After a fan-less 2020 season, the home of the New England Patriots soon will reopen its doors to spectators.
In a news conference Thursday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced the state’s large-capacity venues will be permitted to host a limited number of fans beginning March 22.
Attendance at these venues initially will be capped at 12 percent, meaning 65,878-seat Gillette Stadium — which houses the Patriots and New England Revolution — likely will be allowed to host 7,905 fans per game.
Following Baker’s announcement, Gillette Stadium officials said in a statement they “look forward to welcoming fans back home to Gillette Stadium this spring.”
Here is the full statement:
“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.”
The Patriots were one of nine NFL teams that did not allow fans at any home games this past season, joining the New York Jets, New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
The NFL has yet to announce whether it plans to play a 2021 preseason. The 2021 regular-season schedule will be released in April or May.