Watkins Glen International eligible to reopen under large venue guidelines

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM/WIVB) — On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave an update on COVID-19. The governor announcing additional guidance on the states plan to reopen large venues safely.

Gov. Cuomo said the plans will be announced sometime next week. This guidance will be based on the Buffalo Bills playoff games model, which the state has said was successful in keeping the virus from rapidly spreading.

The model required attendees to get tested for the coronavirus before entering the stadium for the games. The governor says he wants to use the same strategy for large gatherings like sporting events and weddings.

The restrictions would be capped at 10% capacity and no more than 10,000 attendees and seating will be assigned.

Here in the Twin Tiers, this would not apply to First Arena, Dunn Field, or the Clemens Center, but it could impact Watkins Glen International. 18 News spoke with the Schuyler County Administrator who said this would be good for the community.

“We’re thrilled to hear it,” said Tim O’Hearn, Schuyler County Administrator. “I certainly can’t speak for Watkins Glen International as to what number makes sense from a business model, but the county certainly supports any efforts to reopen these events by Watkins Glen. We’ll work with them to help achieve any requirements or goals that are necessary.”

O’Hearn said this is the a step in the right direction for the state.

“Today’s announcement by the governor is certainly welcome news as we inch closer towards our return to normalcy,” O’Hearn said. “The events at Watkins Glen International represents a huge part of the local economy, not only for Schuyler County, but for our region. And in any restoration of events, even at a diminished capacity, will certainly help us.”

Regarding wedding receptions, the Governor has already released some guidance.

Starting March 15, receptions may take place at venues in the state, but with half capacity and a maximum of 150 people.

Additionally, everyone who attends must get tested for COVID-19 beforehand and the local health department must approve the event itself.

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