BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state reached a 70% vaccination rate-- the rate of population that has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine-- allowing for many of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted.
Institutional restrictions remain in place, including the following:
- Large-scale indoor event venues (capacity over 5,000)
- Public transit
- Homeless shelters
- Correctional and healthcare facilities
In addition to the institutional restrictions still in place, unvaccinated individuals are also still required to wear a mask in accordance with CDC guidelines.
When the restrictions were lifted there were many questions about what it meant for Buffalo Bills games at Highmark Stadium. Our Ashley Rowe reached out to the state for clarification.
In a statement to 7 Eyewitness News a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health said "Highmark Stadium is considered an outdoor venue which can operate at full, 100% capacity without restrictions."
Just in from the New York State Dept. of Health: a spokesperson tells me Highmark Stadium is deemed an outdoor venue, meaning it can operate at FULL capacity without restrictions for @BuffaloBills games. The State would require masks for unvaccinated fans, following CDC guidance.— Ashley Rowe (@AshleyroweWKBW) June 16, 2021
The spokesperson continued on to say that restrictions remain in place for large-scale indoor event venues (indoor venues with a capacity of more than 5,000) which can be found here.
Earlier Tuesday a spokesperson for Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released the following statement:
We have not received any updated guidance on plans for September, so right now (as before) the best way to get a full stadium is to get everyone vaccinated; we've seen how the seating has now expanded for Blue Jays games, and with a full two months to go before any preseason games at the stadium, as well as ample vaccine availability, there's no reason why people can't get vaccinated in time and make it easier on everyone.
7 Eyewitness News has reached out to the Buffalo Bills for comment, we are waiting to hear back.
You can view the full statement from the NYSDOH spokesperson on Highmark Stadium below:
Highmark Stadium is considered an outdoor venue which can operate at full, 100% capacity without restrictions. As announced [governor.ny.gov] by Governor Cuomo today, the State's mandatory COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted coinciding with 70% of adult New Yorkers having been vaccinated, except masks remain required for unvaccinated individuals pursuant to CDC guidelines [cdc.gov]. Indoor event venues with a capacity greater than 5,000 must also continue to follow the State's guidance [governor.ny.gov] until more New Yorkers are vaccinated.
Please also see the following excerpt from today’s release [governor.ny.gov]: “The State's COVID restrictions remain in effect for large-scale indoor event venues—now defined as indoor venues that hold more than 5,000 attendees. Consistent with the State's implementation [governor.ny.gov] of the CDC guidelines, proof of vaccination can be used to eliminate social distancing and remove masks for fully vaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated or unknown vaccination status individuals who are over the age of four must continue to present proof of a recent negative diagnostic COVID-19 test result and wear masks within the venue. However, social distancing can be reduced or eliminated between tested attendees, allowing venues to reach 100 percent capacity in all sections.”