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Mask mandate largely ignored during Buffalo Bills’ season-opening game

Everyone attending events at Highmark Stadium is supposed to wear a mask in enclosed spaces. That was not enforced on Sunday in the Buffalo Bills’ first home game of the season—except by the Health Department after the fact.

Here is the exact wording of the rule:

“Per Erie County guidelines, masks or facial coverings are required regardless of vaccination status when visiting the indoor settings at Highmark Stadium. This includes the 100 and 300 level concourses, suites, restrooms and other enclosed spaces. Seating will not be designated by vaccination status.”

Plenty of Bills’ players’ family members happily posted pictures in suites without masks. Fans walked up to vendors in the concourses and went to the bathroom without masks. The public address announcer told fans repeatedly about the mandate, but it didn’t happen.

The only enforcement seems to have come for vendors inside the concourse. Eight of those vendors were cited for not masking properly during the game, per a release from the Erie County Department of Health.

“Any potential penalties will be communicated to the permit holder(s) once the reports have been reviewed by our department,” a health department spokeswoman said.

Erie County and Pegula Sports & Entertainment have scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. Tuesday to address the situation. We will update.


At least partially due to the lack of masks at the season opener, the team and Erie County announced on Tuesday that all patrons over 12 will need to be vaccinated now and fully vaccinated by October 31.

More info in our full article