Time’s up for Bill’s fans: full vaccination now to get in stadium

(WIVB) — Starting this Sunday, Bills’ fans will need more than a ticket and a shot to get into Highmark Stadium. County officials are now requiring visitors to be fully vaccinated and fans trying to fake it could get charged with more than a personal foul.

In his first COVID-19 briefing in more than a month, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said anyone caught presenting fake COVID vaccination cards or ID could end up in jail.

Poloncarz also answered a few questions about Bills’ stadium negotiations.

At the start of the Bills’ season, the county health department allowed fans to get by with one COVID-19 shot, but as of this Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, fans must be fully vaccinated to get in.

Poloncarz and County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein announced the health department is doubling its staff at Highmark Stadium to check vaccination cards and ID. On another front, new stadium negotiations with the Bills have become a political football, recently, with county legislators trying to get into the huddle and Buffalo’s Common Council asking if the stadium could be built downtown.

“We are negotiating with the Bills like we are negotiating with the state, and the only way to get a good negotiation done is to do it among the entities that are there. When you have interference from third parties, whether they are legislators in Erie County, Assembly and Senate, or just general public, it does not help us get a deal done,” Poloncarz said.

Despite a county Legislature resolution asking for updates on stadium negotiations, Poloncarz said those talks will remain private and he would be open to building a new stadium downtown, except the city has made no offer to help pay for it, because he says the city is broke.

But the public could soon get a peek at what is happening with the Bills stadium. Governor Kathy Hochul announced today, the state’s stadium study is just about finished and could be released in a few days.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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