How ‘Chicago Fire’ Is Handling COVID-19: Love Scenes, Molly’s Changes and More

Making necessary changes. When Chicago Fire returns with season 9, it will look very much like the past seasons — with a few more masks, cocreator Derek Haas explained exclusively on this week’s “Watch With Us” podcast.

The conversations in the writer’s room — specifically with the show’s consultants and real-life firefighters — were mostly about what firehouses look like during the coronavirus pandemic.

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“When we go out and about, outside the firehouse, we’re wearing masks when we deal with the public — as opposed to inside the firehouse where we’ve found that’s just not what’s happening,” the showrunner said. “I think when you see the first episode, you’re gonna say, ‘OK, it didn’t feel like any different, other than there were people wearing masks in scenes that they probably wouldn’t have been before.’ We bring into the story line the fact that there’s no civilians in the bullpen like we’ve always had, which is true. Other than that, it’s going to feel current.”

How Chicago Fire Will Handle COVID 19 Eamonn Walker
Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden in the season 9 premiere of Chicago Fire. Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

Besides the firehouse, there is another location that will be impacted. Molly’s Bar — if it were real — would definitely not be able to be open during the virus. Luckily, they found a solution.

“In the first episode, we will be debuting Molly’s patio,” Haas revealed. “We thought of it back in June and we thought, even post-Covid, that’d be a fun set to have. … and of course, it’s Molly’s, so not everything’s going to go according to plan. It’s Hermann and Mouch!”

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Speaking of relationships, when it comes to romances, the producer admitted he’s “crazy nervous” about having people so close — but for now, love scenes are still happening.

How Chicago Fire Will Handle COVID 19
Christian Stolte, Jesse Spencer, Anthony Ferraris, Alberto Rosende, Taylor Kinney and Joe Minoso on Chicago Fire. Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC

“We are testing like crazy and we would never ask actors to do anything that they don’t feel comfortable with. That’s been our policy for nine years,” the writer told Us. “So, you’re gonna see romance scenes in the same way that we’ve always done them — so far. I’ll say that: So far. Then, if we ever have an issue, we’ll adjust accordingly. … We’re all figuring it out together, and I do trust my cast. I can’t say enough about how great our cast and crew are. So, fingers crossed. But you know, I’m nervous.”

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For more from Haas and even more exclusive TV interviews and news, subscribe to the “Watch With Us” podcast.

Chicago Fire returns on NBC Wednesday, November 11, at 9 p.m. ET.

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