What will it take for a full house at Highmark Stadium? Gov. Cuomo and Poloncarz at odds over who decides

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — What will it take to have a full house at Highmark Stadium this season? The governor and the Erie County executive are at odds over who has the power to make that decision.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says not so fast to Mark Poloncarz’s plan to require people to be vaccinated in order to attend and have a full house at Bills and sabers games.

He commented on that plan Friday at Buffalo’s Northland Workforce Training Center, at a press conference that members of the press were denied in-person access to.

“I have a good relationship with the county executive. We both want to do the same. We’re working together on the vaccines, etc. I think his recommendation is plausible. I said, it’s just – my position is it’s premature,” said Governor Cuomo.

Now Cuomo didn’t outright reject Poloncarz’s plan for vaccination but said simply it is too soon to say right now in the middle of April what will be required several months down the road for you to be able to get through these gates and see a game in person.

The governor also said it’s not up to the county executive, and the state has the final say.

Legally, whether it’s county property or city property, or private party, doesn’t matter. The state has to approve the regulation. But that’s neither here nor there. The question is what should the intelligent regulation be when the season reopens,” added Cuomo.

News 4 asked the county executive for a reaction — a spokesperson for Poloncarz’s office says he’s standing by the plan he laid out Tuesday.

Poloncarz told the media, “Our goal is to ensure that everyone in is in there 100 percent, so my goal is no exemptions. I know some people are like, well that’s unfair but, there’s no God-given right to attend a football game and there’s no right to potentially put other people at risk because of illness.”

Cuomo said there many scenarios, like bringing back the testing clinics hosted for fans to attend last season’s home playoff games.

Senator Sean Ryan sides with Poloncarz. He says the plan will save fans money since vaccines are covered, but some tests are not.

“We want the 12th man there, and we want the 12th man roaring. We can only get it done if everyone is vaccinated,” added Ryan.

Erica Brecher is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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