It’s now known that the Bills will host at least one playoff game next month. It’s not known whether fans will be present to witness the game.
Via the Buffalo News, Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the situation during a Sunday press conference, an event that began with Cuomo proclaiming, “Go Bills!”
“I would like to be at that game — a playoff game — as much as anyone,” Cuomo said. “This has been a long time coming for Buffalo, and there are no fans like Buffalo Bills fans. . . . I’m a fan of the Giants. I’m a fan of the Jets. But Buffalo, they have really stood the course for many years, and they should be as excited as they are. We need some good news, and the Bills are delivering good news.”
When it comes to the possibility of fans attending a home playoff game, no news isn’t good news or bad news, yet. Per the Buffalo News, New York currently is contemplating “some alternatives and ideas” aimed at allowing partial attendance. Cuomo said he wants to see the local infection numbers for early January before the issue is resolved.
“What’s the overall infection rate? What’s the overall hospitalization rate?” Cuomo said. “That really makes a major difference, the environment that you’re in.”
Before the season, the team wanted to have 17,000 fans at home games. Erie County revised that number to 7,000, based on factors like restroom size, public areas, and concourses. According to the report, the Bills likely will implement a timed system of entry and exit, along with the perfunctory mandatory mask policy, cashless transactions, and restroom barriers aimed at enforcing distancing. Luxury boxes will present a separate challenge, even with windows open.
The article explained that tailgating could be problematic, and it makes vague reference to the possibility of Bills fans storming the stadium. (After they showed up at the local airports in the thousands early Sunday to welcome the team home from Denver, nothing can be ruled out at this point.)
Whatever the decision, the clock is ticking toward a decision on the extent to which the turnstiles will be spinning when the Bills are hosting an AFC foe in fewer than three weeks.