New York is contemplating letting some followers into Invoice’s playoff sport
ALBANY, NY (AP) – The New York City Health Commissioner is considering allowing 6,700 fans to play a rare Buffalo Bills playoff game after testing all participants.
However, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo and a spokesman for the bills, nothing has been finalized. The playoffs will start on the weekend of January 9th, but the date of the game has not been set.
“The devil is often in the details,” said Cuomo. “We would like to do it.”
Cuomo believes New York would be the first state in the nation to try such a plan that would include post-game contact tracing. “This could be the beginning to show how to have events with tests,” he said.
His budget director Bob Mujica said the soccer team would control the entry and exit of a socially distant stadium where fans without a mask would be ejected.
But Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said he was concerned about promoting “side events” – potential post-game and pre-game events that could themselves lead to spikes.
“How do we control this?” Said sugar. “That really is the question.”
And the idea is being pushed back in a region that has been hit hard by a surge in COVID-19 in recent months.
Erie County’s executive Mark Poloncarz said his administration had not been involved in discussions about the idea and that it had not come up in recent discussions with state officials. And he said the county is unable to run rapid tests on 6,700 people, typically 1,450 tests a week.
A decision would have to be made by the middle of next week to prepare for a game in just over two weeks, he said.
The Bills have won their first AFC East title since 1995. They will host a playoff game in the Bill’s Hall of Fame for the first time since a 30:27 loss to Jacksonville on December 28, 1996, quarterback Jim Kelly’s last game.
The team’s fans would no doubt appreciate the chance when hundreds arrive at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport late Saturday night to greet the players and celebrate their victory.
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“That was amazing,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott. “Always nice when you come home in the middle of the night and it’s as cold as it was and the fans are out there to welcome us at home, just something special.”
When asked Monday if there were fans at the stadium for the game, McDermott said he appreciated that state officials were open to ponder it.
“I know we’d love to have the opportunity to have fans,” he said.
Wawrow reported from Buffalo.