New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of NFL to Allow 6,700 Buffalo Bills Fans to Attend First Home Playoff Game Since 1996 – With Negative Covid Test – Deadline

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has generally taken a conservative approach to handling Covid-19 in the state, raised eyebrows by supporting a plan to allow fans to attend a Buffalo Bills playoff game on next month.

Up to 6,772 fans will be eligible to participate in the game, which will be played January 9 or 10 (depending on final season results) at the 72,000-seat Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. Ticket buyers will only be admitted if they test negative for coronavirus on site. Contact tracing will also be performed for all participants.

Even with strict limits in place, the move is a notable reversal for New York City, which has imposed strict bans on gatherings in large spaces, even outdoors, and lashes out at those who try to ignore rules. The move sparked backlash among health experts and a range of local and state officials, who expressed concern over the limited stocks of rapid test kits and the general wisdom of rolling back for an NFL game. .

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Theaters and theaters on Broadway, in the dying of many, have remained closed since mid-March. Keeping many parts of business and society off limits has allowed the state to move from the epicenter of the U.S. infection last spring to a state with a more manageable infection rate. Cuomo went to court to oppose convening services in churches and other houses of religion during the pandemic. (The United States Supreme Court handed it a setback earlier this month in a 5-4 opinion that was one of the first since its confirmation from Justice Amy Coney Barrett.)

The Bills are 12-3 and are heading to the playoffs for the third time in the past four years. This year’s squad has reached a higher level than any since the Super Bowl teams of the 1990s. The playoff game will be the first played at home since 1996, and local and regional pride in the team’s resumption. is hard to dismiss as a factor.

Masks and social distancing will be needed at the stadium, which Cuomo says is an outdoor venue, which the governor says is “all the difference in the world from an indoor venue.” Tailgating and the usual pre-game festivities, which by offbeat local custom often involve drunk fans jumping on tables from great heights (don’t ask), will not be allowed. “Bills fans, be smart, ”Cuomo wrote on Twitter.

The game is seen as a “pilot” effort, Cumo said in a briefing, and is billed as the first event in the United States to deploy so much testing in such a short period of time. “If that goes well, you would be looking to expand it,” he said. He called it “Step 1”, but added that he “doesn’t see a door key beyond that key. Really, the only key you have is the quick test. So we’re going to be aggressive to explore it, and that’s what we’re doing now.

Cuomo said he plans to get tested and watch the game live.

Football across New York at the high school, college and pro levels in 2020 has been postponed or played in empty stadiums, with the exception of Army games on federal lands at West Point. The majority of NFL stadiums have also remained empty this year, although many have seen a small number of fans pour in during the season as the virus count fluctuates. Some states – notably Texas, Floriday, and Missouri – have consistently allowed up to 25% capacity in their teams’ games since the game began in September.

Hundreds of NFL players, coaches and staff have tested positive and there have been outbreaks at several team facilities, but fan-to-fan transmission has been limited to a small handful of case. Safety experts have long warned of the “super-spreader” potential of traditionally staged sporting events, one of the main reasons top sports leagues have all taken extended breaks with their seasons throughout the spring. The NFL, which dropped the preseason and other parts of its usual setup, managed to play a full regular season with minimal disruption and still intend to play the Super Bowl as planned in February in Tampa. , in Florida.

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