The New England Patriots website put out a statement regarding the state of Massachusetts's recent transition into Phase IV of the state COVID-19 re-opening protocol.
Phase IV of the COVID-19 re-opening protocol allows for "large capacity venues" to have fans. According to Governor Charlie Baker, the phase will take effect as soon as March 22nd, meaning there is a fair likelihood that the next season of Patriots football will look and sound, at the very least, closer to normal.
The statement from Gillette Stadium has an especially prominent relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic given the stadium's role in facilitating public health. According to the statement, Gillette Stadium was the first mass-vaccination facility in the northeast region of the country, and additionally is the largest venue for vaccination in the entire state of Massachusetts.
"On a day that we reached a milestone by administering the 100,000th vaccination for COVID-19 at Gillette Stadium, we are thrilled to hear Governor Charlie Baker's announcement that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is officially transitioning to Phase IV beginning March 22, enabling large capacity venues throughout the state to host fans in 2021. This step represents the progress vaccinations are providing to minimize the risk of infection through herd immunity. It is an important step toward a return to normalcy for fans of the New England Revolution and New England Patriots and provides a sense of optimism for a much brighter future ahead."
Currently, the stadium is administering upwards of 5,000 vaccines a day; the statement further expresses that as vaccine availability continues to increase, so will vaccination numbers out of the stadium.
With more widespread vaccinations and herd immunity just a few months away, the prospects of having a "normal" 2021 NFL season are looking better.