BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– The Bills fans who have held season tickets the longest are being notified directly that they can buy tickets tomorrow for the WildCard Game. Then they’ll have to come to the stadium a couple of days before the game to get a Covid test. They’ll have to pay $65 for it. If they test negative, they get inside on game day. But it won’t look anything like in the past.
6,200 fans and 500 staff members will be allowed inside. Concessions will be open but you have to bring food to your seat. The stands will not look like games of the past. All fans will need to wear masks and be small clusters. It is a pilot program, and if it goes well, it could be applied to other events or businesses.
“Can you use rapid testing to safely reopen. Querey. No place has done. No one has even talked about it. But thats okay, were New York. I have no problem going first. Thats what were piloting with the Buffalo Bills,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
Cuomo made it clear there will be restrictions and certainly no tailgating.
“That’s not what we want to see and it’s not, it’s not good for Buffalo, its not good for Western New York it’s the last thing the bills want to so let’s just be smart.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz echoed those sentiments in a press conference, urging fans to continue to practice social distancing.
“So if fans think hey it’s great, I’m gonna go party and tailgate in private, I’m just gonna avoid the public lots that are controlled by the Buffalo Bills and Erie County, well you basically ensure that in future weeks that there will be no fans in the stadium.”
What makes this unique is not only that only fans tested in advance will get in but also that in the days after the game all fans will be contacted by contact tracers to determine if they’re experiencing symptoms.
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.