Brighton Eggert Pharmacy Owner Don Arthur wants to see Buffalo Bills fans in the stands for the team’s playoff game in January.
He’s proposing to test ticket holders for COVID-19 ahead of the game. He’s a bit of an expert in the field. He’s now processing about 1,000 rapid tests at his drive-thru clinic in the Town of Tonawanda. He said he would set up a drive thru clinic in the stadium parking lot roughly four days prior to the game with the ability to test every ticket holder.
DEVELOPING: Buffalo pharmacist says he’s got a plan that would allow 15K fans in the stands for a @BuffaloBills playoff game. Don Arthur tells me he can set up a drive thru testing site several days ahead of the game and test every ticket holder. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/3zP5nIQBsB— Ali Touhey (@Ali2e) December 21, 2020
“The reason it would be over four days is capacity. We’ve tested a thousand a day. I know what three or four thousand a day would look like. We can do it. I have a few weeks to prepare for it,” he said.
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would support fans in the stands for a home playoff game this season if COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates for the Western New York region became low enough.
“It’s going to be a health decision. It’s going to be Dr. Howard Zucker’s decision,” Cuomo said.
During a conference call over the weekend, Zucker said tailgating is currently among the state’s top concerns.
“The big issue here is the tailgating prior to the game. And, that’s more of a challenge than getting fans safely into a game. We have looked at other stadiums that are similar in size and capacity,” said Zucker.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he isn’t sure what metric western New York would need to reach for the state to allow fans in the stands.
“We really have to drop our rate to what I don’t know. Am I expecting fans to be in the stands? Probably not. Am I hopeful? Yes.”
Poloncarz also said tests are meant for those who are sick.
“There’s only a certain number of tests that are being done. I’m not going to waste tests so that people can go to a football game. Let’s get our priorities straight, everyone,” he said.
The tests that Arthur said he would use aren’t owned by Erie County. And, according to Arthur, there isn’t a rapid testing shortage.
The decision to allow fans in the stands, and whether COVID testing would be a requirement, is up to the state. State representatives didn’t immediately return our request for comment.
“I think it would be a huge lift for the team, a huge lift for the community. I think it would be fantastic,” added Arthur.