By 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff
UPDATE: Charlie Baker announced in his Friday press briefing that professional sports teams in Boston can resume practicing at their facilities starting June 6. The date comes two days before the expected start of Phase 2 of the Mass. reopening plan.
Mass. remains in Phase 1 of Baker’s reopening plan, which he unveiled in full on May 18. “Large venues”, like the Bruins’ and Celtics’ home at TD Garden, aren’t allowed to fully reopen until at least July 20, which is the start of Phase 4.
Next Monday, June 1, will mark the start of the third week of Phase 1. Each phase is expected to last a minimum of three weeks, but that is subject to change. Office spaces in Boston will be allowed to reopen starting June 1.
The Patriots, of course, practice in Foxboro and not Boston. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams this week saying that they may reopen “ticket offices, retail shops, and other customer-facing facilities as long as the operation of such facilities fully complies with state and local regulation.” It’s unclear as of Friday where the Patriots stand as far as state and local restrictions in Mass.
Based on reporting for the major sports leagues, the Bruins and the NHL appear to be first in line to return. The league has determined a unique 24-team playoff format, with the Bruins slated for a four-team round-robin-style play-in round. The B’s typically practice at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, which has been closed to the public since March 13.
Nearby is the Auerbach Center, where the Celtics also haven’t practiced since mid-March. C’s president Danny Ainge recently expressed frustration over what he believed to be an unnecessarily slow reopening process.
Mass. has been among the slowest states to lift restrictions amid coronavirus concerns. As of Thursday, COVID-19 has resulted in 6,640 deaths and 94,895 confirmed cases in the state.
Baker will address that and all other coronavirus-related issues in a press briefing on Friday, starting around 2 p.m. You can watch it like at Mass.gov.
Follow all New England-related coronavirus updates at 985TheSportsHub.com.