ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Based on the success of the Buffalo Bills playoff game model, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday large arenas in New York can begin hosting sports and music events, starting February 23 and pending state approval.

“We’re going to now extend the Buffalo Bills example: Any large stadium or arena can open on February 23,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Their plan has to be approved by the New York State Department of Health: It’s 10% capacity for arenas 10,000 and above. A negative PCR test with face coverings, social distancing, and then mandatory assigned seating. This hits the balance of safe reopening.”

This applies to venues with a capacity greater than 10,000, like the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester.

These venues can hold a maximum of 10% capacity and seating will be assigned.

Those who attend must get a PCR test within 72 hours of the event, and have a negative result.

Face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks will also be required.

All large venue reopening plans must be approved by the New York State Department of Health before any events take place.

According to the governor’s office, in order to re-open venues to professional sports, sites must:

  • Obtain DOH approval for both venues and events
  • Institute a 10 percent capacity limit in arenas and stadiums
  • Ensure all staff and spectators receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event
  • Mandate face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks for all those in attendance
  • Mandate assigned, socially distanced seating
  • Collect contact information from all those in attendance to help inform contact tracing efforts
  • Meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
  • Ensure retail, food services and athletic activities abide by all state-issued guidance

A statement from the Rochester Amerks on the announcement:

“Governor Cuomo’s announcement giving us the opportunity to allow Amerks fans back to Blue Cross Arena is a great step forward for our entire organization.

We will continue to work closely with the State and County Departments of Health to ensure a safe and healthy return for our fans.

More information will be shared as it becomes available.”

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.