Photo by Dave Warner – The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

New York State Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D, I-Utica/Rome) and State Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-I-C-Rome) announced that they have recently sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Health Commissioner, Howard A. Zucker, requesting the expansion of eligibility for stadium reopening to include those with capacities smaller than 10,000 people.  Although Cuomo has released the opening plans for major stadiums and arenas, no guidance has been given as to when smaller sports stadiums and facilities may be allowed to reopen.

Assemblywoman Buttenschon and Senator Griffo’s letter points out that Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium has already begun preparing plans for reopening, including restrictive occupancy limits, face-covering requirements and distancing and sanitation measures, based on guidance already provided by the state.

“Governor Cuomo’s plan to reopen stadiums is a great step forward. However, I’m asking that we dig deeper and look into smaller venues, like the Adirondack Bank Center, who are ready and willing to set the new standard in health and safety for arenas,” Assemblywoman Buttenschon stated. “As an epicenter of community pride and downtown resurgence, the Adirondack Bank Center has developed a thorough plan that will use new technology to eliminate face-to-face contact, demonstrating their commitment to their players, employees and guests. We must look at all venues, not just larger stadiums, to enact proper protocols while beginning to stimulate the local economy.”

“The Governor’s decision to allow limited capacity at the state’s larger arenas and stadiums is another arbitrary decision made by the administration during the coronavirus pandemic and is unfair to the other facilities throughout the state,” Senator Griffo stated. “If Madison Square Garden can accommodate thousands of people in accordance with established health and safety protocols, then the Adirondack Bank Center at Utica Memorial Auditorium and smaller arenas should also have the opportunity to present and implement plans that would allow them to reopen to the public safely.”

“We are extremely excited to hear about the steps moving forward that reintroduce fans back into sports venues, especially at our neighboring league venue in Rochester,” said Robert Esche, President of the Utica Comets. “We would love the opportunity to show solidarity across the State of New York by accommodating 10% of patrons in our building as well.”