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Bills fans have mixed reactions to vaccine requirement for home games

Bills fans
Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 14, 2021

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s a mixed bag of reaction from Bills fans after Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz outlined the county's plans to get fans in the stands at 100 percent capacity come fall.

"I think it’s a good policy, one we all saw coming," said Kevin Lafferty, a Bills fan.

Poloncarz says you will need a COVID-19 vaccine to attend a Bills or Sabres game.

The news is not sitting well with LeBuff who says he has more than $45,000 invested in Sundays in Orchard Park. At this point LeBuff and his family want to know more about the vaccine before getting it.

"They’re trying to control people and that’s what they’re doing," LeBuff said. Me and my family's opinion is there’s no way they could possibly have tested this product enough. Like how do you know?"

For JeffLynne Pearson, a healthcare worker and two-time cancer survivor, the proposed policy a win-win.

"Being able to enjoy the bills game and feel safe is important to me," Pearson said. "If you don’t approve of getting the vaccine then don’t go that’s how I feel about it."

According to the county executive, come fall, you will need to show that you're vaccinated through the New York Excelsior Pass, in order to get into the gates at Highmark Stadium and KeyBank Center.

Excelsior is an app New York State created to track if you’ve had the vaccine, what the date is of your last vaccine is, and if it’s expired.

You have to apply for this 'pass' or 'vaccine passport' through the state's website.

This app is causing a lot of controversy in the cyber security world.

Cybersecurity expert Arun Vishwanath says the QR code that’s generated for these vaccine passports is easy to fake.

"Now we’re going to rely more and more on putting this information on devices," Vishwanath said.

In fact, they’ve been banned in several states including Texas and Florida.

"It’s so easy to fake and now there’s an incentive to do so," Vishwanath said.

Poloncarz says this proposed plan was announced this month to give fans plenty of time to make an appointment and get the vaccine; but some season ticket holders wonder why testing can’t just be a pass into the stands.

The Bills released a statement saying the team will comply with all state and local regulations come fall, but we are still many months away from kickoff.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he doesn't believe Poloncarz' plan is legal, and says the state would have to sign off on it.

"Things change so quickly, you know where are you going to be in four months? I’ll tell you in four months," the governor said. "I just think it’s early to make a decision months ahead. Legally, the state would have to sign off on it. Practically, we tend to do it as a collaborative.”

The County Executive's Press Secretary, Peter Anderson says the state does not have to sign off on it.

"Both the stadium in Orchard Park and the Key Bank Center are county facilities, so (like any county facility) the county does have the power to determine what happens there," Anderson said.

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