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KeyBank Center COVID vaccine mandate lifted, paving way for loosened restrictions at Highmark Stadium

No more vaccine mandates in Western New York?

Starting Monday, you will no longer need to show proof of vaccination at KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo. The home of the Buffalo Sabres and every building owned by Erie County will also no longer require masks based on the new CDC guidelines announced late last week. While not explicitly mentioned in the announcement from the county because there are no planned events in Orchard Park for several months, those moves will likely also be in place when Highmark Stadium welcomes back fans later this year.

On Friday, the CDC announced a new system for measuring the spread and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than 70% of the population of the United States lives in an area posing low to medium threats. Those counties, including Erie County, are no longer required to wear masks indoors.

“The CDC’s Community Level indicators show that Erie County is on the right track in the fight against the virus, and our own information about COVID-19 in the community corroborates what they are seeing. Cases and hospitalizations are decreasing, which is very encouraging,” County Executive Mark Poloncarz said in a statement this weekend.

KeyBank Center is set to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament in March in addition to Sabres games and other events.

The next event at Highmark Stadium is likely going to be a Buffalo Bills’ preseason game or Metallica concert, which is set for August 11. There is a chance an open training camp practice could take place prior to those events in early August. That’s six months away, which is why we haven’t heard anything specifically about the Home of the Bills.