Erie County, Pegula Sports activities Leisure Announce Obligatory Vaccination
Fri, 17.09.2021 10:40 a.m.
The policy affects fans attending Bills, Sabers games; Online group spreads petition in protest
By Terry Duffy
It was just a matter of time.
Earlier this week, the Erie County’s Department of Health and Pegula Sports Entertainment – owner of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabers – announced that new COVID-19 vaccine mandates were in effect for fans who attend football games at Highmark Stadium and hockey games at KeyBank Center step. All fans must provide proof of vaccination – a test-out option is not offered.
This follows the Bills’ home opener last Sunday – a game that drew more than 71,000. ECDOH officials later heard criticism of the number of fans who failed to adhere to an earlier masking policy.
The Buffalo Bills stated, “In accordance with policy from the Erie County’s Department of Health, the Buffalo Bills and Highmark Stadium announced that all guests 12 and older must provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend home games Bills to attend.
“For the games on September 26th and October 3rd, fans can participate with a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. From October 31st, guests must be fully vaccinated to enter. Guests are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Guests under the age of 12 do not need to be vaccinated but must wear a mask at all times in Highmark Stadium. Guests aged 12 and over no longer need to wear masks due to vaccination regulations. Fans from outside the area must show their state’s individual vaccination certificate when attending a game.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “A physical vaccine / card (accepted). Photocopies are not accepted; it has to be the actual card. Or the New York State Excelsior Pass or a unique digital vaccination card.
“Guests cannot present a photo of the card; You need to have the card or one of the three other methods which are electronic apps which are essentially verified beforehand. “
Poloncarz added, “We believe the only sure way to ensure a truly safe atmosphere is to actually get people vaccinated.”
“We have been working with the county for the past few weeks and months throughout the pandemic,” said Ron Raccula, executive vice president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment. “We strive to offer our fans the safest environment we can. We think this is the right step for the future. “
The policy will go into effect for the Bills’ home game against the Washington Football Team on September 26th.
With this announcement, the Bills are joining the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders to issue a vaccination mandate for fans attending home games.
The team stated that it would refund individual games or even season tickets to fans who opted for the new policy. Those fans who choose to do so run the risk of losing their season ticket status with the team.
As expected, the announcement of the new vaccine causes excitement among fans.
In response, an online group called “Concerned Bills Fans” is launching an online petition to protest the measure it calls “Poloncarz Stadium Segregation”.
“This petition is being circulated to demand that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stop his aggressive move to steal Bills football season tickets from lifetime fans and prevent other fans from playing home games at ‘Poloncarz Stadium’ under the guise of to visit public health, ”a group post stated. “If its split endeavors are successful, Poloncarz Stadium will only allow vaccinated fans to play Buffalo Bills’ home games. Fans who have had the virus in the past, people with even stronger natural immunity, cannot participate. Nobody without a vaccine.
“There are many other Covid countermeasures that could have mitigated the possible spread of the virus in the Poloncarz Stadium. Random tests; required current test results. Poloncarz Stadium could have offered an inexpensive antibody test to ensure previously infected fans are respected. …
“Many of these tactics would have been acceptable to lifelong loyal Buffalo Bills football fans. But Mark Poloncarz did not let himself be pestered with fairness, he went straight to segregation. Now that Governor Cuomo is gone, Poloncarz plans to step in and replace him to dictate the lives of western New Yorkers and devoted fans of sports teams.
The petition “Concerned Bills Fans” can be found online at https://www.petitions.net/stop-poloncarz?fbclid=IwAR0N53F8QOlpxFfFWIwO26AcOES8Kw7hCdD3X9w27tqWqXGf94A-AVb077E.