Plans discussed to allow expanded outdoor dining for Chippewa St. restaurants during Bills game

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Most of Erie County, including the City of Buffalo, remains in an ‘orange zone’, prohibiting indoor dining. That rule limits options for Bills fans looking for a place to watch Saturday’s Wild Card game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Outdoor dining is allowed, however. And there have been discussions to let some restaurants on Chippewa St. expand their outdoor dining areas into the street, Mayor Byron Brown said Tuesday.

“I’ve heard some discussions about doing it,” the mayor said. “If the businesses on Chippewa want to put together a plan to do that, the city would absolutely work with them on that.”

“I would give it the green light right now,” Brown added.

It’s not a done deal yet, but a city official told News 4 an announcement is expected Wednesday afternoon.

“Something like that that is structured, that’s managed, where food can be provided, where sanitation is provided, where people are reminded to keep their distance, where people are wearing masks, we would absolutely support something like that,” Brown said. “But we don’t want to support mass gatherings that are unstructured.”

The city took a similar course of action in the summer to help businesses on Chippewa attract outdoor diners. If TVs are brought in, the move would give Bills fans an extra option to see the game, besides watching it in their living room.

The Amherst Chamber of Commerce was working on a similar plan to close off part of Main St. in Williamsville to traffic so that restaurants could expand their outdoor dining area during the game Saturday. But Mayor Deb Rogers indicated to News 4 Tuesday that she had concerns about the plan, and would not sign off on it.

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.

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