Massachusetts is moving forward with its Coronavirus reopening plan, and Governor Charlie Baker announced on Thursday that Phase IV of this process will begin next month.
As part of this, the home of the New England Patriots will also soon be allowed to host fans again after a 2020 football season without any spectators present: large-capacity venues such as the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium will be permitted to host a limited number of fans starting March 22.
Attendance will initially be capped at 12 percent, meaning that the stadium will be allowed to fill 7,905 out of its 65,878 seats this spring. While this is of no immediate consequence to the Patriots, Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution — Gillette Stadium’s second occupants — will be impacted by this decision: the Revolution will kick off their season in mid-April and are now expected to have at least some fans in the stands.
Gillette Stadium officials released a statement about the impending reopening process shortly after Gov. Baker’s announcement:
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.
Just earlier this week, the Patriots sent a letter to season-ticket holders informing them that they would be “very optimistic that we will have fans in the stands and hopeful that we will be able to do so at full capacity.”