Orchard Park inching closer towards tailgating decision

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Photo credit Buffalo Bills fans tailgate ahead of Monday Night Football game against the New England Patriots. October 29, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Thousands of people tailgate outside of Bills games each year, but public health and safety is at the forefront of the town’s discussions regarding whether or not fans can tailgate in the coronavirus era.

At a work session on Wednesday night, town officials voiced their concerns about tailgating even if no fans would be allowed at Bills games this season. They also wonder whether vendors should be allowed permits if there are no fans.

VIEW: Orchard Park work session (July 29)

“It’s not just a question of the enforcement of social distancing concerns with the Erie County Department of Health, there’s also a question of public safety,” Councilman Conor Flynn said. “If these events are going to be held and they get rowdy, are we going to be able to afford to pay overtime for our officers?”

The town is facing a roughly $750,000 deficit caused by the loss in sales tax, which is also factoring into their decision on whether tailgating is allowed.

Town Supervisor Patrick Keem told WBEN earlier this month the town will not be issuing any permits for any commercial lots. However, there is no formal proposal yet for residential lots.

The Buffalo Bills have not formally announced how many fans, if any, are allowed to attend games this season.

The Orchard Park Town Board will meet next Wednesday. Residential lot owners are expected to speak to the town.