Fans return to TD Garden for first time since pandemic began

BOSTON — Diehard Bruins fans took the TD Garden by storm Thursday night for the first major sporting event with spectators in Massachusetts since the pandemic began.

Only about 2,200 people were allowed inside to watch the Bruins face off against the Islanders due to the 12 percent capacity restriction.

Fans who were lucky enough to score a coveted ticket to the game did not take the experience for granted.

“We’ve been so missing our Bruins, our sports and connecting with other people,” said Maureen Heard, a season ticket holder from Derry, NH. “There’s so much joy in coming back and being together again.”

Many of the bars and restaurants in the West End have been closed since the TD Garden closed last spring.

Some are now finally reopening now that fans are back in the neighborhood.

”It means everything. Without Garden games, without fans.. it lacks so much energy,” said Grace Manozzi, marketing coordinator with the Briar Group. “Although the capacity is smaller, I would say it’s a very big deal.”

The Briar Group runs the Harp on Causeway Street. In addition to officially reopening, the Harp also opened its first outdoor patio in the establishment’s 30-year history.

Others in the area aren’t expressing the same level of enthusiasm just yet.

“There’s some more people in the neighborhood walking around, but there’s still a lot of things closed,” said John Caron, owner of West End Johnnies.

Caron said he isn’t sure exactly when he’ll be reopening West End Johnnies. He said he wants to make sure it’s going to profitable in these current times.

“We look forward to having customers back and seeing people again, but we’re going to proceed cautiously,” explained Caron. “There’s so many places that closed permanently that were great places. We’re trying to not be one of those places.”

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