Hope for Patriots Fans? Mass. Officials Not Ruling Out Allowing Fans at Home Games This Year

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said Thursday that "we would be willing to look at the opportunity in the future depending on what the circumstances are"

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Massachusetts officials are not ruling out the possibility of fans at Gillette Stadium for New England Patriots games, they said Thursday.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who heads up the state's Reopening Advisory Board, said fans could be allowed to Gillette later in the football season depending on whether the spread of the coronavirus has slowed.

"We are not allowing fans through September, but we would be willing to look at the opportunity in the future depending on what the circumstances are. But there are a lot of factors that go into that," she said. "We're very pleased to see live games. It's really fun to see the Bruins and Celtics play yesterday, and I've heard from a lot of people that it really seems normal to see a game you don't know the ending to. Having fans in the stands is a whole different game, and we'll continue to monitor that."

Officials at Gillette Stadium said Tuesday that they were told by the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board that fans won't be allowed inside in September, which affects the home games on Sept. 13, the home opener, and Sept. 27.

The ban on fans applies as well to the home games on the New England Revolution's schedule, on Aug. 20, Aug. 29 and Sept. 2, according to a news release sent by the Patriots.

New England Patriots fans will all be watching games at home for at least the start of this football season because of the coronavirus, while Boston Red Sox fans won't get a chance to watch the team in person at all this year.

Additionally, Fenway Park will be closed to fans for the remainder of the 2020 season, the Red Sox said in a statement.

Officials at Gillette had previously targeted filling the stadium to up to 20% capacity. They said Tuesday they are confident in the plan they've drawn up, in consultation with many stakeholders and experts, and will continue preparing should fans be allowed later on this fall.

"Gillette Stadium fully supports the state’s position and this decision in the interest of public safety. We would have welcomed the opportunity to host fans in August and September, but are hopeful to do so later in the season," read the statement from Gillette Stadium officials.

Professional sports got the go-ahead to host games in Massachusetts in early July, provided the teams coordinate with their leagues, but with the understanding, at least at the start, that games wouldn't include fans in the stands.

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