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.
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.
Additionally, Fenway Park will be closed to fans for the remainder of the 2020 season, the Red Sox said in a statement first reported by The Boston Sports Journal.
"We have been informed by Lt. Gov. Polito that the State is not yet in a position to allow fans to return to Fenway, at least through the month of September. While we were hopeful fans would be able to return to Fenway at some point this season, we agree that now is not the right time, given the state of the virus around the country," the Sox said.
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.
Gov. Charlie Baker was asked at a news conference earlier Tuesday about whether Patriots fans would get to go to games.
“We’ve had conversations with them and with the Red Sox and we’ve basically said, ‘Look, we’re focused at this point on schools and wouldn’t plan to do anything with respect anything like that until we get much farther into the fall,’” Baker said.
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.