On Thursday afternoon, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker formally announced plans to allow fans at all stadiums and arenas in the state beginning on March 22.
In his press conference, Baker said Massachusetts will first move back into Phase 3, Step 2 of its reopening plan on March 1st, then on March 22 will enter Step 4, Phase 1 and stadiums will be allowed to have crowds with a capacity restriction of 12%.
“These large venues employ a lot of people and many of them have been out of work for a very long time,” Baker said. “We’ve been watching how these venues perform in other states, and believe with the right safety measures in place they can operate responsibly and safely here in the Commonwealth as well.”
According to the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics schedules, the Bruins would be the first professional team eligible to host fans with a home game scheduled against the New York Islanders on March 23rd, while the Celtics first game with fans would occur March 29th against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Boston Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park is scheduled for April 1st.
Presently, Gillette Stadium has served as a vaccination site for the state since mid-January, but specifics for Patriots fans come training camp remains unknown at this time, but in a letter to season ticket holders this week, the team is “very optimistic that we will have fans in the stands and hopeful that we will be able to do so at full capacity.”
The Patriots and Gillette Stadium released the following statement regarding the Massachusetts transition to phase four.
“On a day that we reached a milestone by administering the 100,000th vaccination for COVID-19 at Gillette Stadium, we are thrilled to hear Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is officially transitioning to Phase IV beginning March 22, enabling large capacity venues throughout the state to host fans in 2021. This step represents the progress vaccinations are providing to minimize the risk of infection through herd immunity. It is an important step toward a return to normalcy for fans of the New England Revolution and New England Patriots and provides a sense of optimism for a much brighter future ahead.
“We know that the governor and his staff have worked tirelessly over the past year to create and administer a comprehensive plan to minimize the health impacts of COVID-19 in our communities. We worked closely with their reopening advisory board, the state’s large venue task force and many independent health experts beginning last summer to develop a detailed plan to reopen. As the region’s largest outdoor venue, we are confident in our ability to provide a safe and comfortable environment and look forward to welcoming fans back home to Gillette Stadium this spring.
“In an effort to provide the state additional resources to defend against the spread of the virus, Gillette Stadium opened as the first mass-vaccination site in the northeast and the largest venue in the Commonwealth. CIC Health is now administering more than 5,000 vaccinations daily at Gillette Stadium with plans to continue expanding its scope as additional quantities of vaccines are made available in the weeks ahead in concert with the state’s priorities.”
In response to the reopening plan, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman shared his reaction over Twitter.
“We’re back. 3/22. LFG.”, Edelman wrote alongside a photo himself as a Bruins banner captain during the 2019 Stanley Cup.
We’re back. 3/22. LFG. pic.twitter.com/LxwWRV5DG6
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) February 25, 2021
The Patriots were one of 14 NFL franchises to not allow fans at any point this past season, the last Gillette Stadium home game with a crowd was the Divisional Playoff matchup with Tennessee Titans on January 4th 2020.
Here’s hoping the mad dash for a view at Patriots training camp will one day be making its return.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Gillette Stadium Julian Edelman