6,700 fans will be allowed to attend second home playoff game after plan's ‘successful implementation’ last week
Admission contingent upon negative COVID-19 test result; contact tracing to follow
Tailgating remains prohibited
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that, following what his camp called the successful implementation of the pilot plan to open Bills Stadium to fans last week, Buffalo Bills fans can attend the team's second home playoff game on Saturday, Jan. 16.
Under this continued demonstration, approximately 6,700 fans will be allowed to attend the game only after first obtaining a negative COVID-19 test result and adhering to all public health precautions. Contact tracing will also be conducted after the game and tailgating remains prohibited. This plan was developed cooperatively between the Bills, the New York State Department of Health and BioReference Laboratories.
The Bills host the Baltimore Ravens at 8:15 p.m. TV coverage will be on WGRZ-Channel 2 (NBC).
"It was a great joy to see the Buffalo Bills win their first home playoff game in more than two decades in front of thousands of New York fans on Saturday, and we're looking forward to extending that winning streak this week," Cuomo said. "New York's first-in-the-nation pilot plan to reopen Bills Stadium to fans went smoothly, and we're pleased to be able to extend it to next week's game. The success of our pilot plan depends on individual behavior as well as collective measures, and I urge Bills fans to stay safe and follow the rules as we look to another exciting game. Go Bills!"
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "The Bills' play on the field earned them an opportunity to play again this weekend, and their fans behavior in the stands earned them another opportunity to watch them. We'll continue our contact tracing efforts and our work closely with the Bills throughout the week to ensure all safety compliance measures are in place for Saturday night. We're confident we'll have the same outcome, both on and off the field."
Buffalo Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula said, "We felt the energy from our fans last Saturday at the stadium and we know our coaches and players appreciated the support on the field. We have worked with the governor, his team and BioReference to ensure we will host fans again on Saturday night. They have all been great partners in this process. We want to thank our fans for following the safety guidelines, and remind the fans coming Saturday to please wear your mask, socially distance and follow the rules. Be safe. Be smart. Be loud!"
Jon R. Cohen, M.D., executive chairman of BioReference Laboratories, said, "BioReference is proud to continue implementing its large-scale COVID-19 screening program in order to allow fans to enjoy the Buffalo Bills in person. We thank the governor and the Bills for their partnership and look forward to another exciting game."
A press release said, :The continued success of this plan will help inform the reopening of entertainment venues across New York. Within the demonstration, team staff control all entry and exit points to the stadium and only fans with a documented negative COVID-19 test are allowed inside. Testing is conducted in partnership with BioReference. Once inside the stadium, fans are required to wear a mask at all times and adhere to strict social distancing protocols. Fans who refuse to comply with these protocols will be removed from the stadium. Ushers will also be present throughout the stadium to ensure all fans are in compliance with the public health protocols and rules of conduct.
“Tailgating remains banned under this plan and New Yorkers are reminded to avoid gatherings and parties before, during and after the game as these events are prime for deadly viral spread.”
If Buffalo and the Kansas City Chiefs (hosting the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon) both win, the Bills would travel to KC for the AFC Championship game. If the Bills and the Browns win, Buffalo will host the AFC Championship on Sunday, Jan. 24.