Virus won’t halt return to stadium

While all eyes Sunday were on Mac Jones, the new franchise quarterback, the coronavirus pandemic was also on some fans’ minds.

While some of those in attendance chose to wear masks, the majority of attendees at Sunday’s game did not.

“I’m probably being overly cautious, but I’m going to wear a mask once I get inside,” said Patricia Gibbons, 41, a massage therapist from Natick who said she “fears bringing anything back to my 73-year-old mother.”

Gibbons said she felt “comfortable” tailgating with family and friends who are “in my bubble” — especially since they all had received vaccines.

Kristen Short, 24, an aesthetician from Norwood, said she feels comfortable not wearing a mask.

“I’m vaccinated and I trust the people around me. I feel safe,” she said. “The reality is that you can really get COVID anywhere.”

Short added that since she doesn’t have any pre-existing conditions, already had the coronavirus, and was tailgating in an outdoor setting, she felt safe.

“I’m willing to take the risk,” she said.

According to Dr. Sharon Wright, chief infection prevention officer at Beth Israel Lahey Health in Boston, knowing one’s own risk factors is important.

“You have to know your own risks, medical conditions … it’s a personal decision and depends how risk averse you are,” she said.

Wright said that getting vaccinated is critical, and that wearing a well-fitted mask and using hand sanitizer is also important.

“While [COVID] is not passed predominantly by contact, if you touch something someone who is infected just coughed on or sneezed on, then touch your mouth or nose, you are directly inoculating the virus,” she said, adding that she would not go to a large-scale sporting event right now.

“We can’t eliminate the risk, but we can mitigate it,” she said. “And being outside is better [than being inside], but I would try to avoid going to the concession stand or using the restroom at busy times, like at halftime.”

Gibbons said she plans to stay in her seat for the entire game and leave early, before the crowds depart the stadium en masse.

“I know I’m still taking a risk — but this way, it’s less of a risk,” she said.

Quincy resident Jared Ramos, 25, said before the game that he would not wear a mask inside the stadium, but that he will be “cautious.”

“Obviously we all take this seriously, but we want to enjoy life — including sporting events,” said Ramos, an engineer. “We want to do things that we did prior to COVID.”

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