Canadian Bills fans will miss additional home games with border closure extension

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — White House Officials say the Peace Bridge will remain a one-way road for at least another month, with another extension of border restrictions. Canadians are unable to enter the United States for nonessential travel at least until October 21.

Many Canadians are upset, especially Bills fans who are unable to cheer on the team in person.

“If Canada can open its border to vaccinated Americans, it’s just kind of frustrating that the same hasn’t been reciprocated,” said Bills Helmet Bar owner Blake Parnham.

Paul Burdon has been a season ticket holder since 2002. Before the pandemic, he had not missed a single home game. He is the deejay for Red Pinto Tailgate and is close friends with many iconic Bills Mafia members. Making the 2-hour drive from Newmarket, Ontario wasn’t a problem for the Buffalo Bills backer. Now, he’s facing some tough decisions.

“We can fly to the states, but we can’t drive across,” said Burdon. “Flying from Toronto to Buffalo, which isn’t a direct flight, is kind of cost-prohibitive.”

Burdon has to get creative if he wants to find a way to Orchard Park.

“I’ll probably wait until the October 31st game. We have a couple of games in a row at home, and I’ll just come to spend the entire time down there,” said Burdon.

While Parnham is not a season ticket holder, he understands the disappointment from other Canadian fans.

“My frustration is with all of the other Bills fans, season ticket holders up here who are on Twitter right now, trying to sell their tickets because they aren’t going to be able to get there,” said Parnham.

The United States is lifting some restrictions for air travel in November. People flying into the United States will have to present proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test.

For Nick Manning, this is the most frustrating part. The Bills fan first fell in love with the team when he watched them play at Wembley Field in 1991.

The dedication continued when he moved his family from London, England to Waterloo, Ontario so he could become a season ticket holder.

“After all this time where the Bills were bad during my fandom, for them to get good and for me not to be able to go, it’s heartbreaking,” Manning said. “It’s stupid to me that a British fan could potentially go to more games right now than I can just a two hour drive from Buffalo.”

Rep. Brian Higgins serves as Chair of the Northern Border Caucus. He spoke with News 4 Monday, calling the extension unfair – especially for the thousands of Canadian season ticket holders.

“The White House is in conflict with itself and in conflict with the science they purport,” Higgins said. “A seamless border is very, very important between the United States and Canada. We are neighbors, we are friends, we are economic partners.”

Abby Fridmann is an anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work here.

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