Cuomo: NY contemplating restricted followers for Payments’ playoff sport
© Reuters. Voters gather to cast their votes for the U.S. presidential election at the State Capitol in Albany, New York
New York State officials are currently considering a proposal from the Buffalo Bills to allow 6,700 fans to play their home game next month, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The Bills, winners of the AFC East title, will host their first home game since 1995. Bills Stadium was without fans all season.
Cuomo said it is investigating a proposal that would require rapid testing for COVID-19 combined with the ability to trace contacts after the game. He said it could serve as a model for how major events might take place in the future.
“We’d love to do it,” Cuomo said during his COVID-19 briefing from state capital Albany. “Nothing is final.”
Fans would also have to wear masks and be kicked out of the stadium if they don’t.
The Bills didn’t offer any details about their proposal, including how the small number of fans would be selected. The stadium seats approximately 73,000 people, so 6,700 fans would fill approximately 9.2 percent of the capacity.
“We are continuing to work with the governor’s office to work out the details of a plan for a potentially limited number of viewers at our home playoff game. Nothing has been finalized at this time,” team spokesman Derek Boyko told The Buffalo News in an E -Mail .
Cuomo made no secret of his desire to participate in the game.
“I would love to play this game – a playoff game – as much as anyone,” he said on Sunday. “It took a long time for Buffalo, and there are no fans like Buffalo Bills fans.”
And the passion of Bills’ fans has worried state officials about the possible spread of COVID-19 through home-watch parties and the like.
Thousands of fans showed up at Buffalo Niagara International Airport early Sunday morning, hours after the Bills won the Division title when they defeated the Broncos in Denver.
“This is how the disease spreads,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner.
After Cuomo spoke on Wednesday, Erie County’s executive director Mark Poloncarz said his government was unaware of the potential of hosting fans. He told The Buffalo News that the county lacks the resources to carry out the necessary COVID-19 testing and contact tracing for an event of this size.
The Bills (11-3) are currently the second seed in the AFC. If the season ended today, they would host the Miami Dolphins in the wildcard round of the playoffs. A win in this game would give them a second home competition in the AFC division round.
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