ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Based on the success of the Buffalo Bills playoff game model, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says large arenas can begin hosting professional sports and music events, starting February 23.

This applies to venues with a capacity greater than 10,000. These venues can hold a maximum of 10% capacity and seating will be assigned. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new information as part of Wednesday’s briefing.

“While we continue to fight COVID on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy re-opened intelligently and in a balanced way,” Cuomo said. “Live sports and entertainment have long been ingrained in the fabric of New York and the inability to hold events has only added to the isolation we have all felt at the hands of this virus. Thankfully, our pilot program to reopen Buffalo Bills games to fans was an unparalleled success and now we are taking that model and expanding it to other large venues across the state to not only reinvigorate local economies, but also help bring some fun and joy back into people’s lives as safely as possible.”

To reopen, sites must:

  • Obtain Department of Health approval for both venues and events
  • Institute a 10& capacity limit in arenas and stadiums
  • Ensure all staff and spectators receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event
  • Mandate face coverings, social distancing, and temperature checks for all those in attendance
  • Mandate assigned, socially distanced seating
  • Collect contact information from all those in attendance to help inform contact tracing efforts
  • Meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards
  • Ensure retail, food services, and athletic activities abide by all state-issued guidance