The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications today announced the public safety measures that will be in place for the 2019 Kickoff Experience presented by EA Sports Madden NFL ’20 in Grant Park on Thursday, September 5.
"We are excited to partner with the NFL to host the first-ever Kickoff Experience in Chicago to mark the start of the regular season and the 100th anniversary of the NFL – there’s no better game to highlight the occasion than the Bears-Packers rivalry that goes back to the very first season,” said Rich Guidice, Executive Director of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). “While residents and fans enjoy the festivities, the City and NFL have coordinated our public safety planning to ensure a positive and memorable experience for everyone.”
Gates open at noon for the day-long event, which will include main stage programming, a headlining concert and culminates with the NFL Kickoff Watch Party featuring the Bears-Packer game on 17-foot screens. The event is free and open to the public, rain or shine. Access to the general public viewing area is limited, and will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis.
Activities will start at noon and include: photo opportunities with the Super Bowl trophy and all 53 Super Bowl rings, NFL Combine drills, Mini Madden NFL ‘20 tournament, live music and appearances by the Chicago Bears Drumline brought by The Pride Stores and Monster Squad brought by Planters. Bears alumni will sign autographs throughout the day: Jim McMahon (2 p.m. -3:30 p.m.), Matt Forte (4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.) and Charles Tillman (6 p.m. -7:30 p.m.). For more information, visit www.NFL.com/KickoffExperience.
KICKOFF EXPERIENCE AND GAME DAY REMINDERS
Security and Enforcement: Public safety is the City’s top priority. Several security measures have been implemented for the Kickoff Experience’s security plan, which includes elements that are seen and unseen, in addition to an enhanced security and law enforcement presence inside and outside the Kickoff Experience. In addition, several safety measures are in effect for the safety of everyone entering the event. Attendees are reminded that if they see something suspicious to say something to on-site security personnel or call 9-1-1.
• Kickoff Experience Entry: Upon entry to the Kickoff Experience, event security will be searching all bags, administering magnetometer screening and handheld metal detectors. All items carried by guests will be subject to x-ray/bag search.
• Soldier Field Entry: Gates open to fans at 5:20 p.m. Kickoff is at 7:20 p.m. In an effort to improve fan entry on game days, 17 magnetometers have been added to various gates to help fans enter in a safe, but quick manner. Additionally, Gates 1 and 2 have been added to the Gate 0 entry point to allow for more entry lines. Gate 7 is a new fan entrance this season and the Gate 8 ADA entrance has been renovated and expanded. All fans are encouraged to arrive early at Soldier Field gates to cut down on wait times as they enter the stadium.
Bag Policy: Consistent with NFL games, the NFL strongly encourages fans not to bring any type of bag to Grant Park; but if necessary, bags must not exceed 16’ x 16” x 6”. Exceptions may be made for medically necessary items after an inspection at the gate.
***NOTE: Fans leaving the Kickoff event to attend the Bears-Packers game at Soldier Field will be subject to the size and restrictions of the NFL’s clear bag policy.
Prohibited Items: A full list of prohibited items is available on the NFL One Pass app and the www.NFL.com/KickoffExperience page.
Traffic Impacts: Those traveling near Grant Park should allow extra time, expect delays and consider alternate routes to avoid the impacts of the event footprint.
The following street closures will be implemented for the event:
• East Ida B. Wells from Congress Plaza Drive to Columbus is currently closed until Sept. 7.
• Columbus Drive from Balbo to Jackson is closed Sept. 4 through the morning of Sept. 6.
• East Congress Plaza Drive from Harrison to Van Buren is closed until Sept. 6.
In addition to full road closures, intermittent lane reductions may be implemented to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.
Additionally, the Traffic Management Authority, in coordination with the Chicago Police Department, will facilitate vehicular and pedestrian traffic for the Kickoff event and Bears game.
Public Transportation: As always, public transportation is strongly encouraged if heading to the Kickoff Experience event and/or the Bears game. For more information on CTA services and reroutes, visit transitchicago.com or call (312) 836-7000/ (888) YOUR-CTA. For more information about Metra service in the area, visit metrarail.com or (312) 322-6777.
Rideshares, Taxi Cabs and Car Service:
• Kickoff Experience and game: Geofencing parameters will be in effect adjacent to the event for the safety of pedestrians and motorists. For those traveling to and from the event by rideshare, taxi or car service, drop offs/pick-ups will be prohibited between 14th Street to Wacker Drive and State Street to Lake Shore Drive. Rideshare drop-offs/pickups will be on Balbo and Monroe from Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive. Taxis will operate on Michigan Avenue from Roosevelt to Balbo.
The ADA entrance for the Kick-off Party is located on the east curb of Michigan Avenue at Congress Plaza Drive.
• Parking Restrictions: Motorists are strongly encouraged to pay attention to temporary "No Parking Zones" signage posted about parking restrictions that will be in effect along the Grant Park area for the Kickoff Experience and the game. As a reminder, parking is prohibited in the residential areas surrounding Soldier Field. The area is bordered by Roosevelt Road on the north, Cermak Road on the south, Lake Shore Drive on the east and Clark Street on the west. Violators are subject to ticketing and towing. For public safety and traffic flow, the towing of vehicles in posted “No Parking Zones” will be strictly enforced. Motorists can call 3-1-1 to locate a towed vehicle.
• Soldier Field Parking: For motorists heading to the game, Soldier Field parking lots will open at 3:20 p.m. on Sept. 5. Those parking in the North Garage are encouraged to arrive early to allow for vehicle screening. Due to street closures including Columbus Drive, fans should plan their trip to the stadium accordingly.
Medical Safety Resources: Emergency medical resources will be available at the event, and will work in coordination with the Chicago Fire Department.
Pole Locations: For public safety, attendees are reminded to be aware of the numbers attached to the poles throughout the Grant Park area to help them reference their location within the park to friends, family and first responders if there is an emergency.
Weather Shelters: Attendees should be aware of the emergency evacuation shelter sites located in the Grant Park North, Grant Park South and Millennium Lakeside Garages. The evacuation shelter sites can be accessed through the vehicle entrance on Michigan Avenue. Blue and white signage is posted to direct people to designated extreme weather shelters for extreme conditions such as lightning, tornadoes, hail storms or other weather events. In the event of a weather evacuation, all attendees should follow the instructions of public safety officials. Shelter locations will be opened only in cases of extreme weather to ensure the safety of event patrons. For a map of shelter locations and additional safety information, visit the NFL One Pass app on their smartphones or visit www.NFL.com/KickoffExperience.
OEMC Traffic and Weather Notifications: As with any large event in Chicago, OEMC will continue to monitor weather conditions and coordinate resources if needed. The public is encouraged to follow OEMC on Twitter via the handle @ChicagoOEMC or register for free emergency alerts at NotifyChicago.org. In case of emergency, attendees will also receive safety messages from the official NFL One Pass Mobile App, as well as real-time updates on event video screens and broadcasted audio announcements in the park.
For more information on the event, fans can visit the NFL One Pass app on their smartphones or visit www.NFL.com/KickoffExperience.
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