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Sports

Few masks, slower lines, but most comply with vaccination rules at Bills game

It was a long, slow-moving line to enter the Buffalo Bills game Sunday.
Mike Desmond
/
WBFO News
It was a long, slow-moving line to enter the Buffalo Bills game Sunday.

The lines to get into Highmark Stadium were slower Sunday, as security had to check proof of COVID-19 vaccination for Buffalo Bills fans wanting to watch the game at home.

Erie County and the Bills are tightening the COVID rules for entering the Orchard Park stadium, with at least one vaccination shot required for Sunday's game. The rules get even tighter next weekend to attend the Houston Texans game.

Some season ticket holders have been complaining or putting their tickets up for sale. Potential audiences for games are smaller than pre-COVID years because Canadians can't enter the country for games.

On Sunday, fans seemed resigned to the new rules for vaccinations, although few wore masks on a nice and sunny day.

Few masks being worn outside Highmark Stadium Sunday.
Mike Desmond
Few masks being worn outside Highmark Stadium Sunday.

Chad said he could live with the vaccination rules, but that line.

"I don't have any issue with the rules, but I do have a issue with the organization, with the lines," he said. "I think they could have had a little bit more preparation involved with this. We've now been in line for 35 minutes."

The crowd was far larger than last season when few were allowed to attend because of virus rulesL just over 68,000 and a handful of people were turned back for no proof of vaccination.

Mike Lee said he's been vaccinated before.

"I had a lot of vaccinations when I was a kid," Lee said. "I'm still here, so they must be doing the right thing."

Lindsey was there with her five-year-old son, with his own COVID story.

"He was actually born early and had lung issues. So we were worried about him getting sick," she said. "But he actually caught it from camp over the summer. So we know he can handle it and he's doing well right now."

Few masks being worn by Buffalo Bills fans outside Highmark Stadium Sunday.
Mike Desmond
Few masks being worn by Buffalo Bills fans outside Highmark Stadium Sunday.

Emily Sheehan said she has mixed feelings.

"I feel torn, although I feel more comfortable being here today," Sheehan said. "I also feel like it should be a freedom of choice. I feel very torn. I don't know how to feel about it, to be honest with you."
However, Tom said the pandemic requires new rules.

"We are in the middle of a pandemic. It's tough, obviously. I know everyone wants to have their freedoms and do whatever they want to do. I do too, obviously. But, listen, we've got to protect the general population here. So, I think it's good for the stadium to have these measures in place. It makes people feel safe and have a good time," he said. "Listen, this is a privilege to go to games. It's not an obligation. It's not something people are guaranteed to have."

Most of those interviewed in the line said they didn't know anyone who had caught the virus.

Jamel said it isn't fair to those who are vaccinated to be exposed to those who aren't and it's good business to be safe.

"I recognize the importance of it, in trying to keep people safe. I do kind of agree with it," he said. "I recognize everybody has their own opinion of whether you should be vaccinated or not, but as a company, you do need to keep people safe."