When we first learned that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted to attend the first post-season game of the Buffalo Bills after they secured a spot in the playoffs, I had assumed that he must have been joking. With coronavirus cases surging across upstate New York and lockdown orders still in place for many areas, the idea of opening up the Bills’ stadium for a huge gathering just so Cuomo could go watch the game seemed more than ludicrous. It was offensive. But rather than writing it off as an inappropriate joke and getting back to work, the Worst Governor in America continued to work on a plan that would allow him to attend the game along with a select group of fans.
Now, barely a week later, Cuomo has proven that you really can move mountains if you have the proper motivation. He’s finalized a plan that will allow nearly 7,000 fans into the stadium to watch the game. And the Governor himself will be first in line, of course. (NY Post)
A pandemic isn’t going to stop the Buffalo Bills from opening stadium gates for a playoff game for the first time in 24 years.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that 6,700 fans will be allowed inside Bills Stadium on the weekend of Jan. 9-10 for the Bills’ first home playoff game since Dec. 28, 1996. It is the first step in a first-in-the-nation pilot program launched by New York aimed at “re-opening businesses safely” during COVID-19, according to Cuomo, who said he will be attending the game.
The plan developed by the state, the Department of Health, the Bills and the NFL, calls for fans to show proof of testing negative for COVID-19 by a PCR test administered 72 hours before the game at a reduced cost to the fan of $63 plus $11 for parking. BioReference will conduct drive-thru testing in the stadium parking lots.
We should all be clear about the malarkey that Cuomo is spewing in an attempt to whitewash this embarrassing spectacle. He’s now describing this event as the beginning of a new program designed to “reopen business safely” as the pandemic begins to recede. Of course, there are two major problems with this attempt at public relations spinning.
First of all, there was no such plan in the works until the Bills locked up the AFC East. The entire state still hasn’t reached the point where Cuomo will allow normal service in bars and restaurants or larger outdoor gatherings (including weddings), to say nothing of packing thousands of people into a football stadium. This plan was cooked up because Andrew Cuomo himself wanted to go see the Bills play. But even he realized how horrible the optics would have been if he’d asked to be the only fan in the stadium, so he’s going to allow thousands of others to go.
The other point is that pandemic is not “receding” in New York State. At least not yet. Case numbers are rising in many counties and hospitalizations are also up. Yes, the vaccine has arrived in New York and it’s being distributed as quickly as possible, but only a relative handful of people have been inoculated thus far. The playoffs start in ten days. We’re not going to be anywhere near herd immunity by then. Even if every man woman and child could somehow get the vaccine, that still wouldn’t matter because the vaccine is given in two doses and takes up to two weeks after that for the full effects to set in. We’ve already seen a nurse come down with COVID a full week after being vaccinated.
I don’t care how much of a huge Bills fan the Governor is. He’s supposed to be putting the good of the citizens of New York ahead of his own lavish lifestyle. And yet, here we are. It’s simply incredible that an elected official can get away with this sort of behavior in plain view of the public and not face any repercussions. But Cuomo is still the Teflon Don, after all. Nothing ever impacts his approval rating. And given the state of New York’s media, where most of the headlines surrounding this story are little more than cheering for the Bills, that’s probably not going to change any time soon.