NBA Basketball

The Latest: Boston arenas to open for fans starting March 22

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By The Associated Press

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The Boston Celtics and Bruins will be able to play in front of a limited number of fans starting March 22, and the Red Sox could host more than 4,500 fans at Fenway Park on opening day.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday that Massachusetts was moving to Phase IV of its coronavirus reopening plan, which will allow large indoor and outdoor arenas and ballparks to admit up to 12% of capacity.

The Bruins and Celtics shut down their 2019-20 seasons last March when the pandemic reached the U.S. and finished up on the road in "bubble" environments established by their leagues. Their 2020-21 seasons began this winter in home arenas but without fans.

The Bruins were scheduled to play in front of fans for the first time on Friday night, when they will play the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden in front of 10% capacity, or about 1,800 fans.

Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, and Fenway Park have been used as mass vaccination sites. Baker said he did not know what would happen with that capacity when the venues return to their regular purposes.

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Eleven-time Canadian national boxing champion Mandy Bujold is in isolation after the Canadian team training camp in Montreal was cut short due to a positive COVID-19 case.

In a post on her website, Bujold said she was in isolation at a friend's house in Kitchener, Ontario.

The 33-year-old Bujold said she was in close contact with the athlete on Monday. She has since tested negative but is following quarantine protocols. Nineteen athletes were in camp working in small groups. The identity of the boxer who tested positive hasn't been revealed.

Boxing Canada said in a release that it was informed of a potential COVID-19 case within its training camp on Monday.

It's the latest setback for the team, which has yet to clinch spots in the Tokyo Olympics. The continental qualifiers, scrapped last year due to the global pandemic, have been rescheduled to May 10-16 in Argentina.

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Marquette will allow up to 1,800 to attend its men's basketball regular-season finale March 6 against Xavier.

This will be the first time this season that Marquette has played a home game in front of that many spectators. The Golden Eagles had no spectators for most of their home games. They allowed family members of players to attend a 71-68 loss to Creighton on Feb. 6.

Those 1,800 fans represent about 10% of the capacity at Fiserv Forum, which also serves as the home arena for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks just started allowing fans to fill 10% of the arena's seating capacity to home contests on Sunday after experimenting with smaller crowds earlier in their current eight-game home stretch.

Marquette said tickets for the Xavier game won't go on sale to the general public.

Most of the tickets will be offered to students. Athletic officials also will be communicating with other groups in their ticket distribution plan, including family members of players and staffers, athletic department personnel and donors. Seating will be arranged to ensure social distancing. Fans must wear masks and can't bring bags into the arena.

The Xavier game represents Marquette's first home contest since that Feb. 6 loss to Creighton. The Golden Eagles (11-12) currently are in a stretch of six consecutive road games.

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Updated February 25, 2021

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