ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB)–Normally around this time, there would still be Bills fans leaving the stadium either to go home or sticking around to celebrate Sunday’s win.
This year it’s a lot quieter.
Because fans are not allowed inside Bills stadium, there can’t be any tailgating.
That means these lots that would normally be packed are empty. Some Bills fans still kept one tradition the same though and that means stopping by local restaurants like Danny’s and Wings Meeting Place.
But the owners from both businesses say they’d usually be busy starting first thing in the morning as fans wait for the game to start. Sunday, not so much.
“I’ll say a difference is saying it lightly. Normally this place would be rocking from 7 in the morning for the season opener, all the excitement,” said Joseph Demarco, owner of Wings Meeting Place.
“Normally on a Friday night before a game there are 60,70 motor homes in here because they all come over here and then they go over to the lot earlier but I’d usually have 20,30 of them here right now full of cars. It’s actually pitiful it would normally be crazy here and for this being a home game it’s pretty dreary,” said Mark Ebeling, owner of Danny’s Restaurant
A few Bills fans said even though there were fewer crowds for the home opener they still enjoyed getting out, cheering on their team, and supporting a local business while doing so.
Law enforcement was patrolling the area making sure there wasn’t any tailgating happening at any of the lots. Private commercial lots are closed and residential lots are limited to just 50 people and they can’t accept money.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.