ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — As fans file into Highmark Stadium for the Bills season opener on Sunday, there will be some places where masks are required and some places where they are not required.

It will be on the honor system, but vaccinated fans can be mask-free in the stands at High Mark Stadium, but everyone is expected to wear a mask in the concourses and restrooms.

“I feel comfortable about what you’ll see outdoors, but we’re going to be watching it indoors, to ensure that people do follow the rules,” said Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Executive. “We’ll be monitoring the game on Sunday. I may actually be out there myself. We’ll be monitoring it. I do know that the Bills organization takes it seriously but they also understand that there’s difficulties but all of their staff will be required to wear masks, all of the concession staff, all of the security staff will be required to wear masks just like our Sheriffs, and we’ll be monitoring it and make a decision that’s appropriate for future games.”

Although all students are wearing masks in schools, the commissioner of the Erie County Department of Health points out that Erie County is starting the school year with Covid rates twice as high as they were this week last year.

“In the beginning of September, we have over 200 cases a day, and school just started, and it’s still warm weather, and you remember last year at the very end of October when it started to get cold and everybody started to congregate inside, our Covid-19 cases shot up,” said Dr. Gale Burstein. “Now we anticipate that we’ll see the same thing again and we’re starting at a higher level now than we were last year September, so we’re very, very concerned.”

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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