Canadians are back in the stands at Highmark stadium to cheer on the Buffalo Bills

Orchard Park

ORCHARD PARK N.Y. (WIVB) – Canadians are back in the stands at Highmark Stadium to cheer the Buffalo Bills on in-person for the first time in almost two years.

Canadians tell me they missed being part of the atmosphere inside the stadium and although the Bills lost their game against the Colts, they say it was still worth the drive.

“It was a huge deal today it kind of felt like coming to my first Bills game again. Chills as you walk in the stadium. Chills as you drive up this morning. It was fantastic to be back,” said Nick Manning, who traveled with his friend to attend Sunday’s game.

“It was great. Obviously the first go with everything since the borders have opened in November so it’s been two long years but it’s fantastic to be back,” said Bills fan Tim Macdonell, who drove down from Toronto.

Macdonell says he’s used to traveling to a game with hundreds of other Canadians and he’s excited to bring that tradition back.

“It’s been part of our Sundays for the last 14 years. We’ve been coming down in groups from the Toronto area. To finally have that back in our lives, gives that sense of relief again. We’re excited,” he said. “So it’s great to have everyone down here to see the Bills Mafia growing again.”

For restaurants like Danny’s South on Abbott road in Orchard Park, having Canadians back also means more business.

“The Canadians are big part of football. Normally we have five or six buses, today we’re squared away with one,” Danny’s South owner Mark Ebeling said.

Ebeling says they usually have hundreds of Canadians parked in their lot to tailgate before the game. He’s looking forward to seeing more come back in Orchard Park.

“Canadians are a big part of business for the whole area, they really are, we’ve missed them all year round,” he said.

“Normally we come down with three or four hundred [Canadians] so once that PCR testing is lifted, we’re anticipating there’s going to be a few hundred fans coming down with us,” Macdonell said.

Starting November 30th Canadians will not be required to have a negative COVID-19 test to re-enter Canada. As of right now this only applies to fully vaccinated Canadian who are in the US for three days or less.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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