.


Coronavirus can be deadly, but the vast majority of cases have been mild. Those most at risk from the virus are people who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions.

Symptoms of coronavirus can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. People with no symptoms may have the virus and spread it to others.

The virus spreads between people through coughing and sneezing, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The most common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

People have also experienced body aches, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat, according to Harvard Medical School.

If you or someone else has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, become confused, cannot be roused or develop a bluish face or lips, get immediate medical attention, according to the CDC.

How To Protect Yourself

Here’s what you can actually do to prevent getting ill:

  • The CDC and other officials have said people should wash their hands often, including before, during and after eating; after using the bathroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    The CDC has a guide here for how to properly wash your hands. Remember: Wash with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, like cellphones and light switches. Here are tips from the CDC.
  • Stay home when you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you have to sneeze or cough with a tissue, throw it out immediately after using it, according to the CDC.

What To Do If You Think You’re Sick

Even if you’re not showing symptoms, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends people coming from high-risk countries (here’s a CDC list) self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.

If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary doctor or a health care facility before going in. Explain your symptoms and tell them if you’ve come into close contact with anyone with coronavirus or traveled to an area where COVID-19 is widespread (here’s a CDC list) within the last 14 days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

From there, the experts will work with your local health department to determine what to do and if you need to be tested for coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

And, of course, if you think you’re sick with coronavirus, don’t risk exposing other people to the virus. Anyone who feels unwell has been ordered to stay home or risk getting a $500 fine.

Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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