At TD Garden, they’re not playing games with COVID-19.
In order to attend a Bruins or Celtics game, concert, or any other event at the arena, fans 12 and older must show proof of vaccination or one of two types of negative COVID-19 test results.
The same rules will apply for players, referees, coaches, band members, vendors, ushers — anyone who sets foot in the arena. TD Garden officials reached a decision late last week to implement the stricter regulations while the Delta variant prolongs the pandemic.
“Our primary goal is to keep our fans, guests, employees, players and performers safe,” said Amy Latimer, president of TD Garden, in a statement. “We have worked diligently with public health officials, experts and our industry leaders and have a shared belief that this is the best approach to keep live events going.”
Proof of vaccination requires a guest showing a paper record. A photo of the card on a phone will suffice, but it will be cross-checked with ID for fans 18 and older. Full vaccination is required, meaning that 14 days must have passed since the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.
For the unvaccinated, a printout or digital copy of a negative antigen test or a negative molecular/PCR test will be accepted. The timeframe for when those tests will need to be administered will be released at a later date.
Results from at-home rapid antigen tests are not acceptable.
Guests under 12 do not need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (some concerts will have stricter requirements for younger fans) but they will be required, like everyone else, to wear a mask per the city mandate. Masks may be taken off while eating or drinking. A two-strike policy will be in effect for mask violators, with disciplinary measures including ejection.
“Fan safety is paramount as we invite guests back to TD Garden for the 2021-22 season,” said Cam Neely, president of the Bruins. “While we had all hoped to see a return to normalcy, we felt it was important to start the year with additional precautions.
“After beginning the 2020 season in an empty building, I know that our players, coaches and staff are looking forward to kicking off this year in front of the most passionate hockey fans in the world.”
The Laver Cup tennis tournament takes place at the Garden this weekend, beginning Friday, with the new protocols in place, and even stricter rules in effect for younger fans. All guests 12 and up must show proof of vaccination or one of two negative tests — an antigen test taken 24 hours before entry or a PCR test taken no earlier than Sept. 22. Attendees between the ages of 4 and 11 need to bring proof of one of the two negative COVID-19 test results within the same time frame.
Stricter requirements from the NBA are expected to be in place for those sitting in prime seats at Celtics games, with the first preseason game scheduled for Oct. 4 at the Garden.
Fans 2 or older who are sitting within 15 feet of the court, team benches, scorer’s table or other places close to players, coaches, and referees must have proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. The NBA reserves the right to update the definition of “fully vaccinated” pending any new CDC and FDA guidance.
“We’re grateful to get back to a full season in front of our fans this year,” said Rich Gotham, president of the Celtics. “Vaccination verification will help provide our fans with peace of mind as they come back to enjoy the energy of a live Celtics game experience together.”
Events such as October concerts by Michael Bublé, Twenty One Pilots, and Harry Styles may have different requirements.
Check the TD Garden website for details.
All TD Garden associates and employees will follow the same guidelines as fans, with exceptions made for medical or what a Garden FAQ describes as a “sincerely held religious objection” to a vaccination requirement.
Arenas used by NBA and/or NHL teams in Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and San Francisco are among the facilities that have imposed some version of vaccine or negative COVID-19 test requirements.
Some NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, and Buffalo teams, and MLB teams, including the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, have also introduced similar restrictions.
Michael Silverman can be reached at email@example.com.