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NYS allows some fans at stadiums, entertainment venues starting March 29

Michael Mroziak / WBFO News
Fans wil be allowed in the stands at Sahlen Field and other sports and entertainment venues beginning April 1, according to an announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday.

There are going to be fewer empty seats in outdoor sports arenas and performing arts centers this summer. It’s a mix of vaccinations, science and some Buffalo Bills’ games. On Thursday, without any advance notice, Gov. Andrew Cuomo changed the rules on crowds in sports and cultural arenas.

Flanked by well-known athletes, the governor made clear the old song "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" will happen this summer and team road trips will be allowed.

"Currently, travel for sports is limited to contiguous counties and regions. Starting next Monday, March 29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be performed," Cuomo said. "Second, outdoor performing arts can start April 1; 2,500+ capacity venues like concerts, shows, can open at 20% capacity."

Cuomo said the elaborate safety rules for the Bills’ games in Orchard Park showed pre-screened fans can be in the stands. And as more people are vaccinated, the ground rules can be expanded to fill more seats at Sahlen Field or Artpark or University at Buffalo Stadium.

"We opened up the Buffalo Bills stadium. We did testing. It worked extraordinarily well. We started with 10%. It was a great demonstration," Cuomo said. "We’re now going to move forward April 1, sports venues with 1,500+ indoor or 2,500+ outdoor capacity. Indoor, we’ll do 10% capacity, outdoor will be 20% capacity."

Cuomo said experience will show if more people can be allowed in as the season goes on.

"We then, right away, do what’s called contact tracing, where we follow up on the game to see if anybody got infected, etc.," he said, "and I think you are going to see the capacity increase and the testing requirements decrease as we get more evidence. But we want to start safe and smart."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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