Professional and Collegiate Sports, Reliant Businesses Feel Impact of COVID Spike

The New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins, as well as multiple college sports teams, have had their rosters depleted or their schedules upended by rising COVID-19 cases

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The Patriots, Celtics and Bruins are all being impacted by COVID-19 at the same time.

The pandemic is affecting sports at the collegiate level, too. The Wasabi Fenway Bowl football game Wednesday has been canceled because too many players tested positive. The Boston College Eagles have pulled out of the Military Bowl for the same reason.

Harvard University also announced Tuesday that it's closing athletic events to the general public through late January. Only certain guests with proof of vaccination will be allowed in.

"Even with mask mandates, you still see it spreading indoors. Especially if sporting events are indoors, you want to make sure that you're mitigating the spread best you can," said incoming Harvard freshman Aditi Ambravan.

The COVID surge is upending schedules and depleting rosters.

Patriots stars Matthew Judon and Ja'Whaun Bentley are on the COVID reserve list, but they could return this weekend for a key game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is the latest Celtic on COVID protocols.

The Boston Bruins have had multiple games postponed because several players tested positive, and because of the league-wide COVID shutdown that came to an end Tuesday.

"We live and die by the Bruins, the events, the concerts," said Justino Pasquale, whose family owns Halftime Pizza on Causeway Street, which just reopened after being closed for nearly two years because of the pandemic.

Every game at the TD Garden and every crowd matters for the bottom line.

"We look at ourselves as the big pregame spot, and even after the game, people want to have a slice on their way back to the train, to the car, so even after the game, we get a nice little rush, as well," said Pasquale.

While the Bruins are practicing again, Wednesday's game is yet another no-go.

"With COVID postponements, and tack that onto injuries and guys getting called up from Providence, to find something that works, it's completely damaging to a team that's still struggling for an identity," said Carter Hochman, a hockey writer for the popular Black N' Gold hockey podcast and website.

He says the adversity could impact the team as it makes a run at the playoffs.

"They just need to start out of the postponement hot," said Hochman. "And they need to find a rhythm quickly, because otherwise, you're starting to get to the point in the season where you can't afford too many losses."

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