New Era Field

A view inside New Era Field prior to a Buffalo Bills game in Orchard Park.

New York state released guidelines for professional sports competitions as part of Phase 4 of reopening the state on Wednesday and it indicates that fans will not be permitted to attend Buffalo Bills games during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the document released by the state, mandatory and recommended conditions were outlined for when professional sports competitions take place. It listed six different guideline categories including physical distancing, workplace activity, protective equipment, hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, communication and screening.

One of the mandatory conditions in the physical distancing section reads: “Ensure that no live audience, fans, or spectators are allowed to attend or permitted to enter any professional sports venue, even if an outdoor venue. Prohibit fans from congregating outside the venue and implement a security plan to safely disperse any individuals that gather outside of the venue.”

That means that not only can fans not attend games but Bills backers will not be allowed to tailgate. Players and team staff will be required to maintain proper social distancing on the sidelines during games. Media interactions, including postgame interviews, must also happen using proper social distancing.

Reports on Wednesday also stated that the NFL is planning to cancel the first and fourth preseason games. That means that training camp begins on July 28 where teams will have 23 days to prepare for Week 1 of preseason football from Aug. 20-24. Week 2 of the preseason will happen from Aug. 27-31. The regular season begins on Sept. 10.