The New England Patriots told season tickets holders they hope to be able to have fans at games this season, but only 20 percent of the stadiums capacity. The team still needs state and local approval. Steven Senne/Associated Press

The New England Patriots would still need state and local approval to allow anyone into Gillette Stadium amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but they told season ticket holders this week that they’re building a plan to allow fans at games at 20 percent capacity.

Gillete’s listed capacity is 65,878 so 20 percent would be close to 13,000.

The team already announced that parking would be free. Creating entrance and exit plans with limited contact is likely to also be part of any working plan.

From the Patriots’ release:

“Pending state and local approval, should Gillette Stadium be allowed to have fans in the stands this season, it is expected to host about 20 percent of its total capacity.

“Ticketed parties will be asked to maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from other parties, tickets will be arranged in blocks of 10 seats or less, and the first eight rows of stadium seats will not be used. Additionally, face coverings will be required at all times inside the stadium to keep all attendees safe.

“Although game days will look different this year as a result of the many safety precautions being implemented, the Patriots organization is committed to delivering a positive experience for all who attend.

“Recognizing that some flexibility will be required by fans who attend games in these unique circumstances, the Patriots also announced that parking for 2020 home games will be free of charge in all Gillette Stadium parking lots. Additionally, walk-up sales at the Patriots ticket office will be suspended, and all tickets will be mobile.

“Patriots Putnam Club and Season Ticket Members will have the first opportunity to purchase individual game tickets if fans are allowed, and any remaining ticket inventory will go on-sale to the general public once the member process is complete.”

Of course to have fans, they first have to guarantee having a season. The owners and the players association are still examining protocols to remain safe during the pandemic. Spikes in positive tests around the country have created a growing concern that the NFL might consider delaying the start to the 2020 season.

The Patriots are the latest among several NFL teams hoping to play with fans in attendance. The Red Sox have also explored possibly having fans at Fenway Park later in the season.

New England already announced that there will be no fans allowed at training camp and the NFL has reduced the preseason from four games to two to limit interactions.
The Patriots are scheduled to host Miami on Sept. 13.

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