On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will not be attending the Buffalo Bills playoff game this weekend as originally planned, explaining he will be working on a rewrite of his State of the State address instead.
Cuomo will be giving his ticket to a nurse from Erie County Medical Center.
The decision to not attend the game comes as a petition was posted online protesting the governor's planned appearance. A protest was also expected at the game.
"We've got diehard fans who have been held from the stands all season long by Cuomo's orders and then all of a sudden we make it to the playoffs, we get a big spotlight, now Cuomo wants to lift his ban so he can attend the game — it's not right,” said Jeff Dorenzo, who started the petition that more than 40,000 others signed.
"I wasn't even expecting to get a thousand. I was expecting a couple hundred, some of my close friends laughing. Did not expect any of this.”
Cuomo further explained his State of the State address has to be rewritten as Democrats appear poised to win control of the U.S. Senate — creating an easier path for New York to receive federal assistance this year amid the financial fallout from the pandemic.
The state is moving forward with allowing 6,700 fans into Bills Stadium under what is being described as a potential model for other large and small planned gatherings in 2021.
Fans must be masked and socially distanced. They will also receive COVID-19 rapid tests and receive a negative result before entering the stadium.