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In-Person Buffalo Bills Attendance Leads To Testing

There is a lot of excitement among Bills fans — and with good reason.

The nucleus Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have built appears primed for a deep playoff run this year and the type of sustained success that hasn’t been seen in Buffalo since the heyday of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed.

The excitement has prompted many to clamor for in-person attendance for Bills games during the playoffs. Surprisingly, perhaps even puzzingly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is permitting in-person attendance by allowing the team to use COVID-19 rapid tests to admit 6,700 masked fans to a home playoff game.

Fans will pay for their own testing, but the problem isn’t who’s paying for the tests. The problem is the use of the tests for a football game when there are other uses for those tests by people who couldn’t care less about football. Could rapid testing allow people to mourn loved ones at a grave site? Could rapid testing be a way for families to visit loved ones at nursing homes or hospitals? Why are the rules different?

We’re sure families who are missing loved ones would gladly pay for rapid testing too, but having a negative COVID test doesn’t help families in those situations. Businesses, particularly those in a microcluster, would love to have such an avenue given to them by the governor rather than having to fight the governor in court.

Last week, the owners of The Quarter in Buffalo and Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club in Cheektowaga, both involved in a lawsuit against Cuomo, said a judge has told the state to reach a compromise on bars and restaurants reopening indoor dining or provide scientific evidence to support the COVID-19 restrictions on the businesses. According to WKBW.com, Attorney Steve Cohen and others at HoganWillig have argued the governor’s closure of indoor dining is unconstitutional in part because indoor dining has not been statistically shown to spread COVID-19

On Dec. 11, during his press briefing, Cuomo said bars and restaurants, statewide, account for only 1.43% of COVID-19 cases while 73.84% of COVID-19 cases come from household or social gatherings.

It’s ironic that Cuomo, who has said he’s “following the science” more this year than Clara Peller asked “where’s the beef?” in her entire lifetime, is being sued by businesses for not following the science and hailed by football fans for similarly not following the science.

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