Boston sports venues will start to look and feel a little more normal in the coming weeks, with a return to pre-pandemic attendance levels possible by the summer.
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker provided a COVID-19 update Tuesday, which included a plan to ease capacity restrictions for large venues, such as TD Garden, Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park.
These large venues currently are restricted to 12 percent of capacity for games. This figure will be increased to 25 percent capacity beginning May 10.
This means the Boston Celtics could play the Miami Heat with around 4,500 fans on May 11. It's the final regular season home game for the Celtics. The Boston Bruins' final regular season game is May 10 against the New York Islanders.
So, both the Celtics and Bruins should both play one regular season matchup with the increased capacity at TD Garden before their respective playoffs begin.
The biggest date is Aug. 1, though. This is when large sports arenas and other venues/businesses can operate at full capacity.
Full capacity by Aug. 1 means the New England Patriots will play their entire nine-game regular season home schedule at Gillette Stadium in front of a packed house. This is great for many reasons, especially with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scheduled to play the Patriots in Foxboro during the upcoming NFL season.
The Boston Red Sox also will be able to host a full Fenway Park in August as the playoff races in Major League Baseball heat up. It also means any October playoff games at Fenway Park would be at full capacity.
The COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing, but it's encouraging to see these steps being taken as Massachusetts and the rest of the world eases back to normal.