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Bills fans ready to return to Orchard Park, but how will it work next season?

Cuomo says Bills games could have vaccinated and unvaccinated fan sections, while Mark Poloncarz has pushed for no vaccine, no entry, with 100% capacity.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — During the 2021-22 regular season, the Buffalo Bills will play nine games at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. 

See the full list below: 

  • Week 1: Sunday, September 12, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
  • Week 3: Sunday, September 26, vs. Washington Football Team, 1 p.m.
  • Week 4: Sunday, October 3, vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
  • Week 8: Sunday, October 31, vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
  • Week 11: Sunday, November 21, vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
  • Week 13: Monday, December 6, vs. New England Patriots, 8:15 p.m.
  • Week 15: Saturday, December 18 or Sunday, December 19, vs. Carolina Panthers, TBA
  • Week 17: Sunday, January 2, vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
  • Week 18: Sunday, January 9, vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m.

There are still a lot of questions as to what a gameday will look like, but there are plans on both the state and county level of what could be the case come September.

"After the last season we had with the Bills can you imagine what it will be like in September if we have 70,000 plus screaming fans cheering on our team? That's what we're hoping for and the best way to do that is to ensure that everyone who enters the facility is vaccinated so we're protecting all," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Monday. 

Poloncarz has said he wants 100% percent capacity at the stadium, but no vaccine, no entry.

"So the plan would be to do it without masks but we also have to wait and see as we get closer with where we are as a community," Poloncarz said.

On Wednesday, Peter Anderson, the press secretary for the Office of the Erie County Executive, released the following statement:

“The County Executive continues to advocate for as many people as possible to get vaccinated as soon as possible, which increases the likelihood of full attendance at sports events and lessens the need for distractions like vaccinated and non-vaccinated sections. There’s plenty of time for people to get vaccinated before the first game so get your vaccination and be part of the solution that we all want to see.”

However, in a news conference at Sahlen Field, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced for Blue Jays games, half of the seating will be designated for vaccinated fans with normal seating, while the other half will be for unvaccinated fans with six-foot distancing.

The governor was asked if those same rules could apply at Bills games.

"Right now, that's the formula, but September is a long way away," Cuomo said. 

2 On Your Side reached out to Pegula Sports for comment on the vaccine mandate proposal and other safety protocols that fans could expect to be in place.

A spokesperson referred to a previous statement on the matter.

“As we did last year, we will continue to cooperate and comply with all New York State and local government regulations regarding our sporting events.”

Single-game tickets for Bills games went on sale on Wednesday at 8 p.m.