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Cuomo: Allowing fans at Bills Stadium for playoffs is a 'work in progress'

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the topic, saying "it's all a work in progress."

ALBANY, N.Y. — Following a big win on Saturday, the Buffalo Bills secured their spot as the 2020 AFC East champions. 

With the Pittsburgh Steelers losing Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Bills are now in second place in the AFC. Securing that spot means the Bills will play at home in both the wild card and divisional rounds, but questions still remain whether or not fans will be allowed to attend.

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the topic, saying "it's all a work in progress."

Cuomo says the state is researching football teams and protocols across the nation. He added that the New York State Department of Health is discussing the idea of an experimental model, working with data and testing, to see if there's a way to safely allow Bills fans to attend the game.

Right now, 18 of the 32 NFL teams either have allowed or are allowing fans in at a limited capacity.

Taking a look at some nearby states and their protocols, the Pittsburgh Steelers were allowed to have up to 5,500 fans in the stands during their game against the Eagles. Masks had to be worn at all times and social distancing followed. 

Over in Ohio, both the Bengals and the Cleveland Browns are allowed to have 12,000 fans. However, Bengals fans must be placed into "pods" with their party of no more than six people. 

The governor says he has been to Bills Stadium many times, and has gone through design drawings of the stadium, saying he's "quite familiar with it."

Despite these comments, no definitive answer has been given at this time on whether fans will be allowed.

Cuomo told reporters over the weekend that the decision to allow fans depends on the COVID-19 infection rate and hospitalization rate in the Western New York region. The governor said he wants to attend a Bills game; however, the decision will be up to New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. 

"It's going to be Dr. Zucker's call," Cuomo said. "It's also going to depend on the circumstances that Western New York is in at that time; what's the infection rate what's the hospitalization rate, etc. And to see if there is a science-based way that we can do it and do it safe."