258 turned away at Bills game for lacking vaccination proof, health officials say

Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Bills fans seem to adapt to whatever they have to do to get into the game.

Last winter they needed to get a negative COVID test to get into the playoff games. On Sunday, they needed to begin showing proof of full vaccination.

Vaccination cards or proof of vaccination on their phones would both suffice at the gate, but proof of full vaccination was just important as the ticket itself for the 70,000 fans going in.

“I’m one hundred percent for it,” said Joanne, a Cheektowaga resident who was attending the game. “I do also support the people who are against it, but I’m 100% for the stadium saying that we have to be vaccinated.”

Dan Evans of Buffalo seemed fine showing his card as well. “Be vaccinated, be safe, keep everybody happy, safe and we can come back again and go Bills.”

Although kids under 12 years of age can still get in without a vaccination, they need to wear masks. But with this rule change those 12 and over no longer have to wear masks in the restrooms and concourses, something that proved difficult to enforce at the home opener.

“It’s people’s choice what to do, but you’re in a crowd of 70,000, safe to get vaccinated,” said Elizabeth, a West Seneca resident who attended the game. “I did it for the Bills, I didn’t want to lie, and I think the players should do it for each other too.”

The new policy was announced on September 14. For the home games on September 26 and October 3, fans needed to show proof of at least one Covid shot. At the October 3 game, fourteen fans were turned away at the gate for not showing adequate proof of at least one shot.

A spokesperson for the Erie County Department of Health said Monday that ECDOH staff performed 1,128 secondary checks at entry gates Sunday, and refused entry to 258 people due to lack of acceptable documentation for entry. They said these numbers do not include people turned away by Buffalo Bills game day staff.

“In order to have fun, this is what we gotta do and everybody’s obviously safe,” said Christopher Ferraro, a resident of Port Allegany, Pennsylvania who drove up to attend the game. “We’re not masked. We’re here to have a good time as a family and enjoy ourselves. Let’s go do it. Go Bills.”

The Bills are one of only a few teams in the NFL to require their fans to be vaccinated. The New Orleans Saints, Las Vegan Raiders and Seattle Seahawks also have a vaccine mandate, but Buffalo and Seattle are the only outdoor stadiums to do so.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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