It’s Wednesday, May 19, and in New York State today is the day that fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks in public places and businesses around the state. With restrictions loosening following new CDC guidance, it may be time to start thinking about what Highmark Stadium could look like in the fall.
According to reports, nearly 58 percent of New Yorkers are not fully vaccinated, including those under the age of 18. To be considered fully vaccinated, you need two weeks since your final vaccine shot. But many in that percentages group are on their way to being fully vaccinated, with more than half of New Yorkers receiving at least one dose. In those over the age of 18, 61 percent have received one dose and more than 50 percent have received both doses.
Part of the CDC and NYS guidance says that private business can still implement their own restrictions on policies such as distancing and masks, even requiring vaccinations. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has said he supports 100 percent capacity at Highmark Stadium, but for that to happen he would want all of those in attendance to be vaccinated. That’s the plan at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, where fans will be maskless but need to provide proof of vaccination.
New York State governor Andrew Cuomo had initially pushed back on Poloncarz’s suggestion, but earlier this week said that’s the county’s right as the owner of the building.
Playing in Buffalo, the Toronto Blue Jays are still requiring all fans to wear masks even in fully vaccinated sections, at least for the first several games on their season. Now that they can plan for more butts in the seats, it would be no surprise to see that start to change soon to generate more revenue. Plus, May is a long way from the first NFL games in August.
Also on the horizon, the United States and Canada have begun talks of reopening the border between the two countries, which would allow Canadian fans to attend Bills games in the fall. That’s been a concern for a large chunk of Buffalo Bills fans north of the border.
All this news is positive for the return of screaming fans to the stadium to cheer on a Bills team that hasn’t been this good in a very long time. It’s not all happy, though, as some vocal fans of the team have said they won’t share their vaccination status with the club in order to gain access to the building.
With three months to go, things are trending in the right direction.