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Buffalo Bill’s ownership has announced a new policy that will require all fans vaccinated to participate in games at Highmark Stadium and the KeyBank Center, home of the Buffalo Sabers, this season.
Pegula Sports & Entertainment, along with Erie County, announced Tuesday afternoon that early September. 26 games against the Washington Football Team, all fans aged 12 and over must have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to participate. This rule is extended to require that all participants over the age requirement are fully vaccinated as of the game October 31 vs. Miami Dolphins.
Masks are no longer required for people over the age of 12 once the new policy is in place.
“If you do not want to be vaccinated … it does not entitle you to go to a football game or a hockey game,” said Erie County Chief Mark Poloncarz. “If you want to go to the Games, you have to be vaccinated.”
Poloncarz cited that the county in the past week experienced the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases since April.
Although evidence that fans did not comply with the policy of indoor masks at the stadium during the Week 1 match against Pittsburgh circulated, that is not the direct reason why the new policy is being implemented. Poloncarz said, however, that it made it “necessary” and that this decision would hopefully prevent the county from having to limit attendance numbers, as they did last year.
There will be a number of ways for fans to prove they have been vaccinated, but photos or copies of vaccine cards will not be accepted. The physical vaccination card, the New York State’s Excelsior Pass, clear digital vaccine cards and the Government’s digital vaccination certificate from the State of New York will all be accepted.
The Bills will be the fourth NFL team to ask fans to be fully vaccinated if they want to participate, joining three other teams: New Orleans, Seattle and Las Vegas. The Saints and Seahawks also recognize a negative test for shooting, while the Raiders allow unvaccinated fans if they wear masks.
Of those four teams, only the Seahawks and Bills have outdoor stadiums. Players will continue to be subject to NFL policy.