ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than 6,000 fans cheered on the team this past Saturday inside Bills Stadium for the first time all season. During his State of the State address Monday, Governor Cuomo called it a success.
Hours later, he announced 6,700 fans would be allowed back for this upcoming Saturday game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Wilson resident Kerry Atlas and her husband will be part of that crowd. They’ve had season tickets for more than 20 years.
“I grew up a Giants fan, which is a little embarrassing to say, but I’m a convert,” Atlas told News 4. “My husband is a lifelong Bills fan and when we got married I really wanted to solidify for him I was a Bills fan through-and-through, and I bought us season tickets on our wedding day.”
She says they’re excited to be the voice of Bills Mafia and cheer on behalf of the fans who couldn’t go.
With tickets selling out by 1 p.m. Monday, many are now looking for a place to watch the game. Those hoping to head out to restaurants now face another issue: with Saturday night’s game starting at 8:15 p.m., New York State’s 10 p.m. curfew will hit right around halftime.
Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo says restaurant owners immediately reached out to him after game-time was announced, hoping he could help lift the curfew for just one day.
“I think it makes perfect sense. If they can be outside and do it safely, there’s no reason they can’t do it while the Bills game is still going on,” Lorigo said.
Many restaurant owners we spoke with told us outdoor gatherings during the first playoff game were great for their business.
That includes part of Chippewa, which Buffalo leaders closed off to traffic for an outdoor viewing party in the streets.
“We’re looking at 90-percent revenue loss – I mean, it’s literally bare bones right now,” said Rec Room owner Chris Ring. “So any sort of this like [the outdoor party] that can get us working again and generate some revenue can make or break a business.”
We reached out to city officials to see if they plan to hold this event again. A spokesperson says they are discussing their options with State and County leaders.
As for testing to get into the game, a BioReference spokesperson says ticket holders will receive an email with a scheduling link. It will take place Wednesday and Thursday starting at 6:30 a.m.