Sports arenas

The Day – Boston sports arenas to open for fans on March 22

Boston – Paperless ticket office. Order of mobile concessions. Physically distanced seat pods. Designated “quarters”.

Boston sports teams are gearing up for a limited number of fans to resume games starting next month, and things are going to be different. Governor Charlie Baker announced on Thursday that Fenway Park, TD Garden and Gillette Stadium could open up to 12% of their capacity from March 22 – allowing fans to see professional sporting events in person in the state for the first time. times for over a year.

“I’m sure there will be a large American flag hanging from the green monster in left field” on opening day at Fenway Park, Baker said at a press conference in Salem. “Beyond that, I have no idea.”

The Red Sox played a cut short season last year in an empty stadium, with Major League Baseball only opening up limited playoff capacity to fans. The Bruins and Celtics shut down when the pandemic hit the United States in March and resumed over the summer in distant bubbles established by their leagues. The Patriots have also played in an empty home stadium, although a few road games have had limited capacity.

The Bruins and Celtics started their 2020-21 seasons months late and without fans. Now, as Baker moves the state into Phase IV of the coronavirus reopening plan, teams prepare to reopen.

The TD Garden could accommodate approximately 2,000 spectators for NHL and NBA games, and the Red Sox could accommodate approximately 4,500 fans at Fenway. All three teams have released statements stressing that they can safely accommodate fans.

“An incredible amount of work and collaboration has taken place over the past year in preparation for the fans’ return to TD Garden,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement detailing the plans.

“The processes and protocols that have been put in place are structured to ensure the safety, well-being and enjoyment of our supporters. We are delighted to welcome back the best hockey fans to the TD Garden because we have missed their energy and enthusiasm. . “

The Bruins were scheduled to play in front of a crowd for the first time in nearly a year on Friday night when Madison Square Garden opens to fans for the Boston game against the New York Rangers. Capacity will be limited to 10% of normal, or approximately 1,800 fans.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said it would be a different kind of weird.

“When the building is empty, you have come to accept that it is empty,” he said. “Now that you sprinkle a few people, will it be weirder because you’re used to a full building?” “

But having returning fans is a good step, he said.

“This part, yes, is positive,” he said. “And I would like that to happen again everywhere, if possible.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora will also be happy to say goodbye to empty stadiums when the team opens at Fenway on April 1. Among other things, the families of the players will be able to see them play in person for the first time since 2019.

“It was weird, and obviously where we are with the virus, having fans is great,” he said. “Things are going in the right direction.… And then, hopefully, whenever we can, we’ll have a full house. And that will be really, really special.”

Plans to reopen are complicated by the fact that Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park are used as sites for mass vaccination. Baker said he doesn’t know what will happen when the sites resume their normal functions.

The Red Sox have said they will continue to provide space for vaccinations.

“The Red Sox are fully committed to supporting the state’s vaccination program and expect Fenway Park to continue to function as a mass vaccination site beyond the start of the regular season,” said the ‘team in a statement.

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