BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills joined the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday as the one NFL groups to require proof of vaccination in opposition to COVID-19 for all followers over the age of 12.
The guidelines would be the identical for Buffalo Sabres video games on the KeyBank Center when the NHL season will get beneath approach subsequent month.
The change comes after reports from followers about lax masks enforcement in the course of the Bills’ opening recreation at Highmark Stadium Sept. 12.
Unvaccinated followers have been allowed to attend, however have been speculated to put on masks always beneath pointers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many on the recreation stated they noticed only a few face coverings on the packed stadium, together with in restrooms and different indoor areas the place even vaccinated followers have been anticipated to put on a masks.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stated the coverage shift was a joint choice between the county and Pegula Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Bills and Sabres.
“We believe that the only way to ensure a real safe atmosphere is to actually have people vaccinated,” Poloncarz stated.
There will probably be no choice to supply a damaging virus take a look at as a substitute of proof of vaccination, as allowed by the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, the one different two groups to announce vaccination necessities.
During the common season final yr, the coronavirus pandemic had Buffalo taking part in residence video games in an empty stadium. The guidelines have been loosened to permit about 6,700 followers — about 10% of the stadium’s capability — to attend the Bills’ two residence playoff video games in January.
Under the brand new coverage, vaccinated followers will not be required to put on masks at residence video games however the masks requirement stays in place for kids beneath 12, who’re too younger to be vaccinated.
Fans should have acquired not less than one dose in time for the Sept. 26 recreation in opposition to Washington and be totally vaccinated by the Oct. 31 recreation in opposition to Miami.
Buffalo additionally joins a rising listing of cities saying vaccine mandates for hockey followers. The growth Seattle Kraken introduced final week that they’ll require followers ages 12 and over to indicate proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
“As a general matter, we very much support health and safety rules that promote and encourage vaccination,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated in an electronic mail.
The Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks even have introduced mandates, The Seattle Times reported.