New York is considering a plan that would allow up to 6,700 fans to attend a Buffalo Bills playoff game next month which could be a model for how future events are held in 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said.
The plan is yet to be approved and remains in its planing stages.
The outline of the plan, unveiled at a news conference, would require the pre-screening of fans before the game with COVID-19 rapid tests. Fans would be required to wear masks while inside the stadium and maintain social distancing.
Contact tracing of people who attended would be conducted after the game. The state is working with the team to iron out the details.
The plan could be used as a prototype for how events are held in 2021. Cuomo plans to discuss in his State of the State address next month a plan for remaining open while a vaccine is distributed.
"There will be winners and losers through this period," Cuomo said. "That's the really smart, long-term vision we have to have in this state. Can you reopen venues using rapid testing? Can you reopen venues using vaccinated people?"
NEW: Per @NYGovCuomo, NYS is working with @BuffaloBills on a prospective test program that would allow fans at their first playoff game.— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) December 23, 2020
While not a done deal, exciting that NYS is seriously considering a plan that would include testing and contact tracing of fans. pic.twitter.com/5DmXoUfopC
New York's economy, as well as the nation's, has suffered during the pandemic, swelling the ranks of the unemployed in the process.
"We can't go through nine months with restaurants shut," Cuomo said. "We have to come up with a smarter way to do this,"
Several states already allow limited numbers of fans to attend college and professional sporting events. Cuomo on Wednesday said New York's proposal of rapid testing and then tracing would be the first of its kind in the country.
But such as move also carries risk as the COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of letting up. There are now 6,684 people hospitalized due to the virus and 164 people have died in the last 24 hours, Cuomo said.
The statewide positive rate in the last day stood at 5.84% based on more than 204,000 test results.