BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the Buffalo Bills are “not essential workers” during a Wednesday press conference. They were not given permission to drive by the county when they returned to Buffalo on Sunday amid the blizzard, he said.

“I don’t want anybody to think that Erie County gave preferential treatment to the Bills,” Poloncarz said. “I’m glad that they landed in Rochester, but there was not preferential treatment.”

The Bills had to stay an extra night in Chicago due to the blizzard and were unable to fly into Buffalo while the airport remained closed. When they did return to the area, videos of players digging out their cars and driving home went viral.

Poloncarz emphasized all of this took place during a driving ban and when the blizzard was still strong. He said the team reached out to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office to ask for an escort after they landed in Rochester, but were told no, saying officers “were responding to life-threatening situations.”

“As much as they’re essential for our mental health when they win, they are not essential workers,” Poloncarz said. “If they got capabilities, a CDL license and want to get behind a rig, we’ll take them on. If Josh [Allen] and them want to start shoveling driveways, be my guest. But the Bills are not considered essential workers.”