By Connor Grott
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the Buffalo Bills will be allowed to host a limited number of fans for the playoffs.
Bills games have been closed to fans for the entire 2020 regular season as part of New York state’s COVID-19 protocols related to professional sports. The Bills will be hosting their first postseason game in 25 years.
“We know that the fans have been waiting 25 years to be able to attend a playoff game and we are so excited to be able to allow the limited amount of fans that we can,” Bills owner Kim Pegula said Wednesday. “I want to just say that we are so hopeful that there will be many more games that all fans can attend. For us to do that … we all need to be safe starting today even beyond the game.
“… We want to just encourage everyone out there, all our fans, that we just need to do our part. Wear your mask, being compliant to CDC guidelines, social distancing. We all know what needs to be done. We all need to do our part to get it done so that we can have everyone back in our stadium soon.”
The plan will allow about 6,700 fans to enter Bills Stadium, with attendees needing to register a negative COVID-19 test before gaining entry into the venue. The team will collaborate with the state’s Department of Health to conduct contact tracing after the game.
Fans are required to pay for their COVID-19 testing, with the $63 cost of the test included in the ticket price. Tailgating will remain banned.
Fans will be socially distanced throughout the stadium and will be required to wear masks at all times. If patrons fail to comply with those measures, they will be ejected.
“For all the Bills fans, please, everyone take these measures seriously,” said Cuomo, who plans to attend the game. “We have made progress on the COVID virus over the past few weeks. The numbers are down — we want to keep them down.”
The Bills said about 6,200 tickets will be available for purchase starting Thursday to season-ticket holders who opted into purchasing tickets earlier this year. Tickets aren’t expected to be available to the general public.
If the Bills reach the divisional round, fans also will be allowed to attend.
The Bills (12-3) conclude their regular season at home against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Buffalo currently is the No. 2 seed in the AFC.