No fans at Bills games for ‘foreseeable future’

Buffalo Bills

FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2018, file photo, New Era Field is prepared before an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots, Monday, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The owners of the Bills and Buffalo Sabres have hired consulting and architectural firms to study the future needs of both teams’ facilities. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

The reports on Monday provided hope that fans may be returning to Bills Stadium.

That hope was dashed on Tuesday.

The Bills tweeted in the afternoon that “fans will not be able to attend Bills home games for the foreseeable future”.

On Monday, Erie County Executive Director Mark Polancarz said his office was open to seven thousand fans at Bills games with certain conditions. However, he made it clear the state would have final say. Further discussions on the matter were expected Tuesday.

Those discussions, apparently, did not go well from a fans’ point of view.

The Bills announced at the end of August that the first two home games would be without fans based on guidance from the NYS Department of Health. The team statement Tuesday indicated those protocols have not changed.

Excitement for the return of fans was heightened by the next game on the Bills home schedule: October 15th against the defending champion Chiefs. It’s a nationally televised Thursday night game that could match undefeated teams. It’s clear now that gigantic matchup will be played in front of 70,000 empty seats.

It’s also frustrating for Western New York football fans because 2020 provides the Bills one of the most attractive slates of opponents in recent memory.

Following the Chiefs, the Patriots come to Buffalo November 1st in a game that likely will have AFC East championship implications. The Seahawks and Russell Wilson are in town a week later and the highly popular Steelers face the Bills on a nationally televised Sunday game December 13th.

While Tuesday’s announcement does not close the door on fans at Bills games this year, it certainly makes the outlook appear much less hopeful.

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