No tailgating, but NY working on plan for fans to attend Bills playoff game

Posted 23 December 2020 at 3:34 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that plans are currently under development to allow fans to attend the Buffalo Bills’ first home playoff game in more than two decades under strict Covid-19 protocols.

Under the proposal, which is being developed cooperatively between the Bills and New York State, fans in attendance would be required to receive a negative Covid-19 test result before being allowed into the stadium. Contact tracing will also be conducted after the game. If implemented, this plan could serve as a model for reopening entertainment venues across New York.

“New Yorkers are incredibly proud of the Buffalo Bills and with their first home playoff game in more than 20 years coming up in just a few weeks, we are working closely with the team to develop a plan to allow a limited number of fans to attend the game,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only would strict mask and social distancing guidelines be in effect, but under the current proposal, this would be the first stadium in the nation to require that all fans obtain a negative Covid-19 test before entering. If a final agreement can be reached and the plan works, this could also serve as a model for reopening other entertainment venues across the state. Bills fans have been waiting decades for another home playoff game and after such a tumultuous year, they deserve the opportunity to be able to root for their team in person, as long as it can be done safely. Go Bills!”

Under the plan submitted by the Bills to the state, team staff will control all exit and entry points to the stadium and only fans with a documented negative Covid-19 test would be allowed inside. To facilitate testing prior to the game, the State Department of Health would facilitate the deployment of rapid testing resources. If implemented, this would be the first stadium reopening plan in the nation to require testing and contact tracing.

Once inside the stadium, fans would be required to wear a mask at all times and adhere to strict social distancing protocols. Fans who refuse to comply with these protocols would be removed from the stadium by Bills’ security personnel. Ushers will also be present in throughout the stadium to ensure all fans are in compliance. As part of the state’s review, personnel from the Department of Health have traveled to other stadiums outside of New York where similar protocols are in place to confirm their effectiveness.

Tailgating would remain banned under this plan and New Yorkers are being reminded to avoid gatherings and parties before, during and after the game as these events are prime for viral spread.

Dr. Howard Zucker says New York State prepared to allow 6,700 fans in for playoff games. Fans will be tested before entering the stadium, with potential contact tracing to follow. Zucker says it will be a kind of first-in-the-nation plan to allow fans this way.