ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — If you're planning to attend the Buffalo Bills' next home game on Sept. 26, there are some new regulations to keep in mind.
"All guests 12 and older will be required to provide proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine to attend any game or event at Highmark Stadium or KeyBank Center, starting with the Sept. 26 Bills game against the Washington Football Team at Highmark Stadium," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Tuesday.
The vaccine mandate at the KeyBank Center will start Sept. 25, for the Eric Church concert being held that night. Guests under the age of 12 will be required to wear a mask at all times inside.
"Starting on the game on Oct. 31 and thereafter, guests must be fully vaccinated for entry," Poloncarz added.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Poloncarz says there will be department of health sanitarians monitoring proof of vaccination, which will include showing either a physical Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card, a New York State Excelsior Pass, a CLEAR digital vaccination card or a government digital vaccination card from outside the state.
"If you're thinking, 'I'm gonna fake it. I'm gonna create a fake card.’ Please do not do that,” Poloncarz said. “Presenting a fake card is a class D felony.”
Masks are recommended for indoor facilities at the stadium and the arena, but since everyone entering will have at least one dose of the vaccine, Poloncarz says masks will not be mandated.
He says a vaccine mandate has been in discussion for sometime now.
There was a mask mandate in effect for concerts, preseason games and the Bills season opener. Poloncarz says those events proved a vaccine mandate needed to be put in place.
"Our department of health sanitarians were monitoring individuals in the club seat areas and the indoor sections of the clubs, suites, bathrooms, and other areas and determined that approximately 47% of individuals that they monitored were wearing masks,” Poloncarz said.
In a time when COVID-19 deaths are increasing due to the delta variant, Poloncarz says this is the best way to protect all fans.
Those who cannot meet the requirements can request a refund. Giving up tickets will terminate your season ticket rights and benefits, meaning you will lose your seat location and season ticket seniority. Refund requests must be received by this Friday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m.