BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo on Wednesday to announce updated guidance for baseball games at Sahlen Field.
Much like the guidance for the Mets and the Yankees, fans will be welcome in the stands; however, there will be different sections for fans who are vaccinated for COVID-19 and fans who are not.
According to the Toronto Blue Jays, the ballpark's seating capacity has been increased to 35 percent capacity for the first eight games. Under this new seating model, an additional 2,000 fans will be able to attend a ballgame at Sahlen Field.
The governor's office notes that about 50 percent of seating will be for vaccinated fans, allowing normal non-distanced seating. While the other half will be for unvaccinated fans.
The general public will be able to purchase tickets to a Blue Jays game starting May 20 at 10 a.m. Fans can only buy up to four tickets per game and must pick between physically distanced and fully vaccinated seating sections.
In physically distanced seating sections, tickets will be available to both vaccinated and unvaccinated fans and will be sold in pods of up to four seats. Each pod will be spaced a minimum of six feet apart. Any fans in this section will not be required to provide proof of vaccination documentation or a negative COVID-19 test result.
The fully vaccinated seating sections will be at 100 percent capacity and will allow for fans to sit next to one another without social distancing. Fans in this section that are 16 years old or older must show proof of their full COVID-19 vaccination status as well as a photo ID that matches. The individual must have received the vaccination at least 14 days prior to attending the game.
Fans under the age of 16 years old will be permitted to sit in the fully vaccinated section along with a fully vaccinated guest. A negative COVID-19 test will not be required.
Masks will be required for fans 2 years old and older sitting in either section of the ballpark, except for when eating or drinking. All fans will also be required to socially distance from anyone who isn't in their seating group, except while sitting in the fully vaccinated section.
Opening day for the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field is slated for June 1. Starting on this date, any unvaccinated fans attending a Blue Jays game will be able to get a one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Those who receive a shot at the stadium will get a voucher for a free ticket to a Buffalo Bisons game next season, and will also be entered to win prizes from the Toronto Blue Jays. Some of the prizes include four tickets to the Blue Jays-Yankees game in Buffalo, three autographed baseballs from star players, and an autographed jersey.
"As our positivity and hospitalization rates continue to decline and the number of New Yorkers getting vaccinated goes up, we are closely monitoring the metrics to guide our reopening strategy," Governor Cuomo said. "We've already determined that it is safe to increase capacity and create vaccinated fan sections for larger outdoor venues and thanks to our continued progress we can now allow even more spectators into Sahlen Field for Blue Jays games beginning June 1. Sporting events have always been a major economic engine for the Western New York region, and putting more fans in the stands to enjoy watching Major League baseball in Buffalo will further this region's progress as they recover and rebuild from this pandemic."
The governor added that the current rules in place at Sahlen Field for the Blue Jays is currently the formula that will be used at Buffalo Bills games in the fall. However, this is subject to change.
You can watch the full COVID-19 briefing below: