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Bills join Raiders as second NFL team to require vaccinated fans

Buffalo Bills fans will be required to show physical or approved digital proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations to attend games this season at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Photo by Idibri/Wikimedia Commons
Buffalo Bills fans will be required to show physical or approved digital proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations to attend games this season at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Photo by Idibri/Wikimedia Commons

Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The Buffalo Bills joined the Las Vegas Raiders as the second NFL team to require fans to be vaccinated to attend home games in 2021, the team announced.

The Bills and Highmark Stadium announced the policy Tuesday. All guests age 12 and older will be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to attend games at the 71,000-seat Orchard Park, N.Y, facility.

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The NHL's Buffalo Sabres announced the same policy for fans who attend their home games at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The teams said the move is in compliance with a directive from the Erie County Department of Health.

"We've worked collaboratively with the county over the last several weeks, months, all throughout the pandemic," said Ron Raccuia, vice president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Bills and Sabres.

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"We are looking to provide the safest environment for our fans that we possibly can. We're thankful for this collaboration. We feel like this is the right move going forward."

Fans who attend games on Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 will be allowed to enter the Highmark Stadium with one dose of a vaccine. Fans must be fully vaccinated for entry starting Oct. 31. Guests are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final shot.

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Guests who are 12 and under will be required to wear masks at all times while inside Highmark Stadium. Those who are vaccinated will not be required to wear masks.

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Vaccinated guests provide show proof with a physical vaccination card, New York State Excelsior Pass, Clear Digital Vaccine Card or government digital vaccine proof from outside New York.

Negative COVID-19 test results will not be accepted for entry.

The Bills hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first game of the season Sunday in Orchard Park. The team did not require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test results for fans to attend, but did require masks.

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The Bills face the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. They host the Washington Football Team on Sept. 26 at Highmark Stadium.

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