A little more than a month ago, the United Center in Chicago played host to the NBA All-Star game with some of the biggest names in sports strolling through the concourses. On Wednesday, the city announced it was repurposing the building and surrounding parking lots to become a distribution hub to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in the city.
United Center @UnitedCenter
Our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting front line food distribution, first responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies. For updated info, please visit: https://t.co/zqaVAtWV17 https://t.co/i88Yx34St5
"As Illinois goes through this together, the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, is proud to be playing a critical role with our city, state and federal response to the pandemic," United Center staff said in a statement. "Our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting front line food distribution, first responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies."
According to Mauricio Pena at Block Club Chicago, the United Center will become operational early next week.
Located on the city's west side, the building is less than a mile from Rush University Medical Center, the Respiratory Health Association and the Chicago Office of Emergency Management.
The state announced Wednesday that positive cases of COVID-19 have reached 1,865 in Illinois, with 19 deaths. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a "Stay at Home" order statewide through April 7 which is likely to be extended as cases continue to rise.
Both the Bulls and Blackhawks have already jointly agreed to pay the United Center's day-of-game employees through the remainder of the scheduled season.