After playing in the NBA's Orlando bubble for the final stretch of last season, the Boston Celtics are set to return to TD Garden for home games in 2020-21.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, it'll be a while before the Garden operates at max capacity. However, there appears to be a chance we'll see a limited number of fans in attendance for Celtics games at some point this upcoming season.
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck discussed the possibility of fans attending games in 2021 during his appearance Tuesday on WEEI's “The Greg Hill Show.”
"We’re working closely, and with appreciation and respect, we’re working with the lieutenant governor and the governor’s office and the mayor and the Garden," Grousbeck said. "And just having multiple meetings and trying to keep everybody safe and trying to keep basically everybody employed as well, just to balance it all out. We’re trying to do what’s right, and do what we can. Everybody around the table is looking hard at it. It’s a scary time because of the surges.
"We all feel we’re going to be much better off in a few months, hopefully, with the vaccines, but right this minute, on December 1, we’re all still on a tightrope here. So we’re going to see how it goes. We’re planning for fans during the season. We’re hoping and planning for 25%, 50% capacity in 2021, as soon as we can. But starting off, we expect we’re just going to do a skeleton crew in there and keep it very stripped-down, keep it very minimal, and try to get the games played safely."
There's no doubt the Celtics would benefit from having fans back at TD Garden, even in a limited capacity. If fans are allowed to attend come playoff time, Boston's homecourt advantage would be a major factor.
Of course, safety is the No. 1 priority, and C's ownership appears to be handling the situation with an abundance of caution.
The 2020-21 NBA season is scheduled to begin Dec. 22.