ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — The owner of Hammers Lot across from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park said in order to tailgate in his lot, you must present proof you've received the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I know people who have gotten sick. It's not a fun thing. I think it's very serious. It's everybody's choice to get vaccinated or not. With the potential of you carrying the disease into my lot and maybe spread it to somebody else, I don't want that on me. I don't want to have that feeling," Eric Matwijow, the owner of Hammers Lot, said.
Bills fans have mixed feelings on the new rule. Some commenting on Facebook, "All of that is perfectly fair," or "It's probably someone's private lot. Can't say I blame them. If you don't want to abide by their rules, don't park there."
Others disagree, commenting, "Ridiculous. 99.9% survival and you tailgate outside" or "Now that is how you get people to not come to your lot."
"If you want to come on my property, these are my rules. There's many other choices. It won't break my heart. I'm sorry you won't abide by my rules but it is what it is," Matwijow said.
A heads up. Plan on Tailgating in Hammers Lot 2021. Besides admission fee you will need Photo ID, & Proof of Covid Vaccination either Vaccine Passport or Vaccine Card etc. Also a 6 pack IPA (from a WNY brewery) donation to the owner. I'll be checking. NO EXCEPTIONs— HammersLot (@HammersLot) April 26, 2021
Matwijow said if tailgating is allowed, he's excited for fans to return. He said the 2020 season was the first football season in 36 years the lot sat empty.
"I'm getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it. Besides hand wipes, I think there's going to be tissues going around. I think people are going to be very emotional," Matwijow said.
7 Eyewitness News reached out to Orchard Park and the state to find out if tailgating will be allowed in 2021, but did not hear back.
A representative for Erie County said there's no desire to put the cart before the horse on their end with discussions focusing on getting vaccinated people into the stadium. The representative for Erie County said if they're able to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible, this situation will take care of itself.