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2021 Covid-19 pandemic coverage

2021 Covid-19 pandemic coverage

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A syringe is filled with a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Below you'll find our daily coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak. Here are also the latest map and statistics for Western New York.

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Dec. 2

As Covid cases and hospitalizations rise, Hochul presses steady, measured response: Gov. Kathy Hochul, under criticism from her Democratic gubernatorial opponents for her Covid-19 response, urged calm and said she would take a measured, scientific approach to handling the pandemic as residents head indoors for the winter months. Read more

Hundreds of cases dropped as DA's Office struggles with discovery rules, workload: What District Attorney John Flynn can't abide is what has happened in 2021, when he said his office dropped hundreds more misdemeanor cases than usual because a new state mandate and a Covid-related backlog that he said made it impossible for prosecutors to keep up. Read more

Roswell Park's Tree of Hope event is a Covid casualty – again: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center's annual Tree of Hope tree lighting will be virtual for the second straight year as another surge in Covid-19 cases causes Roswell Park, and many other institutions, to adjust operations to limit the spread. Read more

Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski enters Covid-19 protocol, UPL recalled: Unaffected by Covid-19 for the first quarter of the season, the Buffalo Sabres are finally forced to handle a player landing on the National Hockey League’s protocol list. Read more

Nov. 30

Outlying counties refuse to follow Erie County's lead on mask mandate: Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein continued Tuesday to promote the county's mask mandate as a means of quelling record-high Covid-19 caseloads while warning that even stricter measures could be coming. But they are leading a parade with no followers among other county governments. Read more

Erie County Covid rates prompt warning over holiday gatherings: Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein warned those without a vaccine should consider skipping holiday gatherings over the next few weeks. Read more

Canada will ease re-entry restrictions Tuesday, just as fears spread about a new variant: Canada on Tuesday will let its own residents cross the border and return within 72 hours without showing proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Read more

Chris Jacobs thinks vaccines are safe and effective – but he's fighting back against mandates: "While I believe the vaccines are safe and effective, I believe every American should have the right to make this decision without fear of punishment or retaliation from those supposedly elected to serve them," the congressman said. Read more

Niagara Falls hospital updates visitation rules amid Covid-19 surge: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center on Tuesday announced several changes to its policy. Read more

The Editorial Board: When ‘liberty’ becomes license to create public hazard, something has gone awry: In a democracy, individuals have both rights and responsibilities. Citizenship isn’t a free pass. With Covid-19 and the worrisome new Omicron variant, duty and common sense are calling. Read more

My View: Covid-19 thins our Thanksgiving herd: Being proactive, flexible and adaptable, especially in these times, is the only choice we have, writes Paula Voell. Read more

Nov. 29

Covid-19 testing company quits, Buffalo schools left in the lurch: Buffalo Public Schools is looking for another Covid-19 testing provider after the district learned Friday that the company that was doing it abruptly ceased operations. Read more 

Hochul focuses on Covid defenses in the face of a new variant and fears of a winter surge: The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has not yet arrived in New York State, but officials expect it’s just a matter of when and not if. Read more

Catholic Health to limit hospital visitation amid Covid-19 surge: Catholic Health System late Monday announced non-Covid patients in its hospitals will be limited to one visitor at a time during reduced hours, beginning Wednesday. Read more

Test-to-stay Covid program going in Grand Island schools as officials demand statewide action: County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein said in a written statement that a countywide program at this point “is simply not feasible.” A pilot program is the first step, she said. Read more

Buffalo Common Council going virtual due to Covid-19: The Buffalo Common Council will hold all of its meetings virtually due to rising Covid-19 cases in the region. Read more

Nov. 28

Vaccine politics, inaction blamed for spike in rural Covid-19 rates: While Erie County leaders continued to alert residents about rising percentages of Covid-19 cases – Erie County on Saturday had a 12% positivity rate – data indicated the situation is much worse in the region’s rural counties. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: How can we avoid giving (or getting) Covid for the holidays?: Western New York’s virus numbers are hot and getting hotter. Heading into a season of holiday gatherings, there’s little reason to think they’re going to settle down. Read more

ECMC to restrict patient visitation starting Monday: Beginning Monday, patients at ECMC will be limited to one visitor per day during a six-hour visitation window, the hospital announced Sunday. That visitor must undergo a Covid-19 screening upon arrival, which will include a temperature check at the door. Read more

The Editorial Board: State and local governments must do more to help schools cope with Covid: "If there is one facet of civic life that has suffered more than others during this unforgiving pandemic, it’s public education. It’s been battered around the country, in New York State and in Erie County," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Nov. 27

Hochul takes steps to address rising Covid-19 rates that top 10% in WNY: The 10.15% positive test rate for Western New York was the highest in the state, and nearly six times greater than the lowest region, New York City. Read more

The Editorial Board: Concrete goals for ending Covid policies could get more New Yorkers in sync: "Mask mandates are one of the tools that have proved effective in slowing the spread of coronavirus. They could gain wider acceptance, without losing their effectiveness, if they came with an on and off switch," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Nov. 26

Snarled supply chain scares some consumers into Christmas shopping early: Covid-19 hit Asian and European manufacturers hard, and sick or quarantined workers caused some factories to shut down. Expecting a dip in demand, shipping companies cut back. That proved to be a mistake as homebound shoppers hit the web and demand rose. Read more

The Editorial Board: News Neediest Fund needs your help as the pandemic keeps families on edge: "The pandemic has ravaged household budgets but, this being Western New York, those who are able have given generously to their neighbors. That generosity seems baked into the region’s DNA. Now, as the News Neediest Fund launches into its 40th year to help support families during the holidays with food and toys, it is asking once again that people with means dig deep," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Nov. 25

'We’re doing everything we can,' WNY hospitals say amid surge, capacity crunch: Western New York's hospitals continue to be near or at capacity, treating more patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and wary of how many more cases could crop up following the Thanksgiving weekend. Read more 

Another Voice: Employers should prepare to follow vaccine mandate: It’s uncertain whether the president’s mandate will survive the courts. But, hesitant private-sector workers should be aware that the governor could issue one too, and the result of her order would not be uncertain at all. Read more

Nov. 24

Erie County hits record for daily Covid cases, filling hospitals up: Erie County recorded 878 new cases, the highest one-day total since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Wednesday. Read more

Extra random Covid test rankles travelers to Canada: Just to be sure those people are healthy, Canadian border agents are randomly handing take-home testing kits to people arriving at border crossings and airports – and requiring that they take that Covid test on video with a nurse on the other end of a computer connection. Read more

Business group wants to overturn county mask mandate: A local law firm that has become known for opposing efforts to impose pandemic-related restrictions on businesses has come down against the mask mandate County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz imposed this week. Read more

The 'new stage' of the pandemic: Explaining WNY's winter surge and living with the virus: Depending on which numbers you watch, the Covid-19 pandemic either shows some signs of easing or is growing much worse. Both things can be true at once, though that doesn’t make for the tidiest public health message. Read more

Keep holiday stress from reaching a crescendo this atypical holiday season: A continuing pandemic. Unpredictable weather. Grief for those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 and other causes since the start of last year. Add an intense desire to bring more normalcy to the next several weeks and stress is certain to creep into the equation. Read more

Nov. 23

Covid cases among students, teachers hit record high in Erie County: With Erie County reinstating an indoor mask mandate this week and threatening more extreme restrictions if Covid-19 cases continue to increase, some local school superintendents say that at no point should the county require schools to go fully remote again. Read more

With mask mandate in effect, some bars switch to proof of vaccination: Some bars are requiring proof of vaccination as the mask rule went into effect ahead of Thanksgiving Eve, traditionally one of the busiest nights for bars in Buffalo. Read more

Despite plenty of 'help wanted' signs, local unemployment remains above pre-pandemic levels: The region's workforce, which normally would grow at a time when jobs are plentiful and companies are hiring, is instead shrinking. Read more

Unvaccinated WNY health care workers with religious exemptions could soon lose their jobs: Health care workers who were previously granted religious exemptions to the state's Covid-19 vaccine mandate are losing those exemptions, forcing them to get a valid medical exemption or get vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Are we too Covid hot to trot, disco and shop? Not necessarily: This year, two big Buffalo holiday events – the Turkey Trot and World's Largest Disco – are dealing with an uninvited guest: Covid-19. Read more

The Editorial Board: Masking requirement is a smart start to ease crowded hospitals, but restaurateurs should plan for vaccine mandate: "Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz took a necessary step Monday in responding to high hospitalization rates in Erie County," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Nov. 22

Mask mandate returns to Erie County, and tougher restrictions could be next: Mandatory mask-wearing is back in Erie County's restaurants, gyms and other public places, and the county executive is considering much more restrictive measures if Covid-19 hospitalizations increase. Read more

Here are the four phases of potential Covid-19 restrictions in Erie County: The indoor masking requirement is considered Phase 1 of a four-phase restrictions and shutdown plan if Covid cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. Read more

Bennett vs. McQuaid football to be fought in court then – maybe – on the field: The legal battle over which players will be allowed to play in a high school playoff football game is scheduled to continue Tuesday morning in a Buffalo courtroom. Read more

Nov. 20

Soaring local Covid-19 infection rates reach near-record levels: The 778 new cases reported in the county on Friday made it the third-highest day since the county started tracking cases. Thursday was close behind, as the fourth-highest day. Read more

Schools on edge as Covid-19 infections rise: Twenty-one months after schools first shut their doors for what was hoped would only be a few weeks, parents are shuddering that the unthinkable might again happen: That schools might be shut down for weeks at a time. Read more

Amid health care staffing crunch, employers adapt with short-term changes and hope for long-term fixes: Health care employment across the country is down by 524,000 since February 2020, with nursing and residential care facilities making up about 80% of the loss, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more

Bennett versus McQuaid football game postponed: Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz made the announcement via Twitter on Saturday afternoon roughly three hours before the scheduled 6:30 p.m. kickoff. Read more

Nov. 19

A trip to Canada isn't getting easier for Americans: Vaccinated Americans traveling to Canada will continue to have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon crossing the border. And a number of Americans who have been able to enter Canada without being vaccinated against Covid-19 will have to show proof of vaccination starting Jan. 15. Read more

As workers return to offices, hybrid schedules take root: As workers have grown more comfortable working from home, businesses are trying to strike a balance between returning to what was normal before the pandemic and a new dynamic in the labor market. Read more

Launched during pandemic, Craft Technical Institute now bursting at seams: "We're on the rebound, with seasoned people and a whole different mindset," said Frank Daniel, founder of the school. Read more

The Editorial Board: It seems to us – Canada takes a baby step, the Josh Allen sugar high and a school’s mascot flies in: "While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement on the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions for Canadians crossing the border will benefit American border businesses, it will do nothing for those in Canada," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: Join the culture club to ensure WNY’s arts venues have a future: "Western New York’s cultural institutions are coping with lagging attendance that has been slow to rebound since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Bailout money from the federal government, which helped many organizations in earlier months, is unlikely to be repeated," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Nov. 18

Erie County reduces quarantine to 7 days for close contacts: The Erie County Health Department has cut the quarantine for unvaccinated people who have close contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 to seven days, down from 10. Read more

If you need a Covid test in WNY, here's what to know: The Covid-19 testing landscape has changed dramatically since the early days of the pandemic. Read more

Buffalo schools to close Wednesday for staff, students to 'disconnect and refresh': Superintendent Kriner Cash told the School Board Wednesday night that the district is "on the cusp" of shutting down again. Read more

Bills' Spencer Brown put on Covid list, won't play against Colts: If he is unvaccinated, he also will miss the Thanksgiving game against New Orleans. Read more

Nov. 17

Canada to ease testing for returning citizens – but not Americans: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would announce its new border plan in a day or two. Read more

Rising Covid-19 cases causing WNY hospitals to fill up – again: Yet another surge of Covid-19 cases in Western New York is straining hospital resources and forcing an exhausted health care workforce back on its heels, drying up bed capacity across the region and leaving officials concerned heading into the holiday season. Read more

Nov. 16

Hochul worried by high Covid-19 rates: 'Go and get a booster now': Gov. Kathy Hochul urged anyone who lives in Western New York and other areas of the state with high Covid-19 transmission rates to get a booster if they wish. In her visit today to Buffalo, Hochul said Western New York's transmission rate of 8% is well above the 5% rate she considers "unacceptably high." Read more

Attendance still light, but cultural groups see hope in kids' vaccines: See how area cultural attractions are coping while waiting for attendance to get back to pre-pandemic levels. Read more

East Aurora teacher sues school district over vaccine, testing mandate: A teacher placed on unpaid leave at East Aurora High School for refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine or weekly diagnostic tests filed a $3.2 million lawsuit Tuesday. Read more

The Editorial Board: Covid's new targets here are unvaccinated children: There’s a bottom line to all of this: Not enough people are vaccinated and, because of them, Covid-19 is still a threat, here and in most other places around the country. Read more

Nov. 15

As WNY Covid cases soar, booster shots urged for all eligible adults: Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said there would be “no questions asked” if time-eligible adults want to get a booster, no matter what federal guidelines suggest about who is and who is not yet eligible. Read more

Nov. 14

Pandemic Lessons: What does a safe mask break look like – and do we need them?: In this installment of Pandemic Lessons, we tap the expertise of infectious disease physicians to find out how to do mask breaks well – until the day comes when we don’t need the breaks (or the masks) at all. Read more

Covid rates are climbing upstate. What is Hochul doing about it?: In contrast to Cuomo, Hochul has made clear from the start that local government experts would be in the driver’s seat for many Covid response decisions. Read more

Bills' Star Lotulelei placed on reserve/Covid-19 list, will not play against Jets: The Buffalo Bills placed defensive tackle Star Lotulelei on the NFL's reserve/Covid-19 list just hours before kickoff at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets. Read more

Nov. 13

New Covid-19 cases reach highest level since January: Erie County reported 714 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, the highest single-day total since January. Read more

Lawyers petition U.S. Supreme Court over NY vaccine mandate: Lawyers representing 17 health care workers in New York have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in their battle to overturn Gov Kathy Hochul's industry-wide vaccine mandate. Read more

Nov. 12

Covid cases are rising in younger people. So are urgent calls to get them vaccinated: Doctors and medical experts have been making the case for weeks for getting children vaccinated: It keeps them from getting seriously sick, keeps them in school and activities and protects family members. The most recent data about Covid cases suggests the initiative is coming just in time. Read more

The case for boosters? Breakthrough infections coming from earliest vaccine recipients: Research shows that while breakthrough infections are rising, the vaccines are doing what they are supposed to do when it comes to preventing serious illness and death in most people. Read more

Pandemic lawsuits have become top priority in Erie County Attorney's Office: The County Attorney's Office has been named in a dozen lawsuits over the past year and a half. That figure doesn't count other Covid-related lawsuits in state and federal court that originated in Erie County but were filed against New York and excluded Erie County. Read more

Nov. 11

More pandemic confusion, this time about vaccinations for Section VI games: Plans by fans and family members to attend weekend Section VI football finals at Highmark Stadium were thrown into confusion Wednesday over whether they had to be vaccinated. Read more

The Editorial Board: Give students masking breaks but tie the policy to crucial pandemic statistics: "The confusion over student mask breaks is aggravating and based on what looks like crossed wires and careless communication." Read more

Nov. 10

For Buffalo area businesses, it's all about finding workers: Workforce, workforce, workforce. As Western New York tries to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, that's the mantra that's dominating the agenda of all area employers, large and small. Read more

Nov. 9

County letter, 'inconsistent' rules, stir confusion over mask breaks in schools: Being allowed to take a break from wearing a mask in school seems to depend on where you go to school. The practice is a common one in many classrooms throughout New York, but a letter from Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale R. Burstein to Williamsville Central Schools caused confusion when it said that New York State does not permit students to take mask breaks. Read more

Landlords file lawsuit over eviction moratorium they say causes 'tremendous harm': Some three dozen landlords say their inability to evict tenants who assert a Covid-19 financial hardship has caused them to suffer "tremendous harm," with some at risk of losing not only their rental properties, but their own homes, according to their State Supreme Court filing. Read more

Bills place wide receiver Jake Kumerow on the Reserve/Covid-19 list: Kumerow is the fourth Buffalo Bill to go on the list in the last week. He joins quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, practice squad quarterback Jake Fromm and practice squad wide receiver Tanner Gentry, who all went on the list last week and remain there. Read more

Nov. 8

U.S. border reopens to nonessential traffic as push is made for Canada to lift testing rule: As the U.S. border reopened to nonessential traffic Monday, area government leaders urged Canadian officials to lift a 72-hour Covid-19 testing requirement in addition to proof of vaccination to gain admittance into Canada. Read more

Erie, Niagara still mulling test-to-stay option: "Right now, we are busy collecting information to make sure that if we do decide to impart on a test-to-stay that we will have the best plan possible," said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. Read more

How many unvaccinated hospital workers in WNY lost their jobs?: When the state's vaccination mandate for health care workers became effective Sept. 27, some Western New York hospitals opted to place unvaccinated workers on a 30-day unpaid leave. With that period now expired, just how many unvaccinated workers lost their jobs? Read more

Another Voice: Resistance has been a constant in history of vaccines: "At a time when 99% of those killed by Covid-19 are unvaccinated and more police are dying from the virus than from violence, we must end today’s resistance to vaccination based on a failure to understand medical science or a distorted view of individual freedom in a civilized society." Read more

Nov. 7

Critics say Canadian test mandate snarls normal border traffic: "The cost, the inconvenience and the unpleasant nature of the test are a major buzz-kill to tomorrow's opening," U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins said Sunday. Read more

Covid-19 vaccination rate climbs statewide; so do positive test rates in WNY: "The weather is getting colder, and friends and family will be spending more time indoors, increasing the risk of transmission and threatening the incredible progress we've made so far," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday afternoon as she reported almost 111,500 new vaccines were given during the previous 24 hours. Read more

The Editorial Board: As U.S. reopens the door from Canada, both nations need to encourage travelers: Starting Monday, the U.S. border is reopened to fully vaccinated Canadian adults. Children under 18 don’t have to be vaccinated as long as they’re traveling with a fully vaccinated adult. Read more

Nov. 6

Kids and the Covid-19 vaccine: 'It gives an extra layer of protection': Oishei Children's Hospital and the Erie County Health Department teamed up to offer a vaccination clinic for 5- to 11-year-olds who became eligible for the vaccine Wednesday. Read more

Bills place Mitchell Trubisky on Covid-19 list; Jon Feliciano on injured reserve: Trubisky joins practice squad quarterback Jake Fromm on the list, leaving the Bills with just starter Josh Allen and Davis Webb at the position. Read more

The Editorial Board: Federal vaccine mandate, approval for children's shots suggest a happier new year on the horizon: "It’s possible that history will show 2022 as the year we finally put this wretched pandemic behind us," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Nov. 5

Clinics prep to vaccinate kids ages 5-11: Health departments, hospitals and pediatricians offices are preparing to accommodate a whole new segment of the population with a whole bunch of fun stuff geared toward making the process a little less scary. Read more

Why can't WNY get over the Covid hump?: The Covid-19 pandemic didn't improve locally in October, but no one is certain exactly why that's so. Read more

Private employers rush to prepare for vaccine mandate: Many private-sector employers have been reluctant to impose vaccine mandates, at a time when they're worried about keeping employees on board. Read more

Acquisition, Airbus jetliner drive sales growth for Moog amid pandemic: Specifically, the company had been prepared for full-year earnings of $3.50 per share. Instead, it yielded $4.87 per share. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Childhood vaccinations aren't just about your kid: Kids ages 5 to 11 can now receive Pfizer shots. In this Pandemic Lessons, we explore the safety and implications of those vaccinations. Read more

Nov. 4

The Editorial Board: Court rulings, Bills stadium crackdown give teeth to needed vaccine requirements: "One problem with religious exemptions is their potential for abuse," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Nov. 3

As Covid-19 cases rise, health departments set up vaccination clinics for young children: "We are busy organizing clinics to make sure that we have access to everybody in the community who decides not to go to their pediatrician to get that vaccine. We just want to make it easy for people," Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said. Read more

Fan who boasted of fake vaccine card at Bills game being investigated by state: According to a story by RochesterFirst, the website of WROC TV, Kimberly Ray, the former host of the "Kimberly and Beck" radio show in Rochester, is being investigated by the New York State Department of Health after she posted a tweet indicating she used a fake vaccination ID card to get into Highmark Stadium. Read more

Local craft breweries slowed during the pandemic, but boom that created them continues: “One of the bigger feel-good stories of the pandemic was the way local support really turned out for breweries,” said Ethan Cox, part owner of Community Beer Works and a New York State Brewers Association board member for the last eight years. Read more

Nov. 2

U.S. border officials prepare for return of Canadian travelers: Here's what to know about what will happen when crossing the border starting Monday. Read more

Two new Covid-19 #VaxtoSchool pop-up vaccination sites open up in Niagara County: In September, Hochul announced that a total of 120 new #VaxtoSchool pop-up vaccination sites would take place over a 12-week period across the state. To date, 146 such sites have been set up. Read more

Sabres game day: Injured Olofsson likely out; Covid looming large over Sharks: Even though they are all fully vaccinated, the San Jose Sharks are enduring a Covid-19 outbreak that will leave them heavily short-handed for their game against the Buffalo Sabres. Read more

NFL deadline passes without any trades by Buffalo Bills; 2 players put on practice squad Covid-19 list: The Bills placed quarterback Jake Fromm and wide receiver Tanner Gentry on the practice squad Covid-19 list Tuesday. Read more

Nov. 1

More unvaccinated Bills fans caught trying to enter Highmark Stadium: The Erie County Health Department stopped 258 people from entering Highmark Stadium for Sunday's Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins game because the fans failed to show proper documentation to prove their vaccination status. Read more

The Editorial Board: Unvaccinated residents create a holiday season hazard: "With infection rates rising in the five-county region of Western New York, it’s plain that not enough people are doing either," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Oct. 31

Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney is ready to be more than just a feel-good story: The Buffalo Bills’ third-year tight end was unable to play in the 2020 season on doctor’s orders, as he became the first, and to date, only known NFL player to develop myocarditis following a Covid-19 infection. Read more

Oct. 30

WNY's Covid-19 rate climbs: 'We just can't really shake this plateau of cases.': The Covid-19 positivity rate in the five-county Western New York region, calculated on a seven-day average, rose on Friday to 5.3%, up from 5.23% on Thursday and 4.69% on Wednesday. Read more

Proof of Covid vaccine will be required for travelers crossing into U.S. by land: When the U.S. opens its land border crossing to visitors on Nov. 8, they will have to show proof of vaccination and also state a reason for making the trip, the Department of Homeland Security announced Saturday. Read more

The Editorial Board: To keep more students out of quarantine, give test-and-stay protocols a chance: "In battling through the pandemic, it’s too early to declare victory, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give new tactics a try," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: Return of border travel demands patience, resources: "With the recent announcement of a reopening of our ports to U.S.-bound vaccinated Canadian travelers as of Nov. 8, we are beginning to see a light at the end of a long tunnel as it relates to an eventual return of normalcy to this binational partnership" write Kathleen Neville and Ken Bieger. Read more

Oct. 29

Are vaccinated Bills fans nicer? Poloncarz suggests they are: Poloncarz said that incidents of rowdy behavior have fallen since the vaccination mandate went into effect. He also said contact tracers are receiving fewer reports of positive Covid-19 cases coming from people who attended the games. Read more

Oct. 28

State provides guidance for schools on 'test-to-stay' procedures: The test-to-stay guidance comes in response to a growing push by school superintendents and parents who have pointed out that very few students who are forced to stay home because they are considered close contacts of a Covid-19-positive person at school wind up becoming infected. Read more

Oct. 27

Covid deaths in recent months are higher than same period last year: Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have trended downward over the past couple of weeks, suggesting the latest surge is past its peak. Read more

With few positive tests for quarantined students, calls grow for 'test to stay' option: More superintendents are pushing for the "test to stay" model, being used successfully in several other states. Read more

Oct. 26

The Editorial Board: The way to avoid vaccine mandates is for more Americans to get vaccinated: If the country could get to 90% of residents fully vaccinated, according to the latest estimates, we would achieve herd immunity and mandates wouldn’t be needed. Read more

Oct. 24

Moog employee walkout reflects vaccine mandate debate: Some of Moog Inc.'s employees temporarily walked off their jobs on Monday in Elma to protest a vaccine mandate scheduled to take effect at the manufacturer in December. Read more

Krog Group set to resume work on Trico project, with apartments replacing planned hotel: The Krog Group is getting ready to restart work on its pandemic-delayed Trico project in downtown Buffalo, without the extended stay hotel originally planned, but with more than 100 additional apartments. Read more

Oct. 23

WNY Covid rates hold steady; Erie County reports 3 deaths: The five-county area included in Western New York had a three-day average of 4.46% of tests administered coming back positive. The statewide average is 2.2%. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: How has Covid changed us for good?: The pandemic has transformed our way of thinking about health year-round, but especially in the late fall and winter. Read more

Unlike spring, finding Covid booster or shot for your child should be no trouble: State and local officials say, no one will need to wait in line for hours or drive across the state to find a shot. Read more

Oct. 22

David Robinson: Why the Buffalo Niagara jobs recovery has 'hit a wall': The recovery from the staggering job losses caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, which wiped out one of every five jobs in April 2020, has stalled out at a time when we're still down more than 26,000 jobs from pre-pandemic levels two years ago. Read more

Oct. 21

Poll: New Yorkers split on whether worst of pandemic is over: A new poll out this morning by Siena College also shows that New Yorkers are comfortable going to the grocery store these days amid Year 2 of Covid, while fewer feel the same way about attending sporting events or going to a movie theater. Read more

M&T Bank announces plan to bring workers back to the office: The bank has set Jan. 10 as the target date for nonbranch employees to start returning to the bank's offices for part of their work week. Read more

Oct. 19

Weekly totals of new Covid-19 infections decline for first time since July: The Health Department received reports of 1,818 new cases of Covid-19 among Erie County residents, 32 fewer than the 1,850 cases reported for the week ending Oct. 9. Read more

Oct. 18

Holiday workers have more options this year – and many aren't choosing retail: After scrambling for workers the past 18 months, companies are growing more desperate heading into the frantic holiday shopping season. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: When do we know it's OK to listen to the science?: “Science is not built on a single study,” said Sumit Chanda, an infectious diseases expert at Scripps Research and a Williamsville native. “It’s built on a body of work that is done by multiple, independent people and labs that build a consensus around our understanding.” Read more

My View: Despite severe reaction, I remain pro-vaccine: George Grace of Buffalo developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome after getting an influenza shot. Read more

Oct. 16

The Editorial Board: Covid’s impact on business conferences puts new convention center out of reach: "Now is not the time to commit a few hundred million more to a sparkling new site for conventions," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Oct. 15

U.S. side of Canadian border to open Nov. 8: The opening comes nearly three months after Canada opened its land borders to vaccinated Americans. However, significant differences will remain over how the two nations manage their newly reopened land border crossings. Read more

Oct. 13

Health sectors see 3% reduction in staffing since state vaccination mandate: Gov. Kathy Hochul characterized as “fluid” the numbers regarding overall staff reductions seen since the mandate kicked in on different dates for health workers. Read more

Two phases, vax requirements planned for reopening of U.S. side of Canadian border: The first phase of the reopening will begin in early November, when fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation will be allowed to cross U.S. land borders for nonessential reasons. Read more

Poloncarz: Judge's mask mandate ruling a 'vindication' of Erie County's pandemic efforts: State Supreme Court Justice E. Jeannette Ogden dismissed a lawsuit by Christian Central Academy in which the school sought to be exempted from public health orders mandating masks be worn by students and staff. Read more

The Editorial Board: Vaccine appeal is necessary as judge buys phony religious claim that even churches reject: "As most religions note – with Pope Francis in the lead – there is no legitimate religious reason for refusing a vaccination. It’s simply a convenient excuse that drags the First Amendment into an issue where it doesn’t belong," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: Canadians can soon visit the U.S., whose approach our neighbors should evaluate: "While the United States was slower than Canada to reopen its land borders, Canada’s experience has been less productive than government leaders, businesses and others had hoped. That is at least partly because Canada requires travelers to jump through more hoops," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: Patients deserve choice of treatment with ivermectin: "To be clear, these are potential treatments – not a cure. These prescriptions do not and should not replace the Covid immunization, if that is something you have chosen to receive. This country was built on freedom of choice. Covid should not limit our choices. Americans should be made aware of these options, no matter on which side of the aisle you sit," writes Lori Luzi. Read more

Oct. 12

Judge keeps religious exemption option open to New York health workers refusing vaccine: In a closely watched showdown over religious freedom claims versus public health needs, a federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction to halt New York State from enforcing a Covid-19 vaccine mandate on health care workers who claim a religious objection. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: We never thought it would last this long. What's next?: Medical experts are concerned about a repeat of the Covid spike following Halloween and Thanksgiving and heading into the holiday season. Read more

The Editorial Board: Bad behavior by ‘adults’ force Clarence, Orchard Park schools to resort to virtual meetings: "There was reason last month to think the dunces had been educated, at least in Orchard Park." Read more

Oct. 11

Mask protests prompt Clarence, Orchard Park to take board meetings virtual: Two local school boards are switching to fully remote meetings, after meetings last month were interrupted when audience members refused to wear face masks. Read more

Oct. 10

Three Western New Yorkers latest to die of Covid-19: Two Erie County residents and one person from Allegany County were among the 34 people statewide who died of Covid-19 Saturday. Read more

The Editorial Board: Vaccine mandates work: Despite the protests and outcry, ultimatums drive up inoculation rates: "Mandates are tough medicine that are needed to get the job done," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Oct. 9

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is back in business and looking ahead: Several large convention center events, attracting hundreds to thousands of people, are planned between now and year's end. Read more

The extra $300 in unemployment is gone. Where are all the workers?: Employers, hobbled by a labor shortage, hoped workers would come rushing back in September, once the additional $300 in federal supplemental payments dried up. So far, they haven't. Retailers and restaurants are still opening later and closing early. Manufacturers are running shorthanded. And help wanted signs are everywhere. So if the supplemental payments are no longer giving workers an incentive to stay home, what's going on? Read more

Oct. 8

Refresh Takes: Life expectancy fell last year, mostly because of Covid-19: The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 swept away years of climbing life expectancy in Europe and the U.S., hitting American males the hardest, according to a study released last week by Oxford University researchers in Great Britain. Read more

Oct. 6

Covid-19 prompts Erie County leaders to wonder 'When is it over?': Local leaders are giving voice to a sense of restlessness as the news regarding Covid-19 starts to feel a bit recycled. Read more

ICU beds in WNY hospitals filling up – but not with Covid-19 patients: State and Erie County health officials declined to say whether the shrinking available ICU space is cause for concern, or what steps they would direct local hospitals to take if the trend continues. Read more

UB salutes Vaccine Hub leaders with executive award: The three co-leaders of the Western New York Vaccination Hub will share this year's Buffalo Niagara Executive of the Year award. Read more

Buffalo International Film Festival returns with in-person, virtual screenings: The festival includes movies produced in and around Buffalo, 12 programs of shorts and a collection of documentaries. Read more

Oct. 5

Hochul: Herd immunity now requires 90% or higher vaccination rate: Gov. Kathy Hochul, speaking to reporters Tuesday on the pandemic, said it's now clear that herd immunity will be more difficult to achieve due to the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, and that the state needs to get "more creative" in increasing vaccination rates. Read more 

No chicken tenders for lunch? School cafeterias squeezed by supply chain delays: National and local supply chain issues are being felt in schools throughout the country, as well as in Western New York, as food service directors scramble to procure packaging materials, dairy, produce, grains and meat. Read more

Oct. 4

Man admits threatening Poloncarz over Covid mandates, gets community service: A Genesee County man has admitted sending a threatening message related to the Covid-19 mandates to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and has been sentenced to serve 50 hours of community service, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office. Read more

Sign of economic recovery: Proposed Erie County budget has pre-pandemic revenues, spending: County Executive Mark Poloncarz's budget allocates millions in new grants to support businesses and struggling families; earmarks millions more for major roads, buildings and parks projects; reinvests higher sales tax revenue; and creates more county jobs. Read more

Sean Kirst: After precious time lost to pandemic, Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight resumes: Saturday, Don Saville, 96, and one of his children will join 35 other veterans and family members on the first Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight to travel to Washington, D.C., since before the pandemic. Read more

The Editorial Board: An avoidable calamity sweeps the country as too many remain unvaccinated: "It’s disturbing but hardly surprising, then, that the nation just crossed the 700,000 threshold of Covid-19 deaths." Read more

Oct. 3

'You're making a difference': Plea by Mark Hamister's children sways some of the unvaccinated: Dan and Katie Hamister decided to disclose their father's vaccine status, and the cause of his death, because they didn't want another family to endure what they've experienced. Read more 

Pandemic Lessons: How effective is natural immunity?: In this “Pandemic Lessons,” we explore vaccination versus natural immunity. The questions, it turns out, are more precise than the answers. Read more

Covid-19 infections holding steady in WNY, state data shows: Erie County logged the second-highest number of deaths and third-highest number of new cases in the state. Read more

Oct. 2

Vaccine outreach easier 'when it's somebody that they can relate to': In Erie County, 65.9% of the population has at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the state Department of Health. Read more

About 1% of Bills fans referred to secondary review for vaccination proof at Highmark Stadium: With tens of thousands of Bills fans trying to enter Highmark Stadium for every home game, how much vaccination vetting occurs? Read more

State won't say if vaccine mandate prompted nursing homes to activate emergency plans: At 12 nursing homes across the state, more than 20% of workers had not received a Covid vaccination as of Wednesday. Read more

Oct. 1

Student vaccination rates at ECC, other community colleges lag 4-year SUNY schools: About 1,000, or less than 2%, of the 51,000 students attending public colleges and universities in WNY have yet to submit proof that they are fully vaccinated, and most of them are enrolled at ECC. Read more

Sept. 30

WNY's hospitals, at lowest bed capacity so far this year, face more pressure: Western New York's hospital capacity is hovering around its lowest level for all of 2021, squeezed by Covid-19 cases and hundreds of workers losing their jobs or being put on leave because of the state's vaccination mandate. Read more

More suburban communities struggling with higher number of Covid cases: The towns of Hamburg, West Seneca and Tonawanda had more than 90 new confirmed cases reported last week. Meanwhile, some Buffalo and rural community ZIP codes reported fewer than five cases. Read more

Hochul to expand vaccine mandate to health workers in prisons, mental health facilities: Unlike hospital and nursing home workers, employees in those facilities have been able to bypass the vaccination requirement with a weekly test. Read more

A jab or a job? For these health care workers, the answer is life-changing: Whether it's for religious reasons, fears about long-term effects or because they believe it infringes on their freedom, some health care workers have decided to leave their careers rather than get a shot. Read more

Canisius College requires vaccination for attendance at all home sporting events: On Oct. 29, Canisius will require spectators to show proof of full vaccination at its sporting events, including events at Koessler Athletic Center, KeyBank Center, LECOM Harborcenter and at the Burt Flickinger Center pool at Erie Community College. Read more

The Editorial Board: Vaccine mandate hastens the need to restructure New York's nursing homes: "Because of the pandemic, and the refusal of some people to be vaccinated, the pressures on nursing homes are rising quickly – especially on those that lack any financial cushion or whose owners are in it for the wrong reasons," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Sept. 29

Hospital workers' overall vaccination rates rise, but questions still remain: The new vaccine dashboard run by the health department shows 87% of hospital workers are vaccinated, up from 84% on Sept. 22. Read more

Former New York City health commissioner tapped to lead state health department: Dr. Mary Bassett will replace Dr. Howard Zucker, who ran the state’s Covid-19 response efforts for more than a year and came under criticism for some of the decisions he made. Read more

Niagara Falls Memorial to hold Covid booster shot clinics twice weekly: Those who are eligible for Covid-19 vaccine booster shots will have an option to obtain a booster shot twice a week at free clinics in Niagara Falls. Read more

Sept. 28

On first day, vaccine mandate having varied impacts on hospitals, nursing homes: Has a staffing crisis erupted at health facilities in New York because of non-compliance by thousands of workers who refused Gov. Kathy Hochul’s order – which took effect Monday – that they get vaccinated against Covid-19? Read more

Rise in vaccinations in Erie, Niagara counties follows new mandates: Faced with the threat of being locked out of college, a Bills game or a job, more local residents are rolling up their sleeves. Read more

Alan Pergament: Local TV news needs to do better job putting Covid-19 vaccination protests in context: The comments heard on broadcasts Saturday by the unvaccinated cried out for needed context since failing to provide it allowed those talking to spread their illogical views, Pergament says. Read more

Two Thursday night football games postponed: Albion High School is 3-0, but will miss its second consecutive game on Covid-19 pause. Read more

Sept. 27

Vaccine mandate affects Buffalo area hospital jobs, services: The state's vaccine mandate for health care workers hit home on Monday, with some workers scrambling to get shots at the last minute, while others lost their jobs because they refused vaccinations, prompting some hospitals to curtail some elective surgeries. Read more

Nursing homes with most unvaccinated workers among WNY's worst-rated: As of Saturday, 87% of workers in the 70 nursing homes in Western New York had received at least one Covid-19 shot. But at eight nursing homes in Western New York, more than 20% of the workers were unvaccinated as of Saturday. Read more

More than 500 Covid-19 cases in schools in Erie, Niagara counties: There were 517 cases reported as of Friday: 443 students, 37 teachers and 37 staff members. Read more

After a year of 'Pandemic Lessons,' a question: What do – and don’t – we know?: One year after this series began, Western New York’s average case count exceeds 400 per day, and though the rate of spread is slowing, the steepest rise is among unvaccinated children. Read more

The Editorial Board: Standing firm on health care mandate, governor puts public health above politics: "The vaccine mandate for health care workers represents Hochul’s first major policy test," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Sept. 26

Facing staff shortage, Catholic Health postpones some Monday surgeries: Gov. Kathy Hochul's order that all health care workers must be vaccinated against Covid-19 takes effect Monday. As of Sunday afternoon, Catholic Health spokeswoman JoAnn Cavanaugh said 90% of Catholic Health's workers are now vaccinated. Read more

Kaleida reports 97% of 'patient-facing' workers are vaccinated: Kaleida Health reported that 94% of its employees overall have been vaccinated against Covid-19 as of 6 p.m. Sunday. Read more

4 Bills fans barred from stadium for having no proof of vaccination: Erie County public health sanitarians refused entry to only four fans on secondary checks for proof of vaccination, Health Department spokeswoman Kara Kane said. Sunday's announced attendance of 68,434 was about 3,400 below capacity, and below the pre-mandate crowd of 69,787 on Sept. 12. Read more

Sept. 25

Hochul prepares for health care staffing shortages from vaccine mandate: Declaring a state of emergency and deploying the National Guard are among the plans Gov. Kathy Hochul announced today for preparing for staffing shortages in the wake of Monday's deadline to have all health care workers vaccinated against Covid-19. Read more

'Just let me go to the game': Canadian Bills fans shut out from stadium: Canadians were as excited as anyone to return to Highmark Stadium – especially for a season with high expectations for another deep playoff run. But now, they are selling off their tickets a game or two at a time, hoping the border will open before the Oct. 31 home contest against the Dolphins. Read more

Inside the NHL: When it comes to media access, things are shuffled around the league: Players, coaches and media around the NHL are again getting used to in-person interactions, after the 2020 playoffs and the entire 2021 season were spent solely on video calls. Read more

Sept. 24

Three WNY hospital systems to put unvaccinated workers on leave: As the state's mandate for health care workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 approaches Monday, three of the region's major hospital systems are warning employees they will be put on leave if they don't comply. Read more

Staffing shortages at nursing homes may worsen with vaccine mandate: Twenty-nine percent of the nursing home workers in Western New York are not fully vaccinated. Statewide, 25% are not fully vaccinated. Read more

Canisius College staff, students must get Covid-19 vaccine: Students must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18, the start of the spring semester. Read more

Refresh Takes: Paid sick leave for Covid-19? Now they tell us: Emergency Covid-19 paid sick leave has been available to almost all U.S. workers throughout the pandemic, but most haven’t known about it – and coverage ends Thursday. Read more

Another Voice: Pandemic policies are diluting our state's work ethic: "Almost every employer I have encountered is desperate to hire workers," writes State Sen. George Borrello. Read more

Sept. 23

New guidelines may mean fewer students on quarantines: After hundreds of Erie County students were quarantined in the first two weeks of school, parents and educators are hoping Erie County's easing of school quarantine requirements will mean fewer students will have to miss school. Read more

'It's not good enough': Schools grapple with home learning amid quarantine spike: With Covid cases again on the rise, a number of Erie County schools are seeing entire classrooms or grades placed in quarantine. Read more

Hochul wrestles with pandemic as state health boss resigns amid vaccine mandate: “There’s not going to be a change in my position," she said of the vaccine mandate for state health care workers. Read more

In promoting vaccinations, Hochul lays on 'mom guilt,' signs up football heroes: Hochul again urged parents whose children are eligible for shots to have them roll up their sleeves, and also sent the same message to health care workers who will be barred from working in the state as of Monday if they are unvaccinated. Read more

Gillibrand calls border shutdown 'an outrage': "I'm very disturbed and concerned that this border has not been opened," said Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a New York Democrat. Read more

No shot, no show: WNY venues adopt stricter protocols for live music, events: The vaccine reality sets in for Western New York music fans this weekend, when country megastar Eric Church brings his "Gather Again" tour to Buffalo. Read more

Sabres' GM says team is 100% vaccinated as training camp begins: They join four other Atlantic Division teams whose general managers have said their teams are 100% vaccinated: Boston, Toronto, Ottawa and Tampa Bay. Read more

The Editorial Board: Vaccine refusal within medical facilities creates a risk that needs to be monitored: "Fortunately, most health professionals in the region are making the right call," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Sept. 22

ECMC to restrict new patient admissions due to staff vaccine mandate: Erie County Medical Center expects to lose about 400 hospital workers due to the new state vaccination mandate at a time when it's seeing record numbers of patient admissions. Read more

David Robinson: How the labor shortage is boosting wages for some of the lowest-paid jobs: Competition for front-line and entry-level employees, combined with the steady rise in the minimum wage, have pushed up earnings sharply for workers at the low end of the wage scale. Read more

Sept. 21

Children 18 and younger see sharpest Covid-19 rise in Erie County: The weekly total of Covid-19 cases in Erie County among children ages five to 10 rose by 76% over the course of one week. Read more

As concerts move indoors, it's a fall feast for live music fans: The fall will offer a full palette of delights for music aficionados. Read more

Jeff Miers: Live music’s survival depends on you: "Going about your business as if nothing has changed, while the Covid-19 Delta variant spreads, is not going to cut it," writes Jeff Miers. Read more

Sept. 20

U.S. extends land border closure through Oct. 21: During a videoconference, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients announced new rules that will allow vaccinated travelers to fly into the U.S. from overseas starting in November. But near the end of the call, he acknowledged that the closure of the land borders will continue – although he didn't explain why. Read more

New York's fiscal picture improving, but with much still to worry about:  The budget document, closely read by Wall Street credit rating agencies and other fiscal watchers, quickly warned: “Missing from the picture, but of great concern, are the risks and uncertainties created by the pandemic. Read more

UB latest to require vaccine; 762 fans turn in Bills season tickets: Anyone who wants to see a slap shot at KeyBank Center, a jump shot at the University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena or Alexander Hamilton get shot at Shea's Performing Arts Center has to get the Covid-19 shot. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Are we headed for a vaccinated-versus-not existence?: Recent vaccination orders will broaden an already noticeable chasm between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Read more

Sept. 18

Percentage of WNY's Covid patients in ICUs remains manageable, but doctors fear increase: Two of the region's top Covid-19 doctors say they wouldn't be surprised if intensive care caseloads jump again, and soon. Read more

The Editorial Board: Vaccination requirements at football stadium, hockey arena serve the public: "The need for these rules are evident to anyone paying attention." Read more

Sept. 17

How the Bills and Sabres vaccine mandate came to be and the question of fairness: Erie County's announcement this week requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination for all those attending events at Highmark Stadium or KeyBank Center is being called many things: necessary, controversial, overdue, unfair. But two things it is not are spontaneous or new. Read more

Lawsuit claims health commissioner lacks authority to impose mask mandate: The suit names Gov. Kathleen Hochul, the New York State Department of Health, and its commissioner, Howard Zucker, as defendants. Read more

Refresh Takes: Vast majority of wealthiest, most educated health workers got Covid vaccine: The American Association for Respiratory Care and nearly 60 other leading health organizations this summer called for health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Read more

Bills' Cole Beasley, Reid Ferguson buying unvaccinated fans tickets to road games: The players’ gestures have drawn a wide range of responses online, from applause to condemnation. Read more

The Editorial Board: Hochul is right to push vaccine mandate if more students don’t get inoculated: The vaccine squeamish recoil from the word “mandate,” but every parent knows that public health laws require a series of inoculations for students. Read more

Sept. 16

Hiring slows to a crawl as Covid rattles the Buffalo Niagara job market: Hiring came almost to a halt across the Buffalo Niagara region last month – a concerning sign that the recovery from the Covid-19 recession is stalling out just as cases are on the rise. Read more

Shea's to require proof of vaccination starting Oct. 10: Effective with “Tootsie,” on stage from Oct. 10 to 16, patrons 12 and older will need to provide proof of at least one dose of Covid-19 to attend performances. Read more

The Editorial Board: Homeland Security chief can’t explain why we still refuse vaccinated Canadians: "What possible reason could there be to keep out Canadians who are vaccinated and willing to prove they aren’t infected?" writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Sept. 15

Hochul defends vaccine mandate while ordering new mask-wearing edicts: "It's the smart thing to do and we have to continue the mandates," the governor said. "This is not intended to be dictatorial; this is intended to save lives." Read more

Unmasked parents challenge mandate at Orchard Park School Board meeting: On the agenda Tuesday at the Orchard Park School Board meeting were typical agenda items: financial reports, signing off on personnel matters and accepting a donation from the booster club. But some parents upset that their children are being required to wear masks in school had other ideas. Read more

The Editorial Board: Solution to private school’s mask conflict is for its supporters to face the hard facts: "New Yorkers are lucky to live in a state whose leaders are trying to follow the science rather than seeking political advantage," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Sept. 14

Bills and Sabres fans must be vaccinated to attend games at Highmark Stadium and Key Bank Center: Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Pegula Sports and Entertainment jointly announced Tuesday that by the end of October, all fans in attendance for Buffalo Bills games at Highmark Stadium must be fully vaccinated. The rules apply to those ages 12 and older. Anyone younger must wear a mask inside the stadium. Read more

Christian Central Academy loses initial challenge to school mask mandate: Justice E. Jeannette Ogden rejected the school's request for a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the mask mandate. She set an Oct. 1 hearing for further arguments and will then decide whether to approve or dismiss the school's petition. Read more

Judge issues temporary halt to state's Covid vaccine mandate: A federal judge in Utica on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York State from proceeding with a Covid-19 vaccine mandate on all health care workers. Read more

Prizes, music, new workstations: Employers try to make workers feel at home upon return to office: Around the region, employers are weighing how to make workers feel at ease about coming back to the office. Read more

Sept. 13

Pandemic Lessons: The 9/11 lesson of unity that applies today: Charles Wolf, who spent part of his childhood in Buffalo, has been a leader for 9/11 victims' families. He passes along some of the lessons he learned in the wake of the tragedy, which claimed the life of his wife, Katherine. Read more

NY Republican tries to use 'bill going nowhere' to press border opening: A spokeswoman for Sen. Charles E. Schumer says the Senate majority leader "remains laser-focused" on pressing the Biden administration – "the folks with sole control of international border-crossing policy" – to reopen the border. Read more

Unmasked vendors cited at Sunday's Bills game; questions about fan enforcement remain: Representatives for both the Bills and the county did not say whether anyone attempted to enforce mask-wearing rules for the roughly 70,000 fans at Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Read more

The Editorial Board: Hamister’s children offer a wake-up call to the region’s deluded vaccine resisters: "The community owes Katie and Dan Hamister its thanks. Their willingness to tell their story may help others to understand the dangerous game they are playing," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

As vaccine mandates multiply, so do requests for religious exemptions: Religious exemptions are becoming another major flashpoint in the Covid-19 vaccination debate. Read more 

Sept. 12

Mark Hamister died, unvaccinated, from Covid-19. His children hope his story changes minds: Before he died, Hamister told his daughter he realized he had made one grave mistake. "He said he regretted not getting vaccinated," Katie Hamister said. Read more

Bills super fan ready for the season – but hold the condiments: The changes are a concession to Covid-19 for the 63-year-old software developer and die-hard Bills fan. Read more

Another Voice: Intellectual property rules enable vaccine innovation: "Fewer than one in 10 products that enter clinical trials are ever greenlit by the FDA," writes Kenneth E. Thorpe. Read more

Sept. 11

Experts warn of another fall Covid-19 surge in WNY: Recent models from the University at Buffalo suggest new cases may continue to rise though the fall and early winter, sparked by the continued spread of the more transmissible Delta variant and the return of cold weather. Read more

Employers await vaccine mandate details: 'Another cost of doing business in the Covid era': Local executives said they are still digesting what the expansive new federal mandate on Covid-19 vaccinations will mean for their employees. Read more

Sept. 10

Parsing the numbers: Why vaccinated residents made up 40% of Erie County's positive Covid-19 tests: Unlike those with no protection, fully vaccinated patients who are hospitalized with breakthrough Covid-19 cases, or who die from the virus, are far more likely to have serious, underlying health issues. Read more

Discount Diva: How to get the Covid test you need to get into Canada, for free: Nonessential travelers age 5 and older must be tested within 72 hours of travel. There are more than a dozen acceptable tests but an antigen test is not one of them. Read more

Refresh Takes: The start of the new school year wasn’t so bad: Families in the region can rest easier knowing that adult vaccination rates in the region are high and Covid-related illnesses among children have been low. Read more

For the first time in forever, live theater returns to Shea's with 'Frozen': Almost 18 months after Shea's closed its doors because of Covid-19, "Frozen" will open there before an audience of 3,019 masked people. Read more

Sept. 9

Delta variant extended border shutdown, Homeland Security chief says: The spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant has delayed plans to reopen the U.S. border to Canadians, but the border will open as soon as federal officials deem it safe, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Thursday. Read more

Erik Brady: Separated by the border, slowed by the pandemic, one family packs a year of holidays into one memorable week: When you squeeze one year into one week, naturally you end it with New Year’s Eve, Brady writes. Read more

High school regional, state tournaments remain a go as state association issues guidelines: With plans to resume regionals and state championships in fall sports, including football, the NYSPHSAA has announced protocols for positive tests. Read more

Sept. 8

Hochul says requiring vaccines for teens 'an option' as GOP raises alarm: Parents need to step up efforts to get their children Covid vaccinated, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday. Read more

Joy, anxiety, raincoats and long lines on first day of school for many: It started out damp, and there were a few delays, but by Wednesday, students throughout Western New York had walked through the doors for their first day of school. Read more

Doctors and a Buffalo mom recommend those who are pregnant get the Covid-19 vaccine: Large studies now show that the risks of Covid-19 to fertility and pregnancy are dwarfed by the benefits of becoming immunized against the disease. Read more

Rod Watson: ‘Open government’ a victim of more than just pandemic: The problems with New York’s law predate Covid-19 and, without action, will be here long after it wanes. Read more

97 Rock's Tom Ragan has breakthrough Covid case: “The vaccine did its job; it kept me from having worse symptoms. Absolutely get the vaccine," Ragan said. Read more

The Editorial Board: Poloncarz dropped the ball by reversal on vaccine mandate for Bills games: It’s up to every fan to do his or her own calculation of risk vs. reward in attending a Bills game. It could have been different. Read more

Sept. 7

Christian Central Academy sues over mask mandate, fears parents will pull students from school: The school said it relied on assurances from former Gov. Andrew Cuomo that individual schools would be able to develop and implement their own masking policies for the 2021-22 school year. Read more

Looking forward to the new year: 'I hope the school stays open': After two school years like no others, families and educators are starting yet another unique educational experience. Read more

'There's a lot of anxiety': In Niagara Falls, the back-to-school routine is anything but: Tuesday was the first day for the 465 students at Niagara Falls Elementary School, which is housing pre-K to second graders this year. Read more

Some NFL teams impose vaccine rules for fans, but Bills and Erie County stand pat: As the NFL's opening weekend approaches, in Orchard Park and across most of the league, tens of thousands of fans in soaring stadiums will cheer on the home team without knowing the vaccination status of many of the people sitting around them. Read more

Catholic Health hospital workers to hold strike authorization vote on Friday: Communication Workers of America said Tuesday that more than 2,500 of its nurses, technologists and other front-line healthcare workers at Catholic Health represented by the union are mulling a strike because, they say, the hospital system is refusing to address severe understaffing at its hospitals that threatens patient care. Read more

The Editorial Board: School-mask opponents in Clarence show why states need to drive decisions: "If anyone still doesn’t understand the need for strong state leadership on Covid-19, they need only look to a meeting last week of the Clarence School Board," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Sept. 6

Hochul announces worker protections against Covid-19: It marks the first time that the state’s Hero Act will be used to combat the highly contagious virus, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul. Read more

American Lung Association requiring worker vaccinations: “And we are encouraging other for-profit and nonprofit organizations to make this a requirement as well,” National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer said. Read more

Why employers aren't rushing to require workers to get Covid vaccines: Most local employers, outside of the health care industry, are holding back on mandating vaccines, even though the law generally allows them to. Read more

Sept. 5

Pandemic Lessons: Ex-Surgeon General Jerome Adams on taking Covid local: Agree or disagree with his position, Adams’ perspective is rooted in real policy experience and medical authority – and that has value. Read more

Buffalo students haven't returned 8,000 district laptops, iPads issued in pandemic: Buffalo Public Schools students have not returned about 8,000 of the 31,000 laptop and tablet computers the district issued to them when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down schools last year. Read more

The Editorial Board: Start of academic year brings optimism that we can keep students safe, in school: " It’s important now to start the school year with a clean slate and have everyone with a stake in education celebrate the fact that children are where they need to be, learning together inside their schools," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Sept. 4

Masked and mostly vaxxed, college students return to in-person classes: With classrooms, laboratories and dining halls full again, the region’s college campuses are counting on high vaccination rates and indoor masking policies to keep Covid-19 at bay and continue in-person instruction. Read more

In Clarence, many voices on mask mandate: Parents. Doctors. A man charged in Capitol riot: Although those opposed to the mask mandate appeared to be in the majority, they were not unchallenged by other parents who supported the mandate. Read more

Sept. 3

Covid outbreak at Niagara County Jail halts visits, court trips: The outbreak has led to quarantines of inmates, a halt to visitation and the resumption of some virtual court sessions for incarcerated suspects. Read more

What parents need to know as kids return to school in Buffalo Niagara: Schools have updated their protocols with an eye toward making sure all students can safely return. Read more

Lawsuit seeks return of stimulus aid: Pastor, wife each charged $200 an hour setting up learning centers: In all, Larry Darnell Donalson and Linda Billops Donalson, the founders of Community Cares Program, received $238,000 in consulting fees and wages from August to December 2020, according to a State Supreme Court lawsuit. Read more

Flashcards from the once vaccine hesitant to soon show up in city neighborhoods: Rev. Dianne Holt has spent the last several weeks compiling information for "Each One Must Reach One" flashcards and signs she hopes will soon become commonplace in the community. Read more

Anthony Chase: An altered theater scene gradually resumes in Buffalo, again giving us a gathering space: No, the pandemic is not yet over, but our need to engage with other humans is fueling the gradual return of live theater. Read more

Sept. 2

Buffalo theater companies welcome a return to the stage: And as the launch of the theater season arrives at the same time as the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus causes the number of cases in Erie County to rise, theater companies continue to move forward with the season even though Curtain Up!, the large annual gala marking the commencement of the theater season, was postponed. Read more

Staff member at pediatrician's office pepper sprayed by woman asked to put on mask: An employee at a pediatrician's office on Main Street was pepper sprayed this week by a woman who refused to put on a mask, according to a Buffalo police report. Read more

Sept. 1

Rod Watson: Why do Blacks still lag on vaccine? Reasons are ‘crazy’: While the history of mistrust of the medical system is well-documented and understandable, at some point current realities have to take hold, Watson says. Read more
Park School fires unvaccinated AD Marcus Hutchins: “It’s their choice, but I think it’s a violation of my rights for what I choose to put in my body,” Hutchins said. Read more 
The Editorial Board: With more flexible response to Covid, and a special session, Hochul steps up: Earlier Tuesday, Hochul made clear that she differs from her predecessor in at least one fundamental way: She says she will not micromanage the Covid response of the state’s local governments. Read more  

Aug. 31

Hochul's announcement of new Covid measures showcases new style of leadership: Hochul, who has served at all levels of government, referred to a "new philosophy" for fighting back against the highly contagious Delta variant and getting more people vaccinated, based on cooperation with local leaders, instead of commands. Read more

Niagara County imposes mask mandate in its buildings: The decision was made as the county topped 100 new cases per 100,000 residents, crossing the threshold into "high transmission" of the Covid-19 virus, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more

Border closures cost international bridges $50 million in lost toll revenue: The closure of the U.S.-Canada border to nonessential traffic because of the Covid-19 pandemic did more than disrupt the lives of those with loved ones or property on the other side of the Niagara River. It crushed the budgets of the agencies that operate Western New York's four international bridges. Read more

Aug. 30

Pandemic Lessons: How do we deal with news we don’t like?: Why, are we still grappling with the realities of science and medicine? In this Pandemic Lessons, we explore why it’s difficult to handle news we don’t like. Read more

School districts struggling with 'severe' bus driver shortage: The Covid-19 pandemic prompted many drivers to choose not to come back because of concerns over their health, said David Christopher, executive director of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation. Read more

After surviving Covid, Ike Boettger heats up battle for time at guard: Ike Boettger’s bid to challenge for a starting job on the Buffalo Bills’ offensive line hit a detour, but the 26-year-old guard said he’s bouncing back from his bout with Covid-19. Read more

UBMD doctors to host free online back-to-school program Tuesday evening: Four doctors with UBMD Physicians’ Group, concerned about a potential spike in local Covid-19 cases as the new school year starts, will host a free online program Tuesday for parents and guardians. Read more

Aug. 29

Erie County's Covid-19 cases highest in state outside New York City area: In Erie County Saturday, 137 people tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total of cases of the disease since the start of the pandemic to 94,277. Read more

The Editorial Board: Legislature should give Hochul authority to require vaccinations in state schools: In education and in health care, vaccines should be required. Hochul needs the authority to make that happen, writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: Hochul opts for transparency in adopting the CDC’s counting method: The new governor promises transparency so no one will have to question the information flowing from the governor’s office. That, in itself, is a major step in the right direction, writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Aug. 28

School mask mandate made official as Covid-19 rates continue to rise: "We are continuing to monitor the numbers and consulting with health experts, but we need everyone to do their part," Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Saturday. Read more

Borderland adopts fully vaccinated/negative Covid-19 test protocols: The Borderland Music + Arts Festival has joined a growing list of venues, concerts and festivals that will require full vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test for entry. Read more

Bills WR Isaiah McKenzie gets vaccine following fine: McKenzie posted a video on his Instagram story showing his vaccine card with the caption “for the greater good,” with the thumbs up emoji and a smiley face emoji. Read more

Aug. 27

Erie County health commissioner alarmed by rising Covid-19 cases: "We're really not in a great place with Covid-19, and we're really worried, because it's the summer and SARS-CoV-2 is a seasonal virus," Dr. Gale Burstein said. Read more

Bad Covid news keeps coming. But look deeper and it might not be as bad as you think: Experts say "breakthrough" infections among the fully vaccinated are rare and the vaccine remains the best possible protection against an infection or serious illness from Covid-19. Read more  

DA issues warning on possession of fake Covid-19 vaccination cards: Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn is warning anyone in possession of a fake Covid-19 vaccine card could face felony charges. Read more

Discount Diva: What I missed about shopping in person: Samantha Christmann has found there are things she likes about shopping in person that she never realized before the pandemic. Read more

Town Ballroom to reopen Sept. 10 with Covid protocols in place: Operators of the Town Ballroom on Main Street announced in a tweet on Friday that there will be new Covid-19 safety protocols in place when the venue reopens on Sept. 10. Read more

Four Bills players activated from Covid-19 list in time for preseason finale: The four players were placed on the list and had to quarantine for five days under the NFL's re-entry rules after being deemed close contacts with a team trainer who tested positive for Covid. Read more

The Editorial Board: Bills players who flout Covid protocols could put championship season at risk: "Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has the legal right to refuse a vaccine, but there are consequences for him and his teammates." Read more

Aug. 26

Cash supports mask mandate, but won't require vaccines for Buffalo Public Schools staff: Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash said he supports mandatory masking in schools and mandatory Covid-19 vaccines for school employees. But he will not require teachers and staff to be vaccinated. Read more

Inside the Bills: With one of NFL's lowest vaccination rates, Bills walking a tightrope: The Bills got a taste this week of what can happen when many players on the roster are unvaccinated. Read more

Bills WRs Isaiah McKenzie, Cole Beasley fined for not wearing mask in team facility: McKenzie shared on social media that he's been fined $14,650 by the NFL for failing to wear a mask inside the team facility. Read more

UB will require fans to wear masks at home football games: The school released its updated mask policy Thursday, a week before the UB football team opens its season at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at UB Stadium against Wagner. Read more

The Editorial Board: Education stakeholders make a strong case to offer online learning to those it serves: "Superintendent Kriner Cash is correct to want students in class," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Aug. 25

Hochul publicly acknowledges 12,000 more Covid deaths than Cuomo: The decision by Gov. Kathy Hochul to add the new item – reporting the total Covid deaths since last year in New York as counted by federal health experts – sent a jolt through people who have been in the pandemic response efforts for more than 18 months. Read more

Hochul pushes vaccinations, vows to be state's 'best damn governor': Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," New York's first female governor reiterated that fighting the Covid-19 pandemic remains her top priority. Read more

Another Voice: In-person classrooms are the best incubators for learning: It is abundantly clear now that there is absolutely no equitable substitute for face-to-face learning with students, Peter Stuhlmiller says. Read more

Aug. 24

Covid-19 cases climb in Erie County, but hospitalization rate remains relatively low: The bottom line: Because more Erie County residents are vaccinated, fewer people are suffering serious illnesses and fewer are dying due to the virus. Read more

Workers allege racial discrimination in lawsuit against Mercy Hospital: Three workers at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo – and three others no longer employed there – have filed a lawsuit against the hospital, alleging Black employees are routinely assigned the more difficult and dangerous work cleaning Covid-19 rooms while white employees get easier cleaning assignments. Read more

On an eventful Day 1, Hochul seeks to change the culture and slow the pandemic: Seeking to depict an Executive Branch no longer distracted by scandal, Gov. Kathy Hochul in her first hours on the job Tuesday announced universal mask mandates for New York schools, looming mandatory vaccinations for teachers and new ways to get stalled pandemic financial relief to renters facing possible evictions. Read more

Hochul imposes school mask mandate, wants to require staff vaccines: A universal mask mandate will be imposed by the state on all public and private schools as students get to return to classes in the coming weeks, and officials are looking at ways to mandate vaccines for school employees, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday on her first day in office. Read more

WNY school officials praise Hochul for 'clarity' on mask mandate: Gov. Kathy Hochul's announcement of a universal mask mandate in all state K-12 schools was welcomed by some, opposed by others, and not unexpected. Read more

As the pandemic zigs, the live entertainment business zags: Artists and venues have decided that using an honor system for patrons is too risky and are instead taking responsibility for slowing spread of Covid-19. Read mor

Artpark announces vaccinated-only Phoebe Bridgers show: The Los Angeles-based indie songwriter and producer has requested that all attendees for the concert at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 will have to show proof of full vaccination. Unlike other events, there will not be any on-site testing or negative test results accepted. No one under the age of 12 will be admitted. Read more

BPO requiring proof of vaccine or negative Covid test plus masks: The new policy goes into effect Sept. 11 through Oct. 30 "and may be extended if community transmission levels of COVID-19 remain high," the BPO said. Read more

Four Bills players, including Cole Beasley, must go through Covid protocol re-entry process: According to the report, Beasley and Gabriel Davis tested negative for Covid-19 on Tuesday, but they still have to go through the re-entry process. Had they been vaccinated, they would have been able to practice with a negative test. General manager Brandon Beane said defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler also will need to go through the re-entry process. Read more

Two series against Bears represent big step forward for Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins: The Bills’ left tackle was in the starting lineup Saturday against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field as he continues his recovery from a harrowing bout with Covid-19. Read more

The Editorial Board: Mandates from Hochul and Poloncarz serve the goal of keeping kids in school: "Requiring vaccines and masks to start the school year is the right call," writes The News' Editorial Board. 

Aug. 23

Erie County mandates masks for all students and staff this school year: Key among the new school reopening mandates is that everyone has to wear a mask inside schools and on buses. Read more

Aug. 22

Pandemic Lessons: How tightly are we gripping logic?: In this installment of Pandemic Lessons, we explore why people often grapple with gauging the information in front of us – even when it’s in hard numbers. Read more

Kathy Hochul will lead a state still grappling with Covid. With what approach?: The incoming governor has indicated she will act decisively, but only after consulting with a range of health experts, including local health commissioners and an array of stakeholders. Read more

The Editorial Board: Pandemic tops list of issues awaiting Kathy Hochul: "When the inevitable surge of the virus happens in the fall, Hochul has to decide how far she is willing to go to keep us safe without putting our economy in handcuffs," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Aug. 21

Erie County crosses into 'high' Covid transmission: With 198 new cases Friday, Erie County has crossed the threshold from "substantial" to "high" transmission of Covid-19. Read more 

Erie, Niagara counties set third Covid shots for those with immune issues: People who have had organ or stem-cell transplants, are undergoing cancer or HIV treatment or are taking high-dose corticosteroids are among those eligible. Read more

'I was nervous': Those who waited get nudged to get Covid-19 vaccine: For a number of reasons, more people gradually are heeding the advice of medical experts that vaccinations are the best way to rein in the virus. Read more

Another Voice: Schools need to embrace a future with at-home learning: Rosemary Tomani asks: What if the school building was an option for social programs and supervised small-group activity while the bulk of teaching and learning happened at home? Read more

Aug. 20

Live music business casts a wary eye toward the fall: A new vision of protocols deemed necessary for the survival of the only recently rejuvenated live music industry have emerged, whether driven by touring artists, venues or major concert promotion corporations. With that comes the realization we may be far from out of the woods when it comes to concerts. Read more

Extended U.S. land border closure produces anger, anguish: The news that the U.S. land border will remain largely closed to Canadians came the way it often does, via Twitter rather than in a human voice – but it prompted angry and anguished cries all across the border. Read more

David Robinson: Economists are eyeing the Delta variant as Buffalo Niagara recovery slows: Just as the slow-but-steady uptick in hiring inches the Buffalo Niagara region closer to recovering from the Covid-19 recession, the increase in new cases threatens to undo some of that progress. Read more

The Editorial Board: Vaccine mandates shouldn't stop with health care workers: "Covid-19 cases are swamping some states and ticking up even in New York, which has one of the nation’s highest vaccination rates," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Aug. 19

Erie County Covid-19 caseload approaches 'high' transmission risk: The number of new Covid-19 cases in Erie County has reached 92 per 100,000 residents, the county Health Department reported Thursday on Twitter. Read more

Niagara County to use $880K in stimulus funds for door-to-door Covid-19 vaccine outreach: "We need boots on the ground," said Bernadette Franjoine, a Mount St. Mary's lab technician. "We need salary and wages for workers to be able to go door to door, be available at community events that are already in place through the partnerships that we have." Read more

126th annual Turkey Trot will again include a virtual race option: The continuing Covid-19 pandemic has for a second-straight year required flexibility on the part of YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot organizers. Registration has opened for the 126th Trot at, including a virtual option for those who choose not attend the nearly 5-mile Thanksgiving morning event in person but still want to participate. Read more

Bills activate linebacker Marquel Lee off Covid-19 list: Lee, who signed with the Bills on March 31, had been on the list since Aug. 10. Read more

Aug. 18

New York's Covid-19 vaccine study brings mostly good pandemic news: A first-in-the-nation vaccine study showed that unvaccinated adults in New York were 11 times more likely to be hospitalized and eight times more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 than those fully vaccinated. Read more

Allegany County bringing back rules on masks and social distancing in county buildings: All employees and visitors, including those who have been vaccinated, must wear face coverings at all times and maintain six-foot distancing inside county buildings and other work locations. Read more

'It all seems very selfish to hit the road right now': Buffalo rapper Chuckie Campbell on touring this fall: “It used to be that our differences were what made us unique, diverse and strong. But now, our differences are markers,” Campbell says. Read more

Another Voice: Vaccine mandates could roil U.S. military: Only time will tell how the vaccine mandates will go over in the military as many branches have already begun to gear up for administration of these vaccines. Read more

Aug. 17 

Parents, civic leaders push for remote option in Buffalo Public Schools: After more than a year of remote learning due to Covid-19, a group of parents, youth and business leaders, clergy and community-based organizations are wondering why such an option was not included in the school district’s plan on how to spend $289 million in American Rescue Plan federal stimulus money. Read more

Covid-19 at 'substantial' rate of spread in Allegany County: Covid-19 is spreading through Allegany County at a "substantial" rate, the county Health Department announced Tuesday, with most recent cases driven by close household contacts. Read more

Tucker Curtin closing and selling the Steer, Lake Effect Diner: “This has always been a hard business,” restaurateur Tucker Curtin said. “It's just gotten a lot harder.” Read more

Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins describes his harrowing battle with Covid: “I don't want to like scare anybody, but there was moments that I was like, I don't know if I'm gonna make this,” Dawkins said of his ordeal. Read more

The Editorial Board: U.S. must match Canada and open our border: "It’s a serious economic factor for border communities, especially in the nation’s three most populous ones," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Aug. 16

Cuomo mandates Covid-19 vaccines for health care workers: Hospitals and long-term care facilities in New York State must require all employees to be vaccinated, according to a mandate from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday. Read more

UB says students without shots will be barred from in-person classes: Students will need to have their first shots within seven days of FDA approval, UB said. Those who require a second shot will have five weeks to get it. Read more

Crystal Beach has gone 17 months without Americans. It wasn't as hard as you might think: Canadian tourists have helped fill in for the missing Americans. Just as cooped-up Americans traveled close to home during lulls in the pandemic, so did Canadians. Read more

Aug. 15

Jeff Miers: 'Packed to the brim' concerts are back, but fans still mindful of Covid risk: "If you didn’t know better, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we were living in the relatively carefree August of 2019, rather than enduring a prolonged pandemic in 2021," writes Jeff Miers. Read more

Covid-19 continues to claim lives amid plea for more to get vaccinated: Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz tweeted Sunday that 78 residents were hospitalized with Covid-19 in the county Friday, 17 of them in ICUs and 8 on ventilators. He said four people died. Read more

Aug. 14

Few WNY counties follow Poloncarz's lead on mask mandates for workers: Erie County's revival of a masking mandate for county employees working indoors has not inspired other local counties to follow suit. Read more

What we know so far about what school may look like: As students return this September, some for the first time in more than a year, what will school look like? Here are some possibilities. Read more 

Aug. 13

Delta variant reigns in WNY, but vaccines have blunted the impact: All but one positive Covid-19 test sample sequenced this week from Erie County turned out to be the Delta variant, a strain wreaking havoc in several Southern states and regions across the country where vaccination rates remain low. Read more

Buffalo Manufacturing Works shifts focus coming out of the pandemic: The center, inside the Northland complex, aims to help manufacturers innovate and improve their operations. While the pandemic put a pause on in-person projects, Buffalo Manufacturing Works evaluated how to make the most of its operations. Read more

Aug. 12

Mask mandate likely for schools, Hochul says: As the mask wars heat up with local School Boards hearing passionate pleas from parents, many superintendents are urging patience while they wait for guidance. Read more

In 'Today' interview, Kathy Hochul vows to run for re-election, confront Covid-19: "I'm the most prepared person to assume this responsibility, and I'm going to ask the voters at some point for their faith in me again," Hochul said. Read more

Column: I crossed the border into Canada. Here's how it went: "Crossing the border takes work, a lot of preparation and may cost you. You can't expect to roll up and breeze through like you did in the old days," writes Samantha Christmann. Read more

Bills activate tackle Dion Dawkins from Covid-19 list: Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday that it was "great" to have Dawkins back with the team, but noted his situation is a "great reminder to all of us" on the dangers of Covid. Read more

The Editorial Board: Health care workers, teachers should be required to be vaccinated against Covid: "To the extent that they can, all employers should be considering a vaccine mandate as infections rise when they should be falling, but health professionals, educators and others who deal with large numbers of at-risk people are in a separate category." Read more

Aug. 11

Covid-19 cases still rising, prompting mask-wearing inside Highmark Stadium: Statistics released this week by Erie County show rapidly growing case numbers for four straight weeks, as well as rising hospitalizations since the end of July. Read more

Hochul gives no hints on changes to school requirements: "The Delta variant is still raging. It's going to take all of us to defeat it," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "There's a lot of anxiety with the moms and dads I speak to, and the teachers as well." Read more

Park School to require staff to be vaccinated: The Amherst school also will require students and adults to wear masks inside the school. Read more

Aug. 10

The Erie County Fair returns. Will the crowds do the same?: As festivals, carnivals and outdoor events come back this summer, organizers are noticing something that bodes well for the Erie County Fair: People are coming back, too. Read more

Mansouri charged with $3.4 million pandemic relief fraud: Hormoz Mansouri, an Amherst businessman active behind the scenes for many years as a Democratic insider and contributor, faces charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and money laundering. Read more

Roswell Park to require regular Covid-19 tests for unvaccinated employees: Candace Johnson, Roswell Park's president and CEO, has notified its 3,300 employees the requirement will take effect in three to four weeks. Read more

The Editorial Board: Health care workers, teachers should be required to be vaccinated against Covid: "To humanity’s great benefit, vaccines have all but wiped out scourges such as polio, small pox and measles. We know they can work and we’ve seen powerful evidence that the Covid vaccines work, safely and effectively," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: Covid vaccines have an outstanding safety record: "The latest data shows that if a person is fully vaccinated, their chance of getting Covid is one in 40,000 and their chance of dying from Covid is one in 192,000," Dr. Chet Fox writes. Read more

Aug. 9

Students and staff at BPS will be required to wear masks in September: Erie County Department of Health officials are still working on guidance for schools this fall, though all students and staff in Buffalo Public Schools will be forced to don a mask upon returning next month. Read more

17 months delayed, border reopens to a flood of emotion: When everyday Americans finally got their chance to cross the border into Canada on Monday, there were tears of happiness and tears of frustration. Read more

Hospice Buffalo to require employees to be vaccinated: Hospice and Palliative Care Buffalo will require its employees to be vaccinated for Covid-19, becoming one of the largest health care providers in the region to mandate inoculation. Read more

Get vaccinated at the fair and receive a voucher for free fair food: If you are heading to the Erie County Fair but aren't vaccinated yet, then getting a shot while you're there will win you a free $10 voucher for fair food and drinks. Read more

Mask mandates returning to Sahlen Field for Bisons games starting Tuesday: To move more in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and after consultation with Erie County health officials, the Bisons announced Monday that masks/facial coverings will be required when visiting the ballpark's indoor settings – regardless of vaccination status. Read more

MAAC will require athletes, athletic staff to have Covid-19 vaccinations: Athletes and athletic personnel – including game officials and table staffs – who are not vaccinated can apply for a waiver for medical or religious reasons only, which would be approved or declined by each of the MAAC's 11 schools. Read more

Aug. 8

Coordinated Covid-19 plan coming Monday for schools in Buffalo and Erie County: Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein has invited leaders from the Buffalo Public Schools and other local districts to a meeting Monday morning. Read more

Local experts expect this wave of Covid-19 won't compare to the past: “People should not be worried. They should be vigilant," said Daniel J. Stapleton, Niagara County public health director. Read more

News Editorial Board: Starting school with mask requirements figures to be unpopular but necessary: Keeping everyone safe is key to ensuring that students who start the year with in-person school can stay there. Read more

Aug. 7

Joint state effort to dig more deeply into Covid-19 variants in Western New York: A University at Buffalo lab will share a $20 million infusion to identify more Covid-19 variants as part of a partnership between the state and five specialized labs across New York. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Where are we headed for fall and winter?: As we near fall and the cold-weather months, where are we headed and what should we do? We explore those questions in this installment of Pandemic Lessons. Read more

Another Voice: Shifting costs to the unvaccinated would get results: "I propose that private insurance carriers do what they do best: calculate the risk, and set the price of hospitalization coverage for Covid," writes Alfred D. Price. Read more

Aug. 5

State tells schools to look to CDC and local health departments for Covid guidance:  Schools should follow guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials for their in-person instructional plans for this fall, said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. Read more

Another Voice: Beasley’s search for ‘certainty’ distorts his vaccine views: "No doctor can give a full answer on the pluses and minuses of the Covid vaccine. But that’s not a reason to give up," writes Mark Finley. Read more

Aug. 4

So you want to go to Canada? Here's what you need to know: Americans will finally be able to once again drive over to that Buffalo suburb known as Southern Ontario starting Aug. 9. But it won't be easy – so it's best that you prepare early. Read more

Brian Higgins concerned that border Covid-19 test wait time could bring 'disaster': "This is either going to be an effective, efficient logistical operation, or it's going to be a disaster. And right now it's heading for disaster," Rep. Brian Higgins said. Read more

Aug. 3

Erie County: Vast majority of Covid patients who died since April were not fully vaccinated: Of those who died from Covid-19 from April 1 to July 29, 95% were not fully vaccinated prior to becoming infected with the virus, the Health Department reported. Hospital deaths in recent weeks remain relatively low. Read more

Vaccine mandates for health care workers draw praise, criticism: With the recent rise in Covid-19 cases across the country, more government agencies and private institutions are requiring that workers get vaccinated. Read more

Mask mandates back in effect at UB, Canisius College: The University at Buffalo and Canisius College on Tuesday both reinstituted indoor mask mandates for all employees and students regardless of their vaccination status. Read more

Aug. 2

Cuomo pushes for vaccination policies for businesses, schools, hospitals: The governor said if the Covid-19 numbers continue to go up, nursing home workers, teachers and all public-facing health care workers should be forced to receive the vaccine. Read more

Cuomo's call for vaccine mandate for teachers is non-starter for union: A month before school starts, educators are still waiting for official health guidance from New York State, and pushing back on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's prediction that there could be chaos if there's not a policy on staff vaccinations. Read more

UB reinstitutes indoor mask mandate effective Tuesday: The policy, which follows recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will require everyone on campus to don a facemask inside any UB building. Read more

Erik Brady: With border reopening, a Fort Erie couple is cleaning up cottages and cleaning up: The Burnsides, who own N.F.L. Cleaning Services, have been inundated with calls since Canada announced its new border rules last month. Read more

Aug. 1

Local Covid-19 positivity rate exceeds growing state percentage: The numbers in Erie County climbed slightly each day at the end of last week, with 2.82% of people testing positive Thursday, 3.09% on Friday and 3.17% on Saturday. Read more

Chris Jacobs urges WNY residents to consider vaccination: Jacobs' pro-vaccine stance contrasts with that of other Republicans such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who dismiss Covid-19 vaccines as part of a "human experiment." Read more

Starting Monday, you'll need a mask again to visit Buffalo City Hall: The order applies to everyone, employees and visitors alike, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Read more

Another Voice: Mask wearing’s the ticket to keeping kids in school: "School offers instruction, socialization, nutrition, exercise, therapies and mental health services, and helps address racial and social inequities among children." Read more

July 31

Pandemic Lessons: How do we get out of this?: To mask, or not? To gather, or distance? What’s safe, and what is risky? Does the finish line of the pandemic keep moving backward, or is this our new normal? In this week’s Pandemic Lessons, we explore what it’ll take to get out of this and return to a life that feels just a little more normal. Read more

Region continues to show troubling upward trend in Covid cases: As of Saturday, the county has seen a 39% increase in hospitalizations since Wednesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. Read more 

Sean Kirst: At St. Luke's, canceled cookout will not quell a celebration: Friends of co-founder Amy Betros say she proves that kindness can have its own rolling momentum. Read more

Schools waiting for state guidance told to plan on masks for the fall: The State Education commissioner is recommending schools use federal CDC guidance in planning for opening schools this year, which means masking for all teachers, staff and students, regardless of vaccination status. Read more

My View: In cautious Canada, Covid is different: "The reopening of the Canadian border is a promising sign we have finally turned a corner," writes David Wright. Read more

July 30

Erie County takes another Covid-19 hit: Cases now at 'substantial' level: “If you’re inside where the public’s coming together, everyone – regardless of whether or not they’re vaccinated – should wear a mask,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Friday morning. Read more

Covid-19 shots to be available at Niagara County Fair: Covid-19 vaccinations will be available at a Health Department booth at the Niagara County Fair, which opens Wednesday and runs through Aug. 8. Read more

UB to celebrate 2020 graduates in fall commencement ceremony: UB President Satish K. Tripathi on Friday announced that the university will host in-person commencement exercises for members of the Class of 2020 in the fall, nearly a year and a half after they were supposed to be feted. Read more

Health Department warns about possible Covid-19 exposure at Orchard Park Bible school: The potential exposures took place July 23 at Tabernacle Church, 3210 Southwestern Boulevard, Orchard Park. Read more

Covid variant muddles return-to-office outlook: A rise in Covid-19 cases, fueled by the Delta variant, and new CDC guidance about indoor masking have created a new wave of uncertainty over plans to bring workers back to the office after more than a year of working remotely. Read more

Bills' Dion Dawkins says he'll return 'sooner rather than later' from Covid-19 list: Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins, who was placed on the NFL's reserve/Covid-19 list this week, took to social media Friday to make his first public comments. Read more

The Editorial Board: As they can, businesses should move toward mandating vaccinations: "We are at a risky moment. The pandemic is under better control because of the vaccines, but it continues to spread, with dangerous economic, social and personal consequences," writes The News's Editorial Board. Read more

July 29

Mychajliw threatens to sue after his employee suspended for refusing to wear mask: County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw says County Executive Mark Poloncarz's administration has no right to discipline employees who work for independently elected county leaders. Read more

Canadian labor dispute could disrupt border reopening: The unions that represent Canadian customs workers this week voted to strike as soon as Aug. 6 – three days before the Canadian border is set to open again to vaccinated Americans. Read more

July 28

As caseload grows, WNY grapples with how to respond ... and how not to: With positivity rates climbing, vaccination rates slowing and the Delta variant behaving as aggressively as researchers have feared, returning to some of the polarizing policies of the past 16 months is clearly on the table. Read more

Cuomo pushes new vaccine mandates but defers on revised federal mask guidance: All state workers will be required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine before Labor Day or face regular testing for the virus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday as the pandemic continues to show its reluctance to disappear amid the worsening caseloads of its delta variant. Read more

Rod Watson: I could be a big spender – but only in a Covid-free zone: Businesses care about the bottom line. But as long as they cater to the maskless marauding mob, they have to realize they’re relying on a dying market, Watson says. Read more

With social distancing and online ticketing, Erie County Fair adjusts to Covid norms: Plan for online-only ticketing, wider aisles and displays and vendors that may be in different places at the Erie County Fair as the event adjusts to the pandemic this year. Read more

'We're coming back strong': Small shops are riding a post-Covid wave of optimism: All pandemic long, the world watched as retailers big and small fell under the crushing blow of Covid-19. Seeing one storefront after another go dark, Western New Yorkers waited to see where their favorite mom-and-pop shops would land when the dust settled. It turns out, there is hope. And some of the factors that put retailers under are the same ones bringing them back. Read more

Bills' Dion Dawkins, Ike Boettger in Covid protocols to start training camp: The Buffalo Bills will open training camp without offensive linemen Dion Dawkins and Ike Boettger because they are in Covid-19 protocols. Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the Bills are "just over" 80% of players who have had at least one shot of the vaccine. Read more

Bills' Cole Beasley releases statement, song about vaccine refusal; NFLPA responds: Beasley’s statement included complaints about the NFL Players’ Association, which has jointly agreed with the NFL on separate protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players this season, and complaints about information he feels has been “withheld from players in order for a player to be swayed” to become vaccinated. Read more

July 27

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz: 'We're not out of this pandemic': Erie County's rising caseload comes as the nation grapples with a new wave of Covid-19 cases driven by the more infectious delta variant. Read more

With clock ticking, WNY schools await state guidance on reopening: Six weeks before most children in Western New York go back to school, there are still questions about what school will look like this fall. Read more

The Editorial Board: Albany can provide guidance to schools in stages, but it’s already late starting: "New York has made missteps, as it was bound to do, but it has mainly done a good job managing the pandemic. The task isn’t complete. September approaches." Read more

The Editorial Board: FDA’s full approval of shots is needed to persuade, or compel, the unvaccinated: "The FDA seal of approval will not magically cause all skeptics to switch sides in the vaccine wars, but it takes away an excuse and opens the door to friendly persuasion." Read more

July 26

Buffalo's 14215 ZIP code among those Cuomo targets for vaccine push: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said the state will attempt to boost the vaccination rate by targeting 117 ZIP codes that have both low vaccination rates and a high spread of Covid. Read more

Colts coach Frank Reich, former Bills quarterback, tests positive for Covid-19: Colts General Manager Chris Ballard said Reich's test results came back late last week and the fourth-year coach, who is fully vaccinated, has been asymptomatic. Read more

July 25

Pandemic Lessons: How is the info-epidemic impacting us?: The push to administer shots is alive, but the challenge may be tougher than ever. In this “Pandemic Lessons,” we explore the impact of ill information. Read more

Alleged PPP fraud highlights 'brazenness' of some during Covid pandemic: At least nine defendants are being prosecuted in the Western District of New York for alleged fraud related to federal Covid-19 relief aid. Read more

July 23

U.S. diplomat offers some hope regarding border reopening: "I think we're in a good place and the trajectory is very promising," said Arnold Chacon, interim chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa. Read more

Bills' Jon Feliciano gives support to Cole Beasley and anti-vax stance: You can add Jon Feliciano to the list of Bills and NFL players who are in the anti-vaccine camp. Read more

Niagara Falls hotels are booked like it's 2019 – but where are the workers?: Niagara Falls hoteliers contacted by The Buffalo News said it's been a tremendous summer so far, with 100% occupancy at some sites this month. Read more

Bankruptcy filings keep falling, but increase could be looming: Halfway through 2021, the number of bankruptcy cases filed in the region was down 20% from the same six-month period a year ago, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Western District. Read more

The Editorial Board: NFL throws penalty flag to more players vaccinated: "Good for the NFL for sending an unmistakable message," writes The News' Editorial Board. "It’s unlikely the league could get the players’ union to accept a vaccine mandate, but this is a policy with teeth." Read more

July 21

Frustration mounts as U.S. extends border shutdown: Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, called the move "unacceptable." Rep. Chris Jacobs, an Orchard Park Republican, lamented "the Biden administration's complete failure on this issue." Read more

U.S. to continue border limits for Canadians through Aug. 21: The U.S. border will remain closed to Canadians for another month, according to an announcement to be published in Thursday's Federal Register, even though Canada plans to welcome visiting Americans starting Aug. 9. Read more

Erie, Niagara counties set weekend vaccination clinics at prominent sites: Covid-19 vaccinations will be available at popular locations in Erie and Niagara counties this weekend, the county health departments said. Read more

Vaccine clinic for teens and adults scheduled in Hamburg: A Covid-19 vaccine clinic will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 30 at the Town of Hamburg Youth, Senior and Recreation Services building. Read more

As positive Covid cases rise, New York focuses on vaccinations over a return to masks: With nearly 9,000 newly infected New Yorkers in the past 10 days, some officials wonder: Is it time to restore mandatory, or at least recommended, mask policies? Read more

The Editorial Board: Cash incentives could move the needle on vaccines: "With so many New Yorkers remaining vaccine-hesitant, it is time to up the ante," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

July 20

City Hall, Common Council meetings to reopen to the public: Most offices in Buffalo City Hall will open to members of the public for walk-in services without appointments starting Monday. Read more

Canada to open border in August – but will the U.S.?: Travelers heading north to Canada on Aug. 9 or soon thereafter may think the Peace Bridge and other border crossings look like one-way streets. Read more

The Editorial Board: Canada is reopening to Americans; where is the U.S. plan?: "The Biden administration needs to fast-track its planning for opening our side of the border to Canadians," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

July 19

Canada will open to vaccinated Americans Aug. 9: Americans seeking to cross the border into Canada also will be required to take a Covid-19 test before arrival. Read more

July 18

Pandemic Lessons: Do we need to worry about a 'pandemic of the unvaccinated?': In this week’s “Pandemic Lessons,” we explore how concerned we should be about the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases, and what we can do about it. Read more

Canada could require Covid tests of vaccinated Americans driving through border: The short drive to southern Ontario could turn out to be both complicated and expensive. Read more

Cuomo urges 'shots in arms' as percent of positive Covid cases ticks upward: The percentages of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Western New York and across the state have ticked up over the last days. Read more

July 17

Cuomo: Covid-19 caseloads continue to tick upward: On Friday, there were 1,156 positive Covid-19 tests statewide, a positivity rate of 1.39%.The state's seven-day rolling average was 1.19%, up from 1.09% on Thursday and 1.04% on Wednesday. Read more

July 16

'It's about time': Cautious optimism on Canadian border reopening as families await details: "It is the beginning of the end, a bright spot in an otherwise dark tunnel," said Rep. Brian Higgins. Read more

Blue Jays get the OK to go home, will end run in Buffalo on Wednesday: The Toronto Blue Jays have not played a game in Toronto since 2019 due to the closing of the U.S.-Canada border due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Trudeau expects border to open to Americans by mid-August: The Canadian land border is expected to be open to vaccinated travelers from the United States by mid-August, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said late Thursday. Read more

David Robinson: Buffalo Niagara worker shortage slows the Covid-19 recovery: The Covid-19 job surge is losing strength because hiring is so hard. And if workers can't be coaxed back into the labor pool, the Buffalo Niagara region's recovery from the Covid-19 recession could drag on. Read more 

July 15

Schumer presses cabinet secretaries on border reopening: "I said if they come up with no plan or a plan that would be so cumbersome that it would make travel at the borders slow down to a snail's pace and be ridiculous and cumbersome, the U.S. should just open unilaterally," Schumer said. Read more

As mass vaccination sites close, Covid fight shifts to doctors, pharmacies, mini-clinics: To borrow a phrase from baseball, the Covid-19 vaccination effort has entered an era of small ball. Unless there's a demand for booster shots for those already vaccinated, large-scale vaccination clinics will probably not be seen again, officials said. Read more

Niagara Club makeover slowed, Niagara Falls hotelier says: Rupal Hospitality's plan to turn the former Niagara Club in Niagara Falls into a banquet and amusement facility has been slowed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

The Editorial Board: New push and pull in the job market is capitalism at work: "Post-pandemic hiring has encountered a bevy of obstacles: worries about Covid-19 and the Delta variant; child care needs; and, yes, the desire for higher wages," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

July 14

Trocaire College requires vaccinations for fall semester: Trocaire College will require all students, faculty, staff and non-college service providers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for the fall semester. Read more

The Editorial Board: Canada, U.S. need to break border impasse: "Canada’s abundance-of-caution approach needs to be modified to recognize the abundance of vaccines. It’s your move, Mr. Trudeau," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

My View: Re-entry anxiety after the Covid pause: Beth A. Crvelin enjoys the balance and autonomy of working from her home on Grand Island. Read more

July 13

As July 21 deadline looms, rationale for border shutdown dwindles away: One week before the scheduled expiration of the latest monthlong extension of the U.S.-Canadian border shutdown, the rationale for continuing it appears to be crumbling. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Covid made communication challenging. Listening may be how to improve it: Listening and being open-minded were skills that the last 16 months have challenged in all of us. We explore the implications of that in this installment of “Pandemic Lessons.” Read more

July 12

Here come the brides: Post-covid couples scramble to marry: With a year's worth of canceled weddings to make up for and a full slate of them already scheduled for this year, couples are clambering to tie the knot. Read more

'Supply is not the issue': Why rural places like Allegany County lag in vaccinations: Experts again cite the difficulties in delivering the vaccine to sparsely populated, aging communities where poverty is high and high-speed internet is lacking. Read more

July 11

Covid-19 deaths remain at low point, Cuomo says: Only one person died statewide from Covid-19 on Saturday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported Sunday. Read more

With vaccinated students, college campuses look to get back to normal: After more than a year of taking classes online from home and social distancing and quarantining on campus, colleges and universities are looking forward to returning the college experience to a more traditional one in the fall semester. Read more

Drizzly Taste of Buffalo brings out 'the real foodies': The second, soggy day of Taste of Buffalo was marked by good cheer among both cooks and eaters eager to attend one of the first festivals of the season after widespread cancellations last year. Read more

$1,000 signing bonuses and pay hikes: How competition to fill jobs is benefiting new hires: As the economy recovers from the pandemic, employers are clamoring to hire, while job hunters are weighing their options. Nick Bunker of the Indeed Hiring Lab refers to this as an "urgency mismatch." Read more

Another Voice: Getting vaccinated helps protect the immunosuppressed: "For Mike and me, as we go about trying to return to a somewhat normal life, beyond our family and close friends, we do not know who has been vaccinated, and who hasn’t." Read more

July 10

Almost two weeks since last Covid-19 death in Western New York: Public health officials attribute the steep and sustained drop in new cases to both the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine and the return of summer weather. Read more

With pandemic in retreat, summer traditions offer chance to get 'back to normal': It may not be possible to party like it's 2019. But lots of outdoor experiences to enjoy are a reminder of life prior to Covid-19, from festivals and food markets to garden walks and outdoor entertainment. Read more

Taste of Buffalo is back after a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic: The Taste of Buffalo returned to Niagara Square after a break last year. See photos

July 9

WNY Covid-19 deaths continue to decline, but 'some work to be done' preventing spread: The number of people dying in the region from Covid-19 is the lowest it has been since the first death was reported March 24, 2020. Read more

Sean Kirst: At the ballpark, 'sendoff he deserved' for dad lost to Covid: For John Pijanowski, a professor of education at the University of Arkansas, the trip to Sahlen Field was at the core of a pilgrimage to honor his father, Don. Read more 

Slow rollout of grants to area entertainment venues puts businesses in jeopardy: “Help delayed is help denied,” Rep. Brian Higgins said. “If this is not dealt with and figured out, a lot of these venues will not make it.” Read more

Get back on track: What to expect during your next health care visits: Health care professionals offer tips for those who look to brush back health challenges they let fester during the last 18 months. Read more 

The writing bug helped Dreaming In Ink members navigate the pandemic: The group, which soon plans to resume get-togethers in person on the third Thursday of every month, recently published an anthology that includes nonfiction, fiction, poetry and song lyrics from its most dedicated members. Read more

My View: Rediscovering the joys of road tripping: "We are in, or maybe not, post-Covid times. There are no New York State travel bans, restrictions were easing, the weather in June was lovely, so we planned a short car trip." Read more

July 8

UB will return fans to the stands for football, fall sports: UB announced Thursday afternoon in a release that football games at UB Stadium, as well as other fall sports competitions on campus, will be held at full capacity in front of fans, in accordance with New York State Covid-19 guidelines. Read more 

July 7

Bills coach Sean McDermott reacts to Cole Beasley's vaccine stance: McDermott said he will rely on the leadership among the players to guide the team on the issue. Read more

Masks no longer required in summer school: New York State told schools Wednesday that students are not required to wear masks this summer. Read more

Vaccination clinics Saturday at Albright-Knox Northland, Central Terminal: Both clinics will offer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for ages 18 and older, as well as the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-17. Read more

Dozens join with Rep. Brian Higgins as bipartisan pressure builds to reopen border: In a letter to President Biden, 75 lawmakers – led by Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, as well as Michigan Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga and Florida Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor – said the pandemic has eased to the point where cross-border travel can resume. Read more

State drops mask case against Orchard Park gym owner: "They’re dropping everything against Robby," said attorney Todd J. Aldinger, who along with Paul Cambria Jr. represented the Athletes Unleashed owner in the case. "I don’t know how you can see this as anything but a total victory for Robby." Read more

After a year of pandemic learning, a more expansive approach to summer school: Thousands of students in Western New York are getting back on the bus this month to go to summer school, trying to catch up from uneven learning, or pass that course needed for graduation. Read more

Without Covid-19 restrictions, UB men's basketball builds bonds in offseason: “It’s fun being back. You get to do things with the team, you get to know the guys a little better and you get to hang around each other a little more,” forward Jeenathan Williams said. Read more

Wyoming County International Speedway returns to racing but dealing with pandemic's lingering effects: “We are slowly coming back from a very difficult year last year and working to keep Wyoming County strong for our fans, drivers and businesses that support us,” WCIS owner/promoter James J. Majchrzak said. Read more

July 6

After spring plunge, Covid-19 cases back on the uptick in Erie County: Last week, 34% of new cases of Covid-19 in Erie County were in City of Buffalo residents, an increase from 25% the week before. Read more

Over 1,100 vaccinated at home, but Erie County program hits snags: The county's Vax Visit program aims to deliver vaccine to the doorstep of any county resident who requests it. Read more

The Editorial Board: Increase in Covid-19 infections shows the dangers posed by the unvaccinated: The six-county region of Western New York has recently seen an uptick, more than doubling from about six new cases a day to 13 over the holiday weekend. Read more

Another Voice: U.S., Canada must keep their relationship special: "I am worried that we – at the national, regional and individual level – are losing that feel of 'in it together.' " Read more

July 5

Covid-19 shows stubborn flash in WNY as new cases tick higher: The vaccine loosened Covid-19’s grip, and people are moving about freely and unmasked. But what’s with that blip in new cases spotted in Western New York? Read more

Slight increases put state's Covid-19 rate higher than it's been in a month: The increases continue to be slight, but the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise statewide and in Western New York. Read more

Darwin Martin House resumes guided tours with second floor included for first time: The general tour of the Darwin Martin House for the first time includes the second-floor bedrooms Frank Lloyd Wright built for the Martin family, guests and servants. Read more

July 4

Western New York's low Covid-19 rate continues slight climb: The Covid-19 positivity rate in the five-county Western New York region, calculated on a seven-day average, rose on Saturday to 0.45%, up from 0.43% on Friday and 0.40% on Thursday, according to figures released Sunday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. Read more

The Editorial Board: Poloncarz’s plans for a flood of federal money are OK, but they should aim for transformational: This is a unique moment. Tens of millions of unexpected dollars are pouring into the county and – as with all other entities benefiting from the American Rescue Plan – the county should aim for the history books. Read more

July 3

Pandemic lessons: Are we ready for big events?: Surrounding vaccinated people with other vaccinated people is the scientifically surest way to keep a big crowd safe and minimize the possibility of spread at a big event. But that is not what’s happening – not here, and not in most places around the country. Which begs the question: Are we ready to go back to mega-size events? We explore that topic in this week’s “Pandemic Lessons.” Read more

Covid-19 rates see slight uptick in WNY and across state: It has been seven days since the state has reported a death from the Western New York region. Read more

The Editorial Board: The Fourth is again a day to celebrate in public thanks to Covid-conquering vaccines: For this Independence Day, much of America can celebrate a new kind of freedom: liberation from Covid-19. Read more

My View: Back on the high seas, Buffalo pride surfaces: Greg Stamm says, "It took 16 months, four cancellations, a few negative Covid-19 tests and two doses of the vaccine, but last week my wife and I were able to enjoy our first ocean-going cruise since we debarked a ship in San Diego just two weeks before the pandemic of 2020 stopped the world in its tracks. Read more

July 2

Jeff Miers: Live music has returned to WNY. Are we ready for it?: Even as recently as early June, the full return of live music felt like a fairly remote possibility. But when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced June 15 that all Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted immediately, as 70% of New Yorkers age 18 or older had received the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccination regimen, that landscape shifted rather radically. Read more

My View: Visit to doctor hardens my vaccine skepticism: Long term, the Covid vaccines could be all that we want them to be. But doctors criticizing previous and widely accepted norms, insulting, belittling, threatening, or pressuring patients into getting one, will only serve to lower confidence in the vaccine, and quite possibly, any other Covid measures," writes Robyn Jobity. Read more

July 1

Poloncarz's 2021 State of the County differs in tone, delivery and style: Instead of devoting the bulk of his address talking about his priorities for the rest of 2021, most of his comments are devoted to the year that passed and Erie County's role in getting through the biggest public health crisis of a lifetime. His upbeat, wide-angle rhetoric offers positive reflections on the work done by the many county departments to respond to the pandemic, the work of county employees and the collective efforts of the community. Read more

Fourth of July fireworks back after Covid-19 hiatus – just not everywhere: After the pandemic canceled fireworks throughout the region last July, local officials and organizations scrambled to plan shows this year once the state eased restrictions on large, outdoor gatherings. Read more

'A Midsummer Night’s Walk':  An enchanted Shakespearean tour through Delaware Park: This is Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s playfully inventive response to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Staging full productions of Shakespeare is expensive and takes about a year. The cost of assembling the outdoor stage, alone, is breathtaking. Last summer the venerable festival was obliged to derail its season, except for an evening of small excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays. With news from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization changing by the hour, it seemed wise to prepare for any contingency. Read more

June 30

The Editorial Board: Delta variant makes a powerful new case both for caution and for vaccination: "The country and this region could have been better off already had more people heeded the advice of medical experts and if more Americans had been vaccinated. How much better or worse off we will be in the coming weeks and months depends on the same," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

June 29

Erie County Covid-19 hospitalizations hit lowest level since March 2020: Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in Erie County last week declined to their lowest reported levels since the state began tracking the data in mid-March 2020, according to a weekly update released Tuesday by the Erie County Department of Health. Read more

June 28

Pandemic Lessons: What Covid-19 rules should we keep?: As we move forward, what practices should we keep, both for the sake of our individual health and for public health? For this installment of Pandemic Lessons, we asked physicians, infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists. Read more

Grants allow Explore & More to be open additional days, hire staff: A $250,000 grant arrived in May from KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, jumpstarting the museum's recovery from its pandemic woes. Read more

June 26

Western New York's Covid rate remains lowest in the state: New York State's Covid-19 numbers continue to plummet, and Western New York's regional rates continue to be the lowest of the low. Read more

Erie County shuts down mass vaccination sites: The county "will now focus on mobile clinic locations, including coming to events and farmers' markets near you," County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. Read more

Cut off from loved ones in Canada, locals demand border reopening: Americans and Canadians gathered at the center of the Rainbow Bridge Saturday – by special permission – to protest the border's continued closure. Read more

Cellino Law faces serious financial challenges, eliminates lawyers' salaries: Serious financial problems have hit the Buffalo law firm that attorney Ross M. Cellino Jr. started last year after a messy breakup with his business partner, Stephen E. Barnes. Read more

The Editorial Board: Come on, Canada – there’s no benefit to either country keeping out fully vaccinated visitors: "The vaccines aren’t perfect, but they’re the best anyone can do. They’re the world’s passport to some kind of normalcy. We should use them." Read more

June 25

With only 6 active cases, Niagara County halts daily Covid-19 updates: Niagara County stopped daily Covid-19 caseload updates Friday because the numbers have become so small. Read more

An Amherst woman lost almost half her body weight during the pandemic. Here's how: Brianna Oyewo has learned over the years that losing pounds and maintaining weight loss takes more than an unsustainable crash diet. Read more

In the second round of PPP, smaller loans went to fewer companies: Even with reduced numbers this year, PPP made a direct impact on the local economy. Read more

June 23

Bills receiver Cole Beasley says he has no regrets for comments on vaccine: The Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver spoke out recently about the agreement between the NFL and the league’s players’ association regarding Covid-19 protocols. Beasley, who has chosen not to be vaccinated, wrote last week that if he’s “forced into retirement, so be it,” based on his apparent dissatisfaction regarding how the 2021 season will be conducted for players who have been vaccinated versus those who have not. Read more

June 22

Canada's Justin Trudeau: Border restrictions could be loosened in weeks, not months: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday offered a slim reed of hope that the closure of the Canadian border won't last all summer, saying that the next phase of the crossing's gradual reopening could begin within a few weeks. Read more

WIVB's Christy Kern exits station, explains her mysterious absence was due to Covid-19:  WIVB-TV anchor Christy Kern announced her exit from the station Tuesday in a lengthy Facebook and Twitter post in which she cleared up the mystery of her extended absence. She  explained that she was infected with Covid-19 and has been what has been termed a long hauler. Read more

June 21

Highmark Stadium, Sahlen Field can operate at full capacity: Buffalo Bills games at Highmark Stadium in the fall and Toronto Blue Jays games at Sahlen Field starting this week will be open to full capacity. Read more

Canada toughens reopening goal, will tax properties owned by foreigners: The Canadian government indicated Monday that it may require 75% of Canadians to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before further loosening border travel restrictions – while moving forward on a plan that would slap a tax on vacant homes owned by foreigners. Read more

Judge rules in favor of Lancaster schools in mask case: Maria and Willard Hunter, whose children suffered asthma attacks in school June 7, were seeking a preliminary injunction requiring the district to allow them to go maskless without a physician's note. Read more

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz unveils plans to spend federal stimulus money: Long-overdue projects at Erie County parks, major sewer improvements, new jobs and a bonus for essential county employees who reported during the worst of the pandemic are just a few of the plans Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has for spending federal pandemic aid. Read more

Rachel Scharf graduates: From a stuffed bear to a cap and gown – 'It's just crazy how it all went so fast': Rachel has come a long way just this school year, from learning fully remotely at home because of the Covid-19 pandemic until mid-January, to returning to school a couple of days a week, and finally, attending in-person full time the last six weeks of school. Read more

June 20

Bills fans won't need Covid-19 shots to go to games at Highmark Stadium: Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced on social media Sunday that people will no longer need to be vaccinated to attend Buffalo Bills games or other events in the stadium. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: We all agree on something big, so why are we still divided?: In this Pandemic Lessons, we dig into the reasons why people can come together on a major belief, but handle it in entirely different ways. Read more

Pioneer Central state aid threatened over decision to make masks optional: Superintendent Benjamin Halsey posted a message on the district website two weeks ago that the "on-campus wearing of masks by students, staff and faculty at Pioneer School District will be optional as of June 7." Read more

The Editorial Board: Poloncarz is right to insist fans using county’s stadium be vaccinated: "All of Western New York should be rooting for Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

June 19

Delta variant of Covid-19 found in Erie County, UB scientists say: Scientists from the University at Buffalo have discovered the highly contagious delta variant of Covid-19 in a sample from Erie County, Ellen Goldbaum, news content manager for medicine in University Communications reported. Read more

Sen. Charles Schumer presses Canadian ambassador on border closure: Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Saturday that he called Canada's ambassador to the United States a day earlier with a stern message: that Canada is making a huge mistake in insisting that its border with the U.S. remain closed to nonessential travel through July 21. Read more

June 18

Western New York's Covid-19 rate, at all-time low, is lowest in state for first time: The five-county region's seven-day average rate is not only the lowest it has ever been, it is the lowest among the state's 10 regions for the first time of the pandemic. Read more

Continued border closure through July 21 prompts angry reaction: The United States has not made any similar announcement on its border restrictions, which are set to expire Monday. But the two nations have acted in tandem since the start of the pandemic, so the United States is expected to continue barring nonessential travelers from Canada as well. Read more

Bills receiver Cole Beasley says Covid-19 protocols may force him into retirement: Bills receiver Cole Beasley, who has generated plenty of headlines this offseason with his questioning of the Covid-19 vaccine, took to Twitter again Thursday, this time to call the NFL Players’ Association a “joke.” Read more

Another Voice: Making sure no one is left behind after Covid-19: "As consumers emerge and spend within their communities, there are new opportunities to support minority-owned businesses," writes Michael McMahon. Read more

June 17

If you want to see a Bills game in person, you still need to be vaccinated, Erie County says: New York State may have given the Buffalo Bills the green light to fill up stadium seats at 100% capacity without restrictions, but Erie County hasn't. Read more

Restaurants are back – and busy – but challenges remain: The end of social distancing requirements means restaurants can fill customer tables wall-to-wall once more, and newly vaccinated customers are clamoring for seats. Read more

Jeff Miers: For summer concerts, it’s game on, with no rules and referees: "We’ve gone from dipping our toe cautiously into the pool to stripping naked and diving off a cliff into waters we haven’t even bothered to fathom the depth of," writes Jeff Miers. Read more

The Editorial Board: Kriner Cash made right choice in requiring in-person schooling for Buffalo district: "Remote schooling was needed during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it came at a considerable cost." Read more

June 16

Western New York gets back to normal, one festival at a time: Just as festivals and events closed one by one last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, announcements are dribbling out from some that are coming back this summer. Read more

BPS: Remote learning available in fall only to students with medical exemptions: At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, all Buffalo Public Schools students, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, are expected to return to full in-person instruction five days a week, Superintendent Kriner Cash said. Read more

The mask mandate is still in effect in schools. Some parents and administrators have had enough: Even though the end of the school year is near, and a return to something resembling normalcy is in sight, the battle over wearing masks has remained a flashpoint. Read more

Erie County Fair will have 100% capacity: Admission tickets will be sold online only, starting at 9 a.m. July 1, but visitors will no longer need to buy a ticket for a specific day, the Erie County Agricultural Society announced. Read more

No more admission tickets for Taste of Buffalo: A Taste of Buffalo has announced admission will be free and tickets to the event will no longer be needed. Read more

Corporate Challenge preparing for fall run: The Corporate Challenge is preparing for a return run in Buffalo, but in the fall instead of in June. Read more

Buffalo Marathon first large race in state to return to normal conditions: The June 27 race will be held with a single start and with spectators. Read more

Back to normal for Queen of Heaven Carnival: "The news we just got is that we will pretty much back to the normal carnival," said the Rev. Gregory Faulhaber, pastor of the church. Read more

The Editorial Board: A day to celebrate, though the unvaccinated and some others remain at risk: "For most of us, at least for now, life can get back to normal. It’s a great moment," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

June 15

As governor rolls back Covid-19 restrictions, the celebrating comes with a caution: "I think we’ll be largely OK, but what people can’t take away from this is we’re done; we’ve wiped this off the face of the Earth and it's over," said Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases with the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Read more

Cuomo: With 70% vaccinated, New York State reopens, gets 'back to living': The governor said that more than 70% of New York State adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine, meeting a threshold he set last week that would trigger an easing of most of the state's restrictions that have been in place during the 15-month pandemic. Read more

Border restrictions could be eased in late July or August, top Canadian official says: The U.S. and Canada will have to make some sort of announcement soon regarding the border, given that the latest monthlong extension of the shutdown is scheduled to expire next Monday. Read more

Erie County maintains good credit rating despite health crisis: The Fitch credit rating agency has affirmed Erie County's "A+" bond rating, a sign of confidence in the stability of county government, which appears to have emerged from the Covid-19 budget crisis unscathed, due to both deficit reduction measures put in place by County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the millions in federal dollars that have been funneled to the county to respond to the Covid-19 public health crisis and offset lost revenue from sales taxes. Read more

Deborah A. Lytle, 70, dedicated registered nurse and instructor: Since 2000, Deborah Lytle had been treated for breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a brain-stem tumor. After recovering, Lytle "continued to enjoy travel, golf, gardening, photography, good food and hearty conversations," said her friend, Kate Lulek. "She could not, however, overcome the ravages of Covid-19." Read more

The Editorial Board: Return of in-person sessions is essential, but Kulpa’s critics should simmer down: "In-person meetings provide a better participatory experience. They should return as soon as safety allows. But the world is just emerging from a deadly pandemic, and it is no surprise that its pace and progress vary," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

June 14

State Fair will be open at full capacity; Erie County Fair must wait and see: An Erie County Fair spokeswoman said organizers are awaiting more information before making a decision on capacity at the event slated for Aug. 11-22. Read more

Buffalo Niagara employers encouraging – not requiring – worker vaccination: From on-site vaccination clinics to encouraging messages from company leaders and attempts to convince workers about vaccine safety, Buffalo Niagara businesses are pushing workers to get their shots. But one thing they aren't doing is mandating it. Read more

New York nearly reaches 70% vaccination rate: The state's vaccination rate has grown to 69.9%, just below the 70% threshold Gov. Andrew Cuomo said would trigger a nearly full reopening. Read more

Almost there: Smith family 'just trying to survive for the rest of this school year': As part of a Buffalo News project about learning during the pandemic, News photographer Harry Scull Jr. spent time capturing images of the Smith family of Arcade – Kyle, Andrea and their sons, Phineas, Bennett and Jensen, as they found their way through the school year during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Feds charge pair with fraud, allege $1 million PPP loan scam: Adam D. Arena of Great Valley, and Amanda J. Gloria of Altus, Okla., conspired to use a defunct business to obtain a $954,000 loan and then misuse the money on personal expenses, according to court papers. Read more

Catholic Health hospitals resume pre-pandemic visiting hours: No patient may have more than two visitors at a time. All must be 12 or older; those under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Medically necessary exceptions, including end-of-life situations, should be arranged in advance with the nursing staff. Read more

Three Broadway productions to launch at Shea's: 'Finally, live theater is back': Shea’s Buffalo Theatre will follow safety protocols established by the CDC, New York State and Erie County that are in place at the time of reopening, and will inform patrons of those requirements prior to the performances. Read more

June 13

Pandemic Lessons: What are the realities of being a pandemic graduate?: Whether in high school or college, students learned lessons about communication and resilience, problem-solving and adaptability. This week's Pandemic Lessons takes a look at the class of 2021. Read more

Positive Covid-19 rate in Western New York about the same as state average: Over the past week, fewer than five out of every 1,000 Covid-19 tests in Western New York has been positive, according to the most recent data provided by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office. Read more

The Editorial Board:  Excelsior Pass has one job – and it’s not tracking and storing our medical profiles: "Storing medical data is something we should have to opt in to, not made to opt out of," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

My View: Taking the plunge back into normalcy: "After a year plus of fear, boredom, anger and sorrow, nothing about re-normalizing seemed normal," writes Lori Duvall-Jackson. Read more

June 12

NCCC resumes summer academic and sports camps: Niagara County Community College will resume its annual program of youth summer academic and sports camps in July, led by faculty, staff and students. Read more

First post-pandemic jury trial in Niagara County ends in conviction: A Lockport man was convicted of gun and drug charges Friday in the first felony jury trial completed in Niagara County since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more 

June 11

Uniland scales back Eastern Hills Mall town-center plan: Uniland Development Co. said it has scrapped one of the two hotels and half the retail space planned for its remake of Eastern Hills Mall into a mixed-use town center, after the Covid-19 pandemic decimated both industries. Read more

Retiring library director oversaw technology, pandemic challenges: One of her greatest rewards, Mary Jean Jakubowski said, was how the library helped people overcome their isolation during the first months of Covid-19. Read more

NY Project Hope designed to help deal with pandemic mental health fallout: Despite the successes fighting Covid-19, fallout from the global pandemic lingers, including the stresses it wrought. Read more

Discount Diva: Supporting live music is worth the money: People are beginning to understand how valuable live music is. A LendingTree survey found that 60% of concertgoers intend to spend more money at shows this year in order to support musicians and their crews and help them recover from pandemic-induced losses. Read more

June 10

How scientists are testing for Covid in the bowels of Erie County: Since the fall, scientists have been analyzing samples of wastewater taken from sewage treatment plants around Erie County to look for the fragments of the virus that causes Covid-19. Read more

Poloncarz's emergency spending powers terminated as Covid-19 crisis wanes: The Erie County Legislature on Thursday unanimously voted to terminate the sweeping emergency spending authority it handed to County Executive Mark Poloncarz a year ago, the latest sign that the Covid-19 health crisis is waning, and government can start getting back to businesses as usual. Read more

Experts say Canadian politics stands in the way of border reopening: An online panel discussion sponsored by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada was held as frustration continued to build on both sides of the border in reaction to revised Canadian travel rules. Read more

Gusto's Festival Guide 2021: The return of summer favorites: Even as some of Buffalo Niagara's favorite events are spending another year on the sidelines due to Covid-19 concerns, there are still nearly 30 festivals committed to happening this summer. Read more

June 9

Canada rolls out new border rules – to a hostile reaction: Under the new rules, people who are currently allowed to enter Canada will no longer have to undergo a quarantine in a government-approved hotel upon arrival. Read more

He tried to get across the border legally to see his fiancee. He ended up in a cell instead: Aaron Ross of Brooklyn, whose fiancee lives in Toronto, made three drives to Western New York to try to cross the international border to see her. Last week, he finally got into Canada – but not very far and not very comfortably. Read more

Vaccinations begin today at Erie County Correctional Facility: The shots are being offered to inmates but are not being required, spokesman Scott Zylka said. Read more

Lawsuit over couple’s Covid-19 deaths challenges nursing homes' immunity: An attorney for the family said he believes the lawsuit is the first of its kind in the state to confront the Covid-19 immunity. Read more

Passports to be issued again at county clerk's offices: “As restrictions continue to be lifted and people begin to make travel plans, now is a good time to get or renew your passport,” Niagara County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski said in a news release. Read more

Inside the Bills: Tommy Sweeney details long road back from Covid-19, myocarditis diagnosis: Sweeney is believed to be the first and, to date, only known NFL player to develop myocarditis following a Covid-19 infection. Read more

June 8

Erie County kids, teens make up majority of positive Covid-19 tests: Last week, 35 children and teens in the 10-19 age range tested positive for Covid-19, according to data released Tuesday by the Erie County Health Department. Read more

As Canada plots border reopening, Jacobs pushes U.S. to do the same: The Canadian government plans to ease its travel restrictions at the U.S. border "in the coming weeks and months," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday as Rep. Chris Jacobs introduced legislation aimed at forcing the Biden administration to explain its preparation for eventually doing the same. Read more

More free alcohol with your vaccine: 'Doses & Mimosas' on Elmwood: From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Savoy, Forty Thieves and Mr. Goodbar, those who receive a vaccine will receive a mimosa in a complimentary champagne flute. Read more

Pop-up Covid-19 vaccination site set for Friday in Northwest Community Center: The Northwest Community Center is one of 11 new pop-up vaccination sites that will open across the state in areas where ZIP code data show the vaccination rate is significantly lower than the statewide average. Read more

Brandon Beane: Vaccination status won't be a divisive issue for Bills: “We've obviously educated our guys on as much as we have,” Beane said during a video conference with Western New York media. “It has been a hot topic, but in the building the guys have been very focused on football here. I think it's probably grown more legs outside, whether it's social media or articles." Read more

The Editorial Board: Unilateral move by U.S. could bring needed pressure to get border unlocked: "There are economic reasons to reopen our border crossings. Buffalo Niagara International Airport depends on Canadians for about 30% of its traffic in a normal year, and up to 40% at heavy travel times. As the airport climbs back to its feet after a year disrupted by Covid-19, our neighbors from the north represent a missing piece of the puzzle. We need them," writes The News Editorial Board. Read more

June 7

A state of mask confusion: Cuomo clarifies school Covid rules: The governor said it was important that people understand the connection between the restrictions and science and data. Read more

June 6

A Covid patient's long journey back to teaching: After more than three months battling Covid-19, Valerie Brown is back at work – and couldn't be happier to be there. Read more

New York's Covid-19 positivity rate continues to drop: The state's positivity rate declined for the 62nd straight day Saturday and hit a record low 0.52%. Read more

State says wear your mask to school Monday: While New York's health commissioner did send a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying New York intends to waive the mask mandate for students effective Monday, that doesn't mean kids don't have to wear a mask. Read more

Buffalo schools to continue Covid-19 precautions for rest of school year: Covid-19 precautions will remain in effect in the Buffalo Public Schools through the end of the classes later this month. Read more 

Families separated by Canadian border closure 'beg and plead' for reopening: “Our lives are just in limbo,” said April Parkhill, who has postponed her wedding to a Canadian man three times in hopes the border would reopen. Read more

My View: In a pandemic year, not all was lost: "In a year that was full of tragedy and pain and bad memories, I already have more good memories with my family than I can count," writes Jim Coupe. Read more

June 5

Catholics obliged to attend Sunday Masses again, beginning this weekend: Bosses are calling employees back into the office. Area school children have returned full time to the classroom. And now Bishop Michael W. Fisher is asking 500,000 Western New York Catholics to take a seat in church again. Read more

NYS schools required to report remote vs. in-person attendance: The state took the unprecedented step this year of requiring districts to report student attendance information that’s more detailed this school year than ever before. Schools need to report for each student, for each day from September through June, whether they attended, and whether they were in person or remote. Read more

State extending 'Vax and Scratch' lottery tickets for vaccine recipients: In the hopes of enticing more people to get vaccinated, the state announced it is extending its "Vax and Scratch" program that provides free state lottery scratch-off tickets to people 18 and older who get vaccinated at the University at Buffalo South Campus site and nine other state-run locations around New York. Read more

David Robinson: Why Buffalo Niagara's economic recovery is different this time around: The Covid-19 recession started off like a recurring nightmare for the Buffalo Niagara region. But 14 months later, there are growing signs that the region's job market is steadily moving toward a much happier place. Read more

June 4

As Covid-19 positivity rate plummets in NY, state says masks now optional in schools: In a surprise move Friday, the state announced that masks are no longer required in schools and camps, whether indoors or outdoors. Read more

White House looks to CDC for guidance on border reopening: "As it relates to borders – Canada or Mexico – we really rely on the guidance of the CDC and our health and medical experts. So in terms of how they look at the data and information, I would point you to them and whether they would do that in a preliminary fashion or not," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. Read more

Niagara Falls Memorial infectious disease chief was practically raised to fight a pandemic: Dr. Rajinder Bajwa arrived in Buffalo in 2011 for a two-year fellowship in infectious diseases and is now the chief of infectious disease and infection prevention at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Read more

The Editorial Board: It seems to us – Return of BPO is a sound decision; Blue Jays make themselves at home: "The news this week that JoAnn Falletta and the BPO will return to Kleinhans Music Hall in the fall with a full season of concerts was a gust of wind beneath our Covid-clipped wings," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: As Erie County relaxes oversight, all governments must review their response: "As learning experiences go, this one has been difficult and painful and it’s not over yet. But it will count as a failure if governments fail to review the lessons of the past 15 months, knowing that, sooner or later, that effort will save American lives," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

June 3

New record lows for single-day and 7-day average Covid-19 positivity rates: The statewide, single-day Covid-19 positivity rate dropped to 0.44% on Wednesday. Read more

Covid-19 cases drop in schools after students return full time: Once all students could return to school five days a week, public school superintendents started noticing something about the number of Covid-19 cases: They were plummeting. Read more

Erie County Legislature to roll back Poloncarz's emergency spending authority: Given the improvement in Erie County's Covid-19 infection rates and vaccine supply, the Legislature next week is expected to roll back Poloncarz's sweeping spending powers. Read more

Top House Republican calls on U.S. to open border unilaterally: Rep. Elise Stefanik, who chairs the House Republican Conference, sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas suggesting the move – which, she said, should happen on June 21 if the two countries can't agree on a border reopening plan by then. Read more

Concessions reopening signals rebound at Buffalo airport: If there is an official "Buffalo style" sign of normal life returning to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, it has to be Wednesday's reopening of the Anchor Bar. Read more

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announces in-person 2021-2022 season: The BPO's season opens in September and features 18 Classics and 12 Pops concerts, including several rescheduled big-name performances from the abbreviated 2019-2020 season. Read more

The Editorial Board: With Canadian leaders joining Higgins’ border push, prospects may soon improve: "The challenge is to persuade enough people that travel is safe once people are fully vaccinated and that both countries will benefit from carefully relaxing the rules," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

My View: Pandemic limitations clear new paths: "For all its dreadful consequences and irreparable losses, including the suffering and death of so many people, many of us were inspired to alter the course of our lives to some degree," writes Howard Wolf. Read more

June 2

Canadian politicians join Higgins' call for border reopening: Higgins is hoping that pressure will force Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Biden to agree to open the land borders between the two countries sooner rather than later. Read more

My View: Living in the age of clipped communications: For centuries of conflict, the distance between home and the front was covered by letters. Covid-19 didn’t bring us conventional war, but forced us into a chain-link enclosure of text messages. Read more

June 1

Erie County now labeled 'moderate transmission' area: Last week's case total was the lowest Erie County has seen since August. Read more

Ad campaign to open Canadian border goes bicoastal – and binational: What started as a modest ad campaign in Buffalo in mid-May is growing into a binational, big-money effort to reopen the long-shut U.S.-Canadian border. Read more

Brown to look to public for ideas on spending Buffalo's pandemic relief funds: Buffalo received about $166 million Tuesday from the American Rescue Plan. Read more

The Editorial Board: Casting off our Covid concerns, despite some lingering worries: "It’s starting to feel sort of … kind of … something like, well … normal," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

May 31

Pandemic Lessons: How much should we care what Josh Allen says about vaccines?: In this installment of "Pandemic Lessons" we examine the weight of influencer endorsements (or non-endorsements) of vaccination and explore who has the most impact on individual decisions. Read more

May 30

Pandemic infections keep falling, but so do vaccinations: New York State continued its downward Covid-19 trajectory Saturday with a new record-low infection rate over the past seven days, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo warned again that the statewide vaccination rate also is declining, despite a host of incentives to encourage more jabs in arms. Read more

Covid fallout: More than 40% of Buffalo students chronically absent: One-third of high school students in Buffalo missed at least one out of five school days in September, according to a Buffalo News analysis of district data. Among elementary students, one-fourth did. Read more

After a school year like no other, proms are looking different this year: Despite having a year filled with remote, hybrid and, for some, full-time in-person learning, many of this year's high school seniors are getting a chance to wear prom dresses and tuxedos, even if they're not having a traditional prom. Read more

May 29

Covid-19 positive test rate drops in Western New York: Western New York's seven-day average positive Covid-19 test rate was 1.15% on Friday, down slightly from 1.2% the day before, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Read more

Protest against vaccine passports draws about 70 in Buffalo: About 70 people gathered Saturday afternoon on Bidwell Parkway in Buffalo to voice their opposition to state-issued Covid-19 vaccine passports that can be used as proof of being vaccinated. Read more

Sean Kirst: Neal Dobbins' death means loss of a voice for peace in Buffalo: The death of Neal Dobbins, founder of Most Valuable Parents of Buffalo, on Tuesday from Covid-19 has touched off a cascade of grief in the community. Read more

The Editorial Board: Albany needs to deliver aid to relieve staff shortages in caring for the disabled: As part of the American Rescue Plan passed this year, the federal government is increasing FMAP aid 10% for home and community services for the disability community. Read more

Another Voice: Animal research made Covid vaccines possible: Some of the biggest breakthroughs occurred several decades ago, in the 1990s. That’s when critical proof-of-concept studies in rodents demonstrated how snippets of messenger RNA (or mRNA) could be used to teach the body how to fight off infectious diseases. Read more

May 28

New York's Covid-19 positive rate drops to 0.6%, lowest level since start of pandemic: New York’s single-day positive rate dropped to its lowest level on Thursday since the start of the pandemic – a heartening milestone as the state reopens. Read more

In uncertain times, EMTs adapted and weathered the pandemic: The pandemic closed most fire stations, limited personal contact within and outside departments and wrought frequent changes in training and treatment guidelines. It also added time, costs and fears for those responding to emergencies. Read more

Niagara County adds J&J vaccine to seven June Covid clinics: Any adult who wants a single dose of J&J vaccine is allowed to walk in and obtain it. Read more

5 ways Covid has changed how we shop for groceries: The pandemic condensed and accelerated changes in the grocery sector that otherwise might have taken years to materialize. Read more

Another pandemic boost: Outdoor fitness classes about to resume: Consider next week a great outdoor fitness reawakening. The two largest related programs in the region will return in force. Read more

May 27

Planning on attending concerts at Artpark? You need to be vaccinated: The venue has announced that all of its large-scale concerts – those events that will host in excess of 500 attendees including those in its amphitheater – will follow a “fully vaccinated-only” admittance policy. Read more

Elmwood arts festival joins other canceled summer events: Organizers said the chance that the state's advisories would change was too great for the amount of time and money that the festival takes for their all-volunteer event, which usually takes place at the end of August. Read more

My View: Covid interrupts our tennis traditions: "As I look forward to returning to my second home, I do so with a heavy heart. It feels kind of like looking forward to Christmas without any presents. Camp life will also be totally different this year," writes Bob Gamble. Read more

May 26

Superintendents want state guidelines for fall out by next week: Last year, state guidance for reopening schools shuttered by the pandemic in the spring came out in August, and educators scrambled. Read more

State to raffle 50 free college educations to teens who get vaccinated: The full-ride scholarships to public colleges and universities, which will include tuition, room and board, are to be awarded at a rate of 10 per week in random drawings. Read more

Seven nursing homes in Buffalo area fined for Covid-19 violations: The largest fine, for $12,000, was against Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Williamsville. Read more

Mayor Brown 'feeling good' after Covid-19 exposure, isolating at home: Brown said he has had his first Covid-19 shot and is scheduled to get his second dose sometime next week. Read more

With border closed, tourism season in Niagara Falls is looking up: Niagara Falls also finds itself in an unusual situation because of the pandemic: no competition from the other side of the border. Read more

Kim Pegula: Bills 'still don't have a lot of clarity' from state on attendance at Highmark Stadium: Despite playing in one of 28 NFL stadiums that have received approval from state and local governments to open to full capacity this season, the Buffalo Bills still have uncertainty about how that will look at Highmark Stadium. Read more

The Editorial Board: Cuomo, feds should adopt Higgins’ plan to open border for vaccinations: "Economies on both sides of the border could also use the lift from increased traffic," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

May 25

Increasing air travel prompts enhanced TSA protocols: It wasn't exactly bustling at Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, but it was a lot busier than on the same date last year when the Covid-19 pandemic had upended the nation. Read more

David Robinson: More hiring, falling unemployment for Buffalo Niagara region: The region is steadily regaining some of the jobs that vanished during the start of the pandemic, and the number of people holding jobs is at 13-month high – an indication that it is getting easier for people who are looking to find work. Read more

Cooped up at home, Western New Yorkers turn to renovations: A boom in home improvements has continued a year into the pandemic. Read more

Woman, claiming she has Covid-19, accused of spitting in officer's face: A 33-year-old woman has been charged with felony assault after being accused of spitting in an Erie County Medical Center police officer's face and saying she has Covid-19, according to a Buffalo police report. Read more

Music festival in MLK Park to include Covid-19 vaccinations: An African Dance and Music Festival at 7 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday in Martin Luther King Jr. Park will include food and merchandise vendors as well as a health care team offering Covid-19 vaccinations. Read more

Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds choose not to share their Covid-19 vaccination status: “Really, throughout the remainder of the season – and we're having conversations as a team – I’m going to keep those conversations and choices of myself and my teammates in house," Allen said. Read more

Bills training camp to start July 27, but where?: The NFL told teams in early May that they were allowed to leave team facilities for training camp if they desired but plans need to be approved by the league. Read more

The Editorial Board: Overcoming myths, conspiracy theories is a key to raising city’s inoculation rates: "For Buffalo to fully rebound after the pandemic, more city residents need to roll up their sleeves," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: More remote learning? Buffalo schools make a bad call: "The vaccine has eliminated every possible reason for distance learning," writes Larry Quinn. Read more

May 24

The Hardy kids return to school, but can they catch up?: The day the Hardy family of Buffalo had long been waiting for arrived on the morning of March 22 when the bus came to pick up young James and take him to school after a year of learning remotely from home. A month later, on April 26, it would be his sister Briyana who would finally get her chance to return to the classroom. Both occasions were captured by Buffalo News photographer Sharon Cantillon, who spent the past several months documenting the triumphs and tribulations of remote learning in Buffalo Public Schools while embedded with the family. Read and see more

How get-out-the-vote strategies could help get more people the Covid-19 vaccine: The battle is on to convince people who are still taking a wait-and-see approach or are reluctant or just don’t want to get vaccinated. Read more

Clarence parents' lawsuit seeking five-day, in-person classes thrown out: A State Supreme Court judge dismissed a lawsuit by a Clarence parents group seeking to have students return to in-person learning full-time. Read more

New York offers free parking at beaches, pools for those vaccinated this week: The new incentive to encourage vaccinations comes as the vaccination rate across New York "is dropping off dramatically," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. Read more

Sahlen Field adding more seating for fully vaccinated, more Yankees tickets available Thursday: More tickets will be available in four fully vaccinated sections and will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Thursday at more

Summer staycation: Cross these local attractions off your bucket list: We are vaccinated (yeah!), but maybe not quite ready to fly just yet, so some of our summer will be a staycation of sorts with local places on our list to visit. Read more 

May 23

End of pandemic 'close' as Covid-19 morphs to 'endemic,' UB expert says: In Western New York, where average daily infections have fallen by more than 70% over the past month, the end of the pandemic is in sight, Dr. Thomas Russo said. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: What's it like to go out again – and even laugh?: In this “Pandemic Lessons,” we explore how to navigate the feelings of stepping back into the public. Read more

Buffalo's higher proportion of Covid-19 deaths linked to low vaccination rates: In January, Buffalo residents accounted for 19% of county residents who died of Covid-19-related illnesses. But in April, city dwellers accounted for 43% of deaths. Read more

May 22

How one Buffalo company is convincing workers to get vaccinated: $500: Brian Kimmins thought it would be great for workers at his company, Buffalo Transport, to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Read more

New guidelines on kids and masks raise questions, concerns: The state's new mask guidelines for child care programs and camps require children over the age of 2 to wear face coverings except when eating, drinking, showering, swimming or sleeping – or outdoors when they’re unable to tolerate a face covering during physical activities. “Parents are disappointed. They’re worried, as they should be,” said Sherry Phillips, president of A Leap in Learning early childhood centers in Hamburg and Orchard Park.  Read more

UB finds all Covid-19 variants in Erie County although virus is backing off: “The virus is still out there and it is different than what we started with,” Dr. Jennifer A. Surtees said in a written statement, adding that the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "all protect against all of the variants of concern.” Read more

May 21

Case of Amherst podiatrist charged with taking vaccine home to wife headed for dismissal: Dr. Roy R. DeFrancis was arraigned on Friday morning in Hamburg Town Court on a misdemeanor count of petit larceny. Read more

Tour de Cure to address diabetes will take place virtually across upstate New York: The Upstate New York chapter of the American Diabetes Association decided this year to merge its annual Tour de Cure biking fundraisers in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Read more

Lockport's Main Street arts and crafts show to return in June: The Lockport Optimist Club Arts and Crafts Festival, canceled last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will return to Main Street in Lockport on June 26 and 27. Read more

Demone Harris' youth football camp in South Buffalo postponed: Demone Harris' youth football camp, which was scheduled to be held Saturday afternoon in South Buffalo, has been postponed until June 5 due to a Covid-19 issue. Read more

The Editorial Board: It seems to us – $5 million to protect your health and the gator wasn’t looking for a burger: "It should have been obvious from the start. The way to increase the number Americans getting Covid-19 vaccinations is to offer them a remote chance to win big money," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

May 20

BPS students to have choice between remote, in-person learning in fall: In September, Buffalo Public Schools students will be given the option of starting the school year fully remote, or returning to the classroom five days a week, Superintendent Kriner Cash said Thursday. Read more

Cuomo in WNY: Get a vaccine, get a $5 million scratch-off lottery ticket: The "Vax and Scratch" program will provide those getting vaccines at state-run sites with a scratch-off "mega-multiplier" New York State lottery ticket. Read more

Five Erie County vaccination clinics to be held Saturday: Clinics will be held at Kleinhans Music Hall, McKinley High School, MST Preparatory School, SUNY ECC South Campus and SUNY ECC North Campus. Read more

Border shutdown extended to June 21 with no new exemptions: The U.S.-Canadian border will remain shut to nonessential travel through June 21, and there won't be any new exemptions in that time for people who want to visit loved ones or their property across the border. Read more

Restaurants lead growth in Buffalo Niagara's jobs in April: The restaurant and hotel industry is showing signs of life in its employment, as rising vaccination rates, the rollback of pandemic restrictions and pent-up consumer demand is paying off. Read more

As pandemic eases, Buffalo Niagara employers face new challenge: bringing workers back: After more than a year of remote work, employers are preparing to welcome workers back to the office. But they're doing it in different ways. Read more

Erie County Fair expects fewer guests, but the show will go on: The fair says it can safely handle up to 74,000 people a day at the Hamburg fairgrounds each day during the 12-day fair and still keep guests 6 feet apart. That number includes staff and volunteers, so the fair expects to issue tickets to about 60,000 people. Read more

Alan Pergament: After Covid battle, 103.3 FM's Ted Shredd advocates for vaccinations: After a scary month in which he was hospitalized with Covid-19 and on oxygen and close to being put on a ventilator, 103.3 FM The Edge morning personality Ted Shredd expects to be back next week in a “limited capacity.” Read more

May 19

First day without masks for the vaccinated: 'It's freeing': A number of people say Gov. Cuomo's announcement that vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks felt like a significant step toward the kind of everyday life that existed before Covid-19. Read more

Higgins: Let Canadians come to NY for vaccinations: Rep. Brian Higgins on Wednesday called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to invite Canadians to New York State to get Covid-19 vaccinations they might have to wait months for back home. Read more

New York to require camps, child care to collect vaccination status of staff, children: Child care programs and both day and overnight camps in New York State must collect Covid-19 vaccination status on all staff and children, according to new state guidance on those programs announced Wednesday. Read more

Unmasked: What the state's new Covid-19 rules mean for Western New York: A team of Buffalo News reporters reached out to discover what the rules mean for Western New Yorkers and what you can expect to encounter when you're heading out. Read more

Sean Kirst: As masking ends, a Buffalo coffee shop will run on the honor system: Many business owners, like those at Underground Coffee House and Roastery, will have to make their own rules now that masking is largely ending. Read more

Erik Brady: An expat returns to Buffalo after a long Covid year away: In a visit to Buffalo, Jenny Kane will renew in-person connections with her mother and her besties from Bennett High School. Read more

Buffalo delays property foreclosure auction due to the pandemic: Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the state's moratorium on evictions and foreclosures related to the coronavirus pandemic until Aug. 31. Read more

May 18

Falling Covid cases a source of relief for Erie County leaders: "We're certainly doing much better in the last couple weeks than we were about a month ago," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Read more

Vaccines continue to rise, Covid cases continue to fall in WNY: Erie County has had 51.8% of its population receive at least one dose, according to state data. Read more

Won't get a vaccine? Medical experts say you may not like the coming months: There will be painful exceptions as businesses, schools and large venues start to consider proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test as requirements for admission. Read more

Trudeau indicates border reopening isn't imminent – but vaccines offer hope: "We know that before we get back to normal, cases need to be under control and over 75% of people need to be vaccinated for us to start loosening things in Canada," Trudeau said. Read more

The Editorial Board: Vaccine resisters exact a price from those who have done right by their community: We are all individuals, of course, but we are also members of a community, a status that imposes certain responsibilities, the Editorial Board says. Read more

The Editorial Board: Fair attendance virtually sure to be limited, but decision is another step along the way: It will be two years since the last fair, and it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up its sights, sounds and smells. Read more

May 17

For the fully vaccinated, a mask milestone arrives. For everyone else, wariness awaits: Starting Wednesday, New York State will no longer require fully vaccinated residents to wear masks outdoors or in many indoor settings, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday. But that doesn’t yet mean that face masks – a ubiquitous sight and symbol of the pandemic – are going away. Read more

Cuomo's Covid pandemic book deal totaled $5.1 million: The governor’s book contract, which has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats, called for a $3.1 million payment in 2021 and $2 million over the next two years. Read more

What you need to know about going maskless: Learn about the new rules in New York, such as masks will still be required on public transit, in nursing homes, health care facilities, schools, homeless shelters and correctional facilities. Read more

Erie County Fair moves forward as scheduled Aug. 11-22: The governor announced today that fairs could be open to capacity with 6-feet social distancing. Read more

UB's international enrollment fell 12% during Covid-19 pandemic, costing it millions: UB bucked enrollment trends at many colleges and universities during the pandemic by gaining more students overall in 2020-21, compared to the year before. But the percentage of those students who hail from other countries shrunk to 16%. Just five years ago, it was 21%. Read more

May 16

Cuomo reports positive Covid data but avoids question of mask mandate: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said nothing Sunday about revoking Covid-19 mask requirements, but still offered good news in significantly lower infection rates throughout New York. Read more

How home visits aim to close gaps in neighborhood vaccine rates: Even within the same city or bordering towns, vaccine disparity can be stark. That's why counties are now moving away from low-demand mass vaccination clinics to smaller school, church and community center pop-up sites. Read more

The Editorial Board: Schumer's influence could help reopen border with Canada: "The most obvious and useful of Schumer’s proposals followed his thought on expanding the definition of essential travelers," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: SUNY’s union leaders have a duty to persuade all members to be vaccinated: "For some faculty and staff, inoculation will require evidence and persuasion," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

May 15

More pomp, different circumstances for Class of 2021 graduates as Covid-19 rules ease: While 2020 was a year of drive-thru, virtual and carved-up graduation ceremonies, some school districts this year are trying to bring a sense of normalcy for students who have coped with a mix of online and hybrid learning for the last three months of their junior years and most of their senior years. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: How to feel safe in a world with fewer masks: The pandemic is far from over, but this is clear: The world is opening up, and you have to navigate it smartly for yourself – and others. In this installment of “Pandemic Lessons,” we explore how to create your own pods of safety. Read more

'It's separated two societies': Ad pushes to open U.S.-Canadian border: America now has another freedom fighter named John Adams. He's fighting for the freedom to visit Canada, and he's doing it in a very American way: by taking out television ads. Read more

Court bid fails to pry Covid-19 contact tracing data from New York: After losing a court ruling last week, attorney Steven M. Cohen said it is clear that the state won't reveal even the summary data that would show how Covid-19 has spread in the state. Read more

Ideas floated as Buffalo Public Schools looks to seize opportunity of pandemic aid: A $289 million influx of federal dollars is coming to Buffalo Public Schools to help recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. An online forum was held to gather ideas. Read more

My View: My departed brother, may you rev in peace: Mary Nicotera writes about the loss of her brother to Covid-19. Read more

May 14

Many middle, high school students to return full time as Erie County risk level drops: Starting Monday, Erie County students in middle school and high school will be required to maintain only 3 feet of social distance in their classes, rather than 6, meaning that schools will be able to fit more students into each classroom. Read more

What will the CDC's new mask rules mean for life in Western New York?: While New Yorkers wait to hear how the twists and turns of the pandemic are about to change their lives – again – these are some of the most pressing questions and answers. Read more

Why wait? Answering the big questions of the vaccine reluctant: If only health experts had the right catch phrase to convince the Covid-19 vaccine reluctant to take a shot and help slow the Covid-19 pandemic. Human decision-making is much more complicated than that. Read more

Four regional doctors talk about Covid-19 vaccine demand, reservations: WNY Refresh asked four primary care doctors across the region about patient reactions to getting the Covid-19 vaccine. Read more

Crisis averted: Banks freeing up funds stockpiled against Covid threat: Just over a year ago, banks were battening down the hatches, preparing for a financial storm. Things haven't turned out nearly as dire as the banks had thought they would. Read more

High school wrestling gets approval to resume in Erie County: The Erie County Department of Health had recommended against the wrestling season being held this spring, but said it would revise its recommendation when the rate dropped to less than 100 per 100,000 residents. Read more

The Editorial Board: The CDC’s new policy marks the end of the pandemic and should persuade the hesitant to roll up their sleeves: "Immunization equals freedom. Anyone’s likelihood of becoming sick after inoculation is tiny, the risk of hospitalization or death even smaller," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

May 13

CDC's new mask guidance prompts Cuomo to review Covid restrictions: The CDC's announcement seems to undercut Cuomo's policy of mask mandates, social distancing and capacity controls even for fully vaccinated people. Read more

Covid cases continue steady decline locally and statewide: The seven-day average rate for the Western New York region, which includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, has declined steadily for the last month and is at 2.24% through Wednesday, according to state statistics. Read more

Parents find plenty of slots for their kids to get their shots: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has authorized expanded eligibility for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to people in the 12-15 age group "effective immediately." Read more

Taste of Buffalo set to return, but it's too late for other summertime favorites: Event organizers announced Thursday that they have received "all necessary approvals" from state and local agencies to have the food festival return. Read more

Vaccine 'a game changer' for the disabled, including those in group homes: Despite falling virus case numbers, lockdowns and limited personal contact largely continue for most in the disabled community. Read more

Judge: 'No justifiable basis' to prohibit all Orchard Park, Williamsville students to return in-person: High school and middle school students in Orchard Park and Williamsville are headed back to school full time Monday. Read more

The Editorial Board: Students in Orchard Park, Williamsville need the option of in-person learning: "The judge made the right call." Read more

Another Voice: U.S. vaccine aid could prod Canada to reopen border: The current policy of indefinite border closure has caused grief and uncertainly at a time when neither Americans nor Canadians need it, Chris Jacobs says. Read more

Cole Beasley questions whether it's 'now illegal' to be outside without a mask: Beasley's tweet drew plenty of response, both from those who agreed with him and those who expressed dismay that he would share what they feel is a reckless opinion on social media. Read more

May 12

The incentives keep coming to win over the unvaccinated. Will they be enough?: The new approach represents a shift that recognizes the state has reached the adults who sought out the vaccine and now must focus on those who are hesitant to get the shot. Read more

Missing live music? Try these virtual concerts: From virtual festivals to livestreams, here are six ways to enjoy concerts in your home. Read more

Viewpoints: State must help addicted New Yorkers whose struggles the pandemic has intensified: "What we are seeing now is a crisis within a crisis. Though the pandemic has been devastating for all of us, it has been particularly difficult for those dealing with addiction, who faced social isolation and economic distress while also being cut off from resources like counseling, treatment programs and medication," writes Letitia James. Read more

May 11

Erie County will make house calls with Covid-19 vaccine: In an ongoing effort to strip away reasons why residents aren't getting vaccinated, County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Tuesday that anyone who calls the Erie County Covid-19 hotline can arrange for someone to roll up to their door and administer shots to them and their family members free of charge. Read more

SUNY mandatory vaccination plan won't include SUNY employees: The state university system has no plans to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for faculty and staffers this fall, even as it proceeds on a requirement that every returning student get a vaccine if they want to be on campus this fall semester. Read more

WNY colleges to receive more than $200 million in federal aid: More than $200 million is pouring into Western New York colleges and universities under the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress and signed into law by President Biden earlier this year. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: How can we raise our Covid IQ?: As we head into summer and take large steps toward a full reopening, misconceptions and misinformation are still plaguing our collective ability to handle Covid-19 smartly. Read more

Erie County Fair could take place safely, modeling says: Erie County Fair officials still aren't sure if the event will go on this year, but a company that does computer modeling of infectious diseases says it can. Read more

Jeff Miers: How to satisfy your live music craving, even if you don’t feel safe going to shows: If you're not yet ready for concert crowds, you can still immerse yourself in the transformative powers of music this summer, says News Music Critic Jeff Miers. Read more

Blue Jays delay Sahlen Field ticket sales a week to allow for increased capacity: The Blue Jays announced Tuesday morning that they are delaying sales for their first 15 games in Buffalo by a week "to safely increase capacity by introducing fully vaccinated seating sections at Sahlen Field" in line with the latest New York State guidelines. Read more

Lackawanna cancels summer festival at Veterans Stadium: “With the lead time necessary to produce a high-quality festival, the uncertainty around exactly what Covid-19 health and safety protocols would look like this summer and the timing of the extensive work planned at Veteran’s Stadium, we felt it best to cancel this year’s event,” Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo said in a statement. Read more

The Editorial Board: Incentive programs and family doctors are needed to get adolescents inoculated: "As health officials prepare to inoculate younger people, some creative incentives are called for," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: New York State needs to release summer camp guidance: "The governor’s announcement in February promised that the Department of Health would provide specific reopening guidance “in the coming weeks” to organizations that run camp programs. This guidance has yet to be released, making it nearly impossible to plan for programs and communicate with parents effectively," writes John T. Ehrbar. Read more

May 10

Staffing shortage idles Ted's Hot Dogs restaurant, Lloyd Taco food trucks: Companies across the country are scrambling to hire as governments ease public health restrictions driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, which battered the retail and hospitality sector. However, a national staffing shortage has forced numerous restaurants to temporarily close or reduce days of operation, and the Buffalo area is no exception. Read more

State looks to require SUNY students to get vaccinated against Covid-19: All state university students will be required to be vaccinated in order to return to the 64-campus system this fall, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday. Read more

Decision expected this week on Orchard Park and Williamsville back to school petitions: A hearing on the merits of the requests concluded today, with much of the testimony centering on the different guidance for elementary and secondary schools. Read more

Localities eligible for at least $822.7 million in federal aid: Biden administration officials Monday outlined how local officials can – and can't – use the federal money that is part of the American Rescue Act. The rules give local governments wide latitude in using the money to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and fill the budget holes that it prompted. Read more

West Seneca man indicted in mask-related barroom shove that left 80-year-old dead: Donald M. Lewinski Jr., 65, pleaded not guilty Monday in Erie County Court on a charge he caused the death of Rocco E. Sapienza, also of West Seneca. Read more

My View: Fight against Covid-19 is today’s ‘war effort’: "I wasn’t old or big enough to do much but did my part for 'the war effort.' Everyone did during the second world war," writes Sandy McPherson. Read more

Another Voice: Planning must begin for opening U.S.-Canada border: "After a year of financial devastation, it is imperative that a quick and coordinated U.S.-Canada land border reopening takes place as soon as safely feasible," write Dottie Gallagher, Keanin Loomis and Mishka Balsom. Read more

May 9

Western New York's Covid-19 positivity rate still among worst in state: On Saturday, the region had a seven-day average positive test rate of 2.57%. The statewide seven-day average was 1.45%. Read more

Another Voice: Social Security offices face influx of Covid-19 long-haulers: If the SSA falters with “long-haulers,” a significant segment of our population will fall into poverty – more chaos, just a different direction. Read more

May 8

Free beer offer results in more vaccinations than all Erie County first-dose clinics last week: "It's been a success," said County Executive Mark Poloncarz. "We figured it would be pretty good, but now we're seeing the results." Read more

Family doctors could be key to prodding vaccine-reluctant New Yorkers: “Primary care physicians are probably going to be the best messenger to convince wait-and-see people to get vaccinated," said Dr. John Fudyma, chief medical officer of Latus Medical Care, an Amherst practice. Read more

Sean Kirst: Parade or not, youth baseball's opening day lives up to its promise: Families, friends, coaches and players come together – finally – for a memorable day at Shoshone Park. Read more

Niagara Falls speeds up applications for outdoor dining permits: The city set up the process last year, when indoor dining was banned under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's pandemic lockdown rules. Read more

May 7

Erie, Niagara counties are ready when Covid shots are approved for ages 12-15: The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve use of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group within days. Read more

Court orders Orchard Park, Williamsville secondary students back to school: A judge ordered Orchard Park and Williamsville school districts to offer full-time instruction on May 17 as long as Covid-19 transmissions continue to decrease. Read more

Six Flags Darien Lake offers free park tickets at Covid vaccine clinic: The clinic, operated by the Genesee County Health Department, will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the park's human resources building. Read more

Covid-19 ends West Seneca East's football season hours before semifinal playoff game: With the Trojans going on pause, defending Section VI Class B champion Western New York Maritime/Health Sciences moves on to next week’s championship game against the winner of Friday night's Olean at Iroquois clash in Elma. Read more

May 6

WNY's positivity rate drops below 3% for first time since late March: The five-county region's positivity rate, which measures how many Covid tests come back positive, on a seven-day average was 2.8% on Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available. Read more

Help wanted: Worker shortage hurts restaurants, retailers as reopening picks up: Business owners feel like they are fighting a losing battle to hire qualified workers at a time when enhanced unemployment benefits make many low-paying or part-time jobs less appealing. Read more

In a cancer hospital during a pandemic, a new nurse learns the value of relationships: Jane Pordum, 82, is among patients who will tell you nurses like Miranda Florek, 24, were the glue that kept medical care together during the pandemic and beyond. Read more

Sabres organist Curtis Cook plays empty arena, strikes chord with fans: “I knew people really enjoyed the organ,” Cook said, “but I don’t know if I really comprehended how much people really appreciated it until the pandemic started and I was able to connect with lots of people over social media.” Read more

Iroquois football prepared for anything, including Section VI playoffs: Making the playoffs, coach Robert Pitzonka said, validates how the Chiefs’ players have adapted in an unusual season and in an unconventional school year, during which football season was postponed from the fall to the spring by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

May 5

State announces rules for fans attending professional baseball games: What section you sit in at a baseball game this summer and how close the nearest fan will be will depend on whether or not you're vaccinated, state officials announced Wednesday. Read more

Schumer proposes 4-point plan for border reopening: "We have find a way to safely, safely open up the border ASAP," the Senate majority leader said during a news conference at the Rainbow Bridge. Read more

Cuomo will allow bigger weddings this month. What will it take to scale up fast?: Now the question is how quickly couples will be able to make changes they need to make to go bigger, and whether the venues they have selected will be able to accommodate them. Read more

Canada's proposed tax on foreign-owned property irks Americans who own vacation homes there: Canada is proposing a 1% tax on underutilized or vacant real estate owned by foreigners, thereby potentially foisting thousands of dollars of annual costs on Americans who own properties north of the border that they haven't been able to visit for more than a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Brandon Beane says he'd cut an unvaccinated player if it means return to normalcy for Bills: If it means losing masks inside the building, Bills General Manager Brandon Beane said he would cut an unvaccinated player. Read more

May 4

Vaccination outreach grows as local Covid-19 deaths rise among people under age 50: Last month, 11 of the county residents who died of Covid-19 were under the age of 50. The last time Erie County saw as many residents die in that age range was April of last year. Read more

Canada may require proof of vaccination at border: Canada is likely to require proof of vaccination from Americans who want to enter the country once the border reopens, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday. Read more

How vaccinations, Covid-19 mitigation could impact attendance at college sports: “The virus definitely has the ability to dictate our steps,” Niagara athletic director Simon Gray said. “We’ll be monitoring its impact, everywhere, and specifically in our region." Read more

Erie County defends recommendation on high school wrestling: Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said Thursday that wrestling is still a "very high-risk" sport with unmasked athletes close together. Read more

The Editorial Board: New York wisely takes a slow approach to returning to its pre-pandemic norms: "It’s not the finish line. Not yet. As variants of the novel coronavirus develop and as the pace of vaccinations runs into resistance, areas of turbulence remain. But with New York announcing a “major reopening” this month, it’s definitely a corner turned," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: Pandemic justifies decision to extend Tesla’s deadline for creation of jobs in South Buffalo: "Empire State Development officials decided to grant Tesla Inc. an extension until the end of the year to meet its employment targets at the South Buffalo factory. Fair enough. The historic pandemic demands consideration," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

My View: Reuniting with family after the Covid-19 pause: "It has been a long, lonely year for most of us, but especially for those of us who are grandparents and are separated by miles from our children and grandchildren. With the arrival of the vaccines, things are beginning to show promise that we may soon renew literal connections with those we love," writes Kathleen M. Rog. Read more

May 3

Cuomo: 'Major reopening' of New York to begin May 19: New York State will lift most capacity restrictions for businesses and public places on May 19, though the state will maintain a 6-foot social distancing requirement, with exceptions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. Read more

Outdoor gatherings, parties and businesses: What to know about the Covid-19 rules rollback: As more New Yorkers are vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced an easing of rules that were put in place to slow the spread of the virusRead more

At long last, a window opens to help shuttered area venues: Area venues and cultural institutions consider the application process for federal relief – and technical hiccups – more than worth the aggravation. Read more

Should Covid-19 vaccines be required on Buffalo-area campuses? Not yet, colleges say: More than 100 higher education institutions nationwide have adopted vaccine mandates, although UB and other Buffalo-area colleges and universities are holding back on requiring vaccines for students next fall. Read more

Alan Pergament: Ted Shredd's Covid post should inspire others to advocate for vaccinations: It's not a groundbreaking idea, Pergament writes. Local media personalities long have advocated for other health safety measures. Read more

The Editorial Board:  Federal stimulus money spells relief in Brown’s proposed Buffalo budget: "City taxpayers can be grateful that President Biden and the new Congress did what their predecessors were unwilling even to consider," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: Substitute teachers in Buffalo deserve better treatment: "For this longtime substitute teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools, figuring out how to teach remotely has come with a very steep learning curve," writes Susan Peters. Read more

May 2

Pandemic Lessons: When will normal life come back?: How do we get out of this? In this “Pandemic Lessons,” we talk to experts about what’s working, what’s getting in our way and what we can do about it. Read more

At long last, a window opens to help shuttered area venues: On April 27, a window of opportunity opened for an industry that was one of the first to shut down due the pandemic, and will be among the last to fully reopen – the live entertainment business so central to the Western New York cultural experience. Read more

Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations are falling but deaths aren't. Here's why and why that could change: Even though this region appears past the peak of the third wave of infections – with local officials touting the good news this past week – the number of people dying has risen. Read more

May 1

'School is essential': Why top doctor at Children's says schools are safe – with masks: "I’m comfortable as a parent and a physician leader that going to school is a safe activity as long as we’re following those risk-reduction strategies," Dr. Stephen Turkovich, the chief medical officer at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital says. Read more

April 30

As Covid-19 cases drop in Canada, focus turns to border shutdown rules: Canadians hoping to visit their loved ones in the United States got a sliver of good news Friday thanks to a conversation between Rep. Brian Higgins and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about an ever-so-slight reopening of the border between the two countries. Read more

After Delaware North's dismal 2020, 'we're very optimistic now': Delaware North was clobbered by the pandemic last year. That’s no surprise, given how much of its business depends on industries like restaurants, tourism, travel and pro sports events, where crowds vanished. But now there are signs of a turnaround at the Buffalo-based hospitality giant. Read more

The Editorial Board: Before long, the state must require nursing home staff, others to be vaccinated: "Requiring vaccinations among certain populations is nothing new. Children in New York need to be vaccinated against measles, mumps and other diseases before they can attend school. It’s a matter of public health," writes The News Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: It seems to us – State Fair leads us back toward normal, and soccer team gets an uninvited guest: "Perhaps the best news to come out of Albany recently was the announcement that this year’s New York State Fair is a go. Better still for Western New Yorkers will be if the Erie County Fair can also return to the calendar. It’s tentatively scheduled for Aug. 11-22 and, given the availability of vaccines, the chances seem good," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

April 29

Pop-up vaccine clinic aimed at 16- to 25-year-olds coming Friday, Saturday: The event will be held at Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, 1195 Main St. Read more

39% of state's nursing home workers declined Covid-19 shots. Here's how some WNY homes did better: Although some 15,000 nursing home residents in the state have died due to Covid-19, a surprisingly large number of the industry’s workers are refusing to get vaccinated. Read more

My View: Please be a hero and get a vaccine: "It was 23 years ago that a miracle saved my life, and I am hoping that you will help me – and so many others – continue to live our miracles," writes Holly Hahn-Baker. Read more

April 28

As restrictions diminish, it's anything but 'back to normal' for restaurants: As more people get vaccinated and adjust to a semi-maskless existence, the crowds will sweep over places of public accommodation in a tsunami of pent-up socializing. Here’s what you need to know to about dining right now. Read more

Restrictions on restaurants to be lifted next month: "Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world," Cuomo said in a news release. Read more

Judge denies preliminary injunction in schools case, schedules hearing: While Justice Emilio Colaiacovo denied the request, he ordered a hearing May 7 to address the merits of the parents' arguments. Read more

April 27

Erie County partners with breweries for pop-up vaccine clinics: As demand for the Covid-19 vaccine continues to fall, the county is taking a new approach. It's offering free beer. Read more

State will accept walk-ins for vaccinations starting Thursday: Demand has been dropping for Covid-19 vaccines at state-run sites. Read more

Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations down across Western New York: Western New York’s Covid-19 metrics are again improving, with daily new cases falling to their lowest point in a month on Monday. Read more

Judge orders state Health Department to revisit 3 feet vs. 6 feet in schools: The judge wants a response by Friday on whether the department will "insist on the distinction between 6 and 3 feet" social distancing in middle and high schools. Read more

103.3 The Edge radio host Ted Shredd hospitalized with Covid-19: “You don’t want to be where I am now," Shredd said. "Take it serious and get vaccinated.” Read more

The Editorial Board: U.S. stockpile of vaccines can help Canada tame Covid and reopen border: The abundance of our country’s stockpile – hundreds of millions of doses of AstraZeneca – means we can provide immense help to other nations. Read more

April 26

There's good news for the State Fair. What about the Erie County Fair?: When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday that the New York State Fair would go on this summer, it was a glimmer of hope for other county fairs and outdoor festivals that had to cancel last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. And the largest in the region, the Erie County Fair, is hoping the good news extends to other county fairs. Read more

New York to raise capacity limits at offices, stadiums, gyms: Starting May 15, offices can increase capacity to 75%, up from 50%. Gyms at fitness clubs outside of New York City will be able to allow 50% capacity, up from 33%. Read more

It's back to school – again – for thousands of Western New York children: Thousands of Western New York children are taking a step toward normal, with a return to four or five days a week in the classroom starting Monday. Read more

The Editorial Board: Foolhardy resistance to shots, passports keeps country at an avoidable risk: "Everyone must keep pushing to reach herd immunity," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: Some students rise to challenges of virtual learning: "Being able to learn through a computer screen, form bonds with others you’ve never met in person and rise to the challenges associated with remote learning for a year is something to be proud of. My students would tell you the same," writes Pamela Brunskill. Read more

Photos: Briyana Hardy goes back to school: Briyana Hardy, a sophomore at South Park High School, returned to her school for the first time in more than a year Monday. Since September, The Buffalo News has followed Briyana and her little brother, James, who spent most of the school year participating in full-time remote learning. See more

April 25

After 14 months, no plans to reopen the Canadian border – and no talks: People who are separated from their loved ones by the closed border have been increasingly outspoken, calling on both governments to loosen restrictions. Read more

Remote workers returned to Buffalo during the pandemic – but how many will stay?: The question now, labor economists and other experts say, is to what extent the impact of the remote work boom will outlast, and transcend, its source. Read more

Lockport superintendent 'not comfortable' with board vote to increase in-person schooling: Some parents are planning a protest rally before Tuesday's Board of Education meeting to demand an increase in in-person instruction in elementary and intermediate grades. Read more

April 24

WNY Covid-19 positive rate declining, remains highest in state: The five-county region's daily average of 468 cases for the seven-day period ending Friday is the lowest average figure for Western New York since March 27. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Can you safely go somewhere like Florida?: Bottom line: Vaccination makes it relatively easy to travel around the country. Anything else is trickier. Read more

45 words at center of Cuomo-Poloncarz dispute over stadium vaccination requirement: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz don’t see eye to eye on whether the county, on its own, can demand fans be vaccinated for Covid-19 before attending Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres games. Read more

Heading into the second Covid summer, restaurants use lessons they've learned: After a harrowing year, restaurant owners are in their second spring season in the time of Covid and heading toward their second summer. With a year of experience on their side and situations improving, it gives them a chance to put to use the lessons they learned the first time around. Read more

New York resumes J&J shots at state vaccine sites: The CDC and the FDA on Friday announced that the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweighed risks of blood clots and low blood platelet levels associated with the shot in rare cases. Read more

Two vaccine clinics offered for veterans in WNY: The VA Western New York Health System is working with FeedMore WNY to provide vaccines and a free bag of groceries at a vaccination clinic scheduled for two upcoming Saturdays, May 1 and 22. Read more

Independent Health Foundation's Kids Run goes virtual again: The free event, presented by Wegmans, invites families to do their own run or walk between June 4 to 6 in a location of their choosing. Read more

The Editorial Board: Burstein needs to have some flexibility on safe ways to reopen schools: "Erie County needs the Health Department, school officials and interested physicians to work together to bring students back where they belong," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: To make the most of Memorial Day, get vaccinated now: "All it takes to beat this virus and return to normal is getting shots in arms," writes Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Read more

April 23

Covid-19: Pop-up vaccine clinic to be held Saturday at MST Prep: The one-day clinic will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be offering first doses of the two-dose Moderna shot. Read more

Judge to rule on returning middle and high schoolers in Williamsville, Orchard Park: The fight to bring back all students five days a week amid the Covid-19 pandemic carried on Friday inside a downtown courtroom. Read more

David Robinson: How the recession hit your paycheck depends on what job you do: It’s been an uneven recession, hitting the lowest-paid workers with a sledgehammer, while white-collar workers who have the flexibility to work from home have escaped the brunt of the economic carnage. Read more

A Buffalo expat comes home with KeyBank amid pandemic: Anthony Magnano has a pandemic story that a lot of Buffalo expatriates can probably relate to. Read more

Historic Welch's Building in Westfield back on market after Covid kills prior deal: The listing by Howard Hanna Commercial Real Estate for $495,000 – $10 per square foot – has already drawn attention. Read more

USA Wrestling: Why high school wrestling season can happen in Erie County: Gary Abbott, longtime director of communications and special projects for USA Wrestling, the sport’s national governing body, chimes in on whether high school wrestling should take place. Read more

April 22

Canada added to State Department  'do not travel' list: For the first time, the State Department added Canada to its "do not travel" list, which names countries that Americans should avoid for safety reasons. Read more

Medical societies jump to defense of Erie County health commissioner: Physicians groups are coming to the defense of Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and the Health Department she runs. Read more

Gowanda schools superintendent says Poloncarz wrong about Gowanda-Alden football game: Alden played football in Gowanda on April 12, and in the days after the game, several Gowanda players tested positive for Covid-19. But Gowanda Superintendent Bob Anderson said none of the players had symptoms during the game. Read more

Among fans and musicians, a divided view on vaccination passports: Hear thoughts from people in the live music industry on Covid-19 vaccines and whether they should be required for fans to attend shows. Read more

Jeff Simon: In Hollywood turned upside down by pandemic, a critical juncture for Oscars: This year's Academy Awards presentation could be truly horrendous or they could also be wildly creative and fascinating, Simon says. Read more

April 21

As supply outpaces demand, mass vaccination sites are being ignored: "I'm definitely concerned that after waiting so long for the supply to increase, we are now having a tough time filling vaccine appointments," said Niagara County's public health director. Read more

Homebound Erie County residents may have Covid-19 vaccine brought to them: The county will partner with Buffalo Home Care and the Visiting Nurses Association to administer shots to homebound residents. Read more

Cuomo: New Yorkers 60 and up won't need appointment for Covid-19 shot: Beginning Friday, all New Yorkers age 60 and older will be able to walk into any mass vaccination site across the state and get a Covid-19 shot without having to first get an appointment. Read more

Section VI will have spring wrestling season, but not for Erie County schools: The Section VI Executive Committee voted Wednesday to support wrestling activities beginning May 3 for member schools in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara counties, but said Erie County schools will not be able to participate based on the recommendation of the County of Erie Department of Health. Read more

Ransomville Speedway to open season May 7 with limited fan attendance: Ransomville Speedway announced it will open its season May 7 with fans in the grandstands. The grandstands will be limited to 20% capacity. Read more

Buffalo Raceway set to reopen to limited number of patrons: For Kentucky Derby Day on May 1, the track will have a “Derby Express” betting area on the first floor from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Read more

April 20

Poloncarz defends Burstein as positive Covid-19 cases show modest decline: In response to calls from Western New York Students First that Burstein resign as health commissioner, the Erie County executive said he wished to put an end to speculation that she may be fired or forced to quit. The answer is no. Read more

As pandemic worsens in Ontario, Canadian border to remain shut through May 21: Land borders between the United States and Canada will remain closed for a 14th consecutive month, through at least May 21, as Canada copes with its worst-ever wave of Covid-19 infections. Read more

Covid-19 pauses create rare Monsignor Martin-Section VI football matchups: The door has been open for public and private schools in WNY to schedule football games, but few have walked through it. However, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and the state’s Catholic High School Athletic Association moved football season from the fall to the spring in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and openings on football schedules across Western New York have sprouted up due to Covid-19 pauses. Read more

April 19

Frustration growing with Health Department approach to schools and the pandemic: After a year of heeding the advice of health officials over how to handle Covid-19 in schools, some parents and school officials are increasingly pushing back against that advice. Read more

Movie theater capacity to increase to 33%; museums, zoos to increase to 50%: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said social distancing, the wearing of masks, temperature screenings and all other health and safety protocols remain in effect as some restrictions on capacity are lifted. Read more

No appointment necessary: Walk-in Covid vaccination clinics are becoming the norm: The days of endless and fruitless searches, long lines and day trips across the state are gone. Welcome to the walk-in Covid-19 vaccination era. Read more

Judges, court staff ordered to return to in-person work May 24: Jury trials were resumed last month on a socially distanced basis; 55 trials are scheduled in the state this week. Read more

Niagara County, swamped by outsiders, restricts DMV walk-ins to county residents: "The number of people coming from communities that are two and three hours away to process multiple transactions is something we did not anticipate. It created long lines and long wait times," County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski said. Read more

Vaccinations will help drive economic recovery, M&T CEO says: "I think we're probably poised to see a big uptick in both business and consumer activity, driven by as more and more Americans get vaccinated," Rene F. Jones said. "To the extent that we can get those numbers up, and particularly get those numbers up in our community, it's going to have a significant impact." Read more

Business groups oppose mandates that seek to prevent spread of disease: A cross-section of business groups is opposing legislative plans for a law to require private employers take specific steps to protect their workers from airborne infectious diseases. Read more

A debate among doctors: Should schools fully reopen?: Tensions have been quietly brewing within the local medical community over returning students to the classroom full-time. Read more

Why rising Covid-19 vaccinations aren't cutting down positive cases and hospitalizations: If the number of vaccinated residents is going up, shouldn't the number of people contracting the virus be going down? Read more

April 18

Pandemic Lessons: With numbers rising, how does Covid impact kids and teens?: In this Pandemic Lessons, we focus on the virus’ impact on young people – the most complicated aspects of which extend beyond their infectious period. Read more

In a virtual Albany, Democrats find new ways to wrangle over power – and insult each other: In the nearly 13 months since the Assembly and Senate began remote voting, the business of state government has been completed by lawmakers casting their votes from their homes, district offices, or in some cases, their offices across the street from the Capitol. Read more

My View: How I overcame vaccine hesitancy: "Life is full of uncertainties, there are no guarantees with anything but for sure if we could catch this virus, it most likely would be devastating for us. We decided to get vaccinated," writes Judith Whitehead. Read more

April 17

Troubling Covid-19 trends in WNY even as statewide numbers improve: The average number of new Covid-19 cases reported in WNY was 632 for the seven-day period ending Thursday, the eighth day in a row that average figure has exceeded 600. Read more

Judge cites new state law as he leaves Covid curfew in place for restaurants and bars: "The former executive law has been repealed, meaning the petition challenges a law that no longer exists," the judge wrote in his ruling. Read more

Local movie theaters are quietly reopening with limited hours, cautious optimism: With limited capacity and numerous safety guidelines in place, area theaters are ready for patrons to come back to view movies on the big screen. Read more

Another Voice: Lack of in-person school is harming our children: "There will never be zero Covid cases in schools while there are cases in the community. However, both nationally and locally in-school transmission is extremely low, even when rates are high in the community," write Dr. Rebecca Schaeffer and Dr. Lauren Kuwik for Physicians for Safe and Open Schools. Read more

My View: After grief intrudes, finding life’s light: Kristine Starkey says, "My message to this grief-stricken, recovering world is this: Have faith." Read more 

April 16

For live concerts in Western New York, a passport to a possible future: Get ready, live music lovers. Vaccination passports are likely coming your way.  Read more

What you need to know about Excelsior Pass: Excelsior Pass is the app that will act as proof-of-vaccination for some Western New York venues, for both concerts and sporting events. Read more

Elmwood Village mourns Mark Williams, a 'gentle giant' lost to Covid-19: Williams' gift "was very much about how he made others feel," friend Suzanne Shatzel said. "He was this larger-than-life person that gave nothing but love to the world." Read more

The pandemic brought WNY researchers together to help the region – and the world: “These recent collaborations are a perfect illustration of the power of team science,” said Dr. James Mohler of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Read more

Out of the spotlight, WNY vaccine hub plays big role in delivery and advocacy: One of 10 regional hubs across the state, this integrated, behind-the-scenes team of slightly over a dozen people has played an important role in the race against time to get Western New Yorkers vaccinated and ensure no doses get wasted. Read more

Discount Diva: National retailers that were no match for 2020: The retail death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic broke records. We knew it would be bad, and it was. A massive 12,200 stores closed in 2020 – ravaged by a year like no other since the Great Depression – and eclipsed the previous record of 9,300 stores that shuttered in 2019. Read more

April 15

David Robinson: An uneven recession leads to an uneven recovery: "One year into the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 of every 15 jobs that we had at the start still hasn’t come back," writes David Robinson. "Yet local manufacturers have endured only modest job losses. Financial services have held up relatively well. So has construction." Read more

Schools see post-spring break Covid-19 surge: Students accounted for four out of five of the 220 new cases that public schools in Erie and Niagara counties reported on Monday. Read more

Bank of America to close East Aurora branch: The bank will close its location at 670 Main St. in East Aurora for good July 20. Like a number of area Bank of America branches, it has been temporarily closed for monthsRead more

The Editorial Board: Proof of inoculation at sports venues will keep us safer, despite the doubters: "All we are being asked to do in Erie County is roll up our sleeves and take a small jab, helping us toward herd immunity. It’s not too much to ask," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

April 14

44% of Buffalo high school students won't return to classrooms this year: The city school system, which has an enrollment of 31,000 students, is starting to get a clearer picture of just how many will be returned to the classroom on a part-time basis, as it continues to phase kids back into schools through May. Read more

Vaccine appointments are getting a lot easier to come by in WNY: For months, people desperately struggled to get an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination in Western New York. Not anymore. Read more

Erie, Niagara counties lead the state in new Covid-19 cases: Western New York is once again a statewide hot spot for Covid-19 following a steady monthlong climb in new cases. Read more

Cuomo: Erie County can't demand Bills, Sabres fans be vaccinated to attend games: The Erie County executive said anyone wishing to attend a Bills or Sabres game would need to be fully vaccinated. But the governor begged to differ. Read more

Closing time extended to midnight for restaurants and bars: Restaurants and bars in New York State will have an additional hour to stay open each day, starting Monday night. Read more

Covid-19 shots on hold at Erie County jails as feds pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine: Sheriff's officials had planned to offer the J&J vaccine "to inmates on a voluntary basis, just as the office does with flu vaccines," a spokesman said. Read more

April 13

Vaccinated Bills, Sabres fans can attend games this fall: The full-throated roar of passionate – and vaccinated – Buffalo Bills fans should be heard during next season's games at Highmark Stadium, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Tuesday. Those who are not vaccinated will be denied entry into the stadiums, he added. Read more

New York State, Wegmans, ECMC will pause use of J&J Covid-19 vaccine: All appointments at state mass vaccination sites for Johnson & Johnson will be switched to the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two shots. Read more

What doctors want you to know about the latest Covid-19 wave in Western New York: The average number of new daily cases of Covid-19 in Western New York reported over the seven-day period ending on Saturday was 634, an increase of 132% from the recent low average of 273 cases as of March 12. Read more

Shea's announces plans for fall reopening: The curtain will rise again on Shea’s Buffalo Theatre when Disney’s "Frozen” opens the 2021-22 season on Sept. 10. Read more

April 12

Williamsville sets date for return to full in-person learning for some students: Elementary school students in the Williamsville School District will have the option of returning to the classroom in person five days a week, starting April 26, barring a significant uptick in local Covid-19 cases. Read more

New York will provide Covid-19 vaccines to public, private colleges: Providers will administer the vaccines to residential and noncommuter students who are leaving campus for summer break. Read more

Campus clinics race to vaccinate students before they head home for summer: Schools have been preparing for months, working with state and local agencies and getting systems, staff and technology in place to make vaccines available on campus as soon as the state allowed. Read more

A year later: We are still cleaning, but maybe not quite as much: For many people, “spring cleaning” has been going on for more than a year now. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, people stocked up on cleaning supplies and disinfectant wipes (if they could find them). Read more

Memorial Day parades canceled in Ken-Ton, West Seneca and Lewiston for second year: The Memorial Day parades in Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda, West Seneca and Lewiston have been canceled for the second straight year over the fear of large crowds while the region remains in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

April 11

Citing surges among youth, Erie County urges caution in returning to in-person learning: Officials said Erie County has "experienced a strong and sustained increase in new daily cases," led by high numbers among those aged 20-29 and 30-39. Read more

People separated by U.S.-Canada border say 'Families are Essential': Groups of people protested on each side of the Peace Bridge on Sunday to raise awareness of the separation of loved ones caused by Covid-19 cross-border restrictions. Read more

Covid-19 vaccinations available to all in Batavia, Medina: First-dose vaccinations are now available in Genesee and Orleans counties for anyone who lives, works or studies in New York State. Read more

The Editorial Board: State testing is useful, but don’t let remote students get left behind: "State assessments are imperfect but they are important. The more students who are tested, the more valuable the results will be," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

April 10

Q&A: When will children return to school five days a week? Elementary school students have the best chance of returning to the classroom five days a week before the school year ends. Read more

Covid-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Erie County: The rising numbers come as new variants of the coronavirus have been identified in the community. Read more

As concert industry attempts to ramp up, questions remain: The decimated music industry is still in the early days of imagining its full-scale rebirth. Will the shows go on? Read more

April 9

New Yorkers warned to remain vigilant as more receive Covid-19 vaccine: There is a mix of good news and challenges on the Covid-19 vaccination front. Read more

Judge orders Batavia hospital to treat coronavirus patient with Ivermectin: A State Supreme Court justice has ordered a Batavia hospital to administer the drug Ivermectin to an 81-year-old Covid-19 patient. Read more

Federal aid available to shuttered performance venues: Federal stimulus money is now available to museums and performance venues that have been shuttered or otherwise lost business due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Two pop-up Covid-19 vaccine clinics coming to Buffalo: Calvary Baptist Church and Native American Community Services will host vaccine clinics. Read more

Canada's latest Covid-19 wave threatens to prolong border closure: Suddenly, the pandemic that has ravaged the world is raging far worse not in the United States, but on the other side of the Peace Bridge. Read more

Kaleida Health CEO embraces challenge of leading system through Covid-19 pandemic: West Seneca native Robert J. Nesselbush formally took over the role at the end of last year following the retirement of Jody L. Lomeo. Read more

A Covid hiring twist: Six Flags to do drive-thru interviews: The hiring events will allow applicants to attend face-to-face interviews while seated socially distanced in their cars wearing a face covering. Read more

Discount Diva: Heading back to the office? It's going to cost you: If you didn't notice the trickle of dollars building up in your account while you worked from home, you'll certainly notice it leaving when you begin paying for gas, lunch and dry cleaning again. Read more

The Editorial Board: Trusted advisers need to help persuade reluctant evangelicals to be vaccinated: "Herd immunity in this country will be slower to attain if so large a swath of the population refuses to be vaccinated." Read more

April 8

Niagara Falls activists try 'boots on the ground' to sign up Blacks for vaccinations: Thursday, a team of volunteers went door-to-door in inner-city Niagara Falls, signing up residents, mostly Black, for vaccinations. The effort resulted in 76 people signing up for vaccine appointments. Read more

South African Covid-19 variant discovered in Erie County: At least two cases of the South African Covid-19 variant have been detected in Western New York, the Erie County Department of Health announced Thursday. Read more

Judge rules restaurants must abide by Covid-19 curfew again: More than 90 Western New York restaurants have been ordered to close by 11 p.m. each day following an appellate court ruling Thursday. Read more

This year's assessments will go on, but state education commissioner questions the results: In a year in which pandemic-forced changes have meant there is no such thing as a consistent standard about how students are being educated, a federal decision mandating that many of the assessments will go on is making the issue even more contentious. Read more

Erie County offers plan to replace missing vaccination cards: Dr. Gale Burstein, county health commissioner, said anyone who needs a replacement vaccine card may call 858-7687 and press 5 on the menu. Read more

Despite Easter mini-surge, Buffalo airport still missing Canadian travelers: Since the border has been closed for more than a year, even the holiday onslaught failed to get Buffalo airport totals anywhere near normal. Read more

MLB plan would relocate Bisons to Trenton to start season: The Triple-A club's uncertain situation is completely dependent on the Toronto Blue Jays getting approval from the Canadian government to play games in Rogers Centre. With Covid-19 cases on the rise and Ontario entering another lockdown this week, it's unlikely the Blue Jays will be approved anytime soon. Read more

Photos: Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force registers residents for Covid-19 vaccinations: On Thursday, Thursday, a team of volunteers from the Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force went door-to-door in inner-city Niagara Falls, signing up residents, mostly Black, for vaccinations. See more

April 7

Ontario imposes four-week stay-at-home order amid Covid spike: The province of Ontario issued its third stay-at-home order of the pandemic on Wednesday as rapidly spreading Covid-19 variants overwhelmed hospitals. Read more

The race between the virus and the vaccine is picking up speed: In the past three weeks, new infections in the region increased at roughly the same speed and scale they did in November – which led to a mid-winter surge that sent hundreds of people to the hospital and killed upward of 900 residents. Read more

No timeline for Sabres to receive Covid-19 vaccinations, says interim coach Don Granato: The Sabres endured a Covid-19 outbreak in February that paused and eventually derailed their season. Read more

Bills' Josh Allen and Kyle Brandt talk contract, vaccines, Chiefs and 'Sugar High Josh': After revealing he has not received a Covid-19 vaccination, Allen was asked whether he was interested in receiving one. "I don't know," Allen said. "I'm still debating that. I'm a big statistics and logical guy, so if statistics show that it's the right thing for me to do, I'd do it. Read more

April 6

Covid-19 threat gets younger as focus of worry shifts to the unvaccinated: After nearly four months of vaccinations focused primarily on the elderly, Erie County officials said Tuesday that young adults are now the most likely to catch the virus, and it is more common for someone under age 65 to be hospitalized than it is for seniors. Read more

Judge wants answers from New York State on social distancing in schools: Judge Emilio Colaiacovo said he wants a decision from the state on what type of social distancing is recommended – 3 feet or 6 feet – by April 20. Read more

UB exploring setting up Covid-19 vaccination site for its students: In a statement, a UB spokesman said the university will inform students “over the next several days” of plans regarding the vaccination site. Read more

Another Voice: State must not let nursing homes off the hook: "Residents and their families have been essentially stripped of their rights to seek accountability for negligence that occurred during the pandemic," writes Beth Finkel. Read more

April 5

Cuomo: WNY leads state in Covid infections again, so 'don't get cocky': The seven-day average positive rate for the five counties the state calls Western New York was 4.7% after reports were compiled among those receiving tests for the virus Sunday. Read more

State announces ad campaign to encourage Covid-19 vaccinations: The ad campaign comes as the number of Covid-19 cases surges across the state and Western New York. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: What's the cost of feeling lonely?: How serious is the problem of loneliness? Huge – before the pandemic, and even more so during it. Read more

Will the Restaurant Revitalization Fund make a difference in Western New York?: For restaurants ravaged by the pandemic, help is on the way. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan set aside $28.6 billion for restaurants – the single largest earmark in the stimulus bill. Read more

Another Voice: Vaccination passports are barrier to equity for WNY: "Pushing businesses to use vaccination passports to admit people to events will slow down the economy in Western New York yet again," writes Jen Sidorova. Read more

April 4

WNY's Covid-19 test positivity rate inches upward, now second highest in state: The percentage of Western New York testing positive for Covid-19 has creeped up to the second-highest of any region in the state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that the region's seven-day average positivity rate on Saturday was 4.44%, up from 4.03% on Friday and 4.04% on Thursday. Read more

One doctor has seen enough vaccine disparity. He is on a mission to do better: After a year of a ravaging virus, Dr. Raul Vazquez wants to see a different type of spread: He wants the desire – the excitement – over vaccination to become contagious, especially among populations of people who anchor their wariness in a history that is cruel and racist. Read more

Photos: Vaccinations for underserved communities: Vazquez, president and CEO of Urban Family Practice, oversaw two "pop-up clinics" as part of a state initiative to give vaccinations to those in underserved communities. Vaccinations were given to over 700 people at the Belle Center and the Native American Community Center of Erie and Niagara counties. See more

April 3

Spring (out)break: More WNYers vaccinated, but Covid-19 cases surge: When will Covid-19 release this region, and this country, from its grip – and how bad will things get before it does? The answer to both questions, public health experts insist, is up to us. Read more

In a Covid hospital, chaplain finds hope, prayer and the intensity of love: “We've sent people home who are 102 and I've done death notifications for people who are 19 years old and 24 years old,” said Kedzielawa, a chaplain who has served patients and staff at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus since last spring. Read more

Photos: Deacon Frank Kedzielawa and his fight against Covid-19 through prayer, spiritual care and cookies: Deacon Frank Kedzielawa is one of two Catholic Health deacons who have worked with patients and staff on Covid-19 floors at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga, which has served the majority of Covid patients in the health system. Read more

Suburban parents are going to courtrooms to get their kids back in classrooms: Parents in four suburban Erie County school districts have decided the best path to the classroom is through the courtroom. Read more

Another Voice: Buffalo Public Schools must partner with parents: "Everyone has an opinion on the best way to educate and support children during a pandemic, but the most important perspective is from our parents," writes Wendy Mistretta. Read more

April 2

Pop-up Covid-19 vaccine clinics planned for Irving, Gowanda: Vaccines will be available to all Seneca Nation residents from Allegany and Cattaraugus territories. Read more

Sorrow, prayers and hope: How the pandemic changed religious practices in WNY: Faith leaders in the region have learned to adjust sacred gatherings as they hope and pray for better days. Read more

My View: A closet convert to ‘Peyton Place’ sequels: Caged in my home during this yearlong pandemic, I found my tastes in reading were to unexpectedly expand dramatically, Ron Gawel says. Read more

April 1

More Covid-19 variants detected in Erie County samples: “We believe these variants are contributing to our increasing daily new case totals and the resulting rise in hospitalizations," said Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. Read more

It's your turn, millennials and Gen X: Here's how to get a vaccine appointment: Here's an updated guide on how to get an appointment to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. Read more

County attorney for Poloncarz administration suspended: Erie County Attorney Michael A. Siragusa was suspended for five days without pay last week for violating the county's Covid-19 policy, which bars employees from coming into work when they exhibit certain symptoms. Read more

Sean Kirst: After year of loss at Villa Maria, nuns find joy in Covid vaccine: After six nuns at Villa Maria died from complications linked to Covid-19 last year, 55 members of the Felician sisters got their second doses of the vaccine this week. Read more

Covid-19 vaccination clinic set for Saturday at William-Emslie YMCA: The Erie County Department of Health will hold a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic for eligible state residents on Saturday at the William-Emslie Family YMCA. Read more

WNY mental health guru: The power of song brings clarity, eases pandemic stress: Karl Shallowhorn spent part of the pandemic posting songs on Facebook that have helped him navigate the monotony, uncertainty and despicability of the past year. Read more

March 31

Covid-19 cases are up, especially among young adults: Since early March, new cases among 20-somethings more than doubled. By comparison, elderly residents in their 70s and 80s saw a far more moderate uptick, from 104 to 145 weekly cases. Read more

Two Buffalo charter schools seek 2nd chance to prove themselves, avoid closing: Two years ago, Westminster and Enterprise – home to close to 1,000 students – had their charters renewed with the expectations that they needed to improve their reading and math scores if they were to remain open. Then came Covid-19, and the cancellation of the state’s standardized tests, leaving the two schools with little chance to prove themselves. Read more

Jacqueline C. Groszkowski, 77, longtime teacher 'left world a better place': Mrs. Groszkowski died of Covid-19 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, where she had been a patient for 16 days. "Her generosity was far-reaching," said Sandra Ash, one of her two daughters. "She left the world a better place and that is testimony of a life well lived." Read more

How Buffalo is keeping that Dyngus Day state of mind: While the pandemic forced an intermission for the traditional post-Lenten celebration in 2020, plans are in place for the Dyngus Day parade to make a cautious comeback this year. Read more

Virtual events for April: music, art and crafty projects: From spring flower arranging to a virtual Dyngus Day beer tasting, there's plenty to do virtually in April. Read more

The Editorial Board: Infection rates increase as Covid-weary New Yorkers prematurely declare victory: "We truly are all in this together – vaccinated or not. Let’s all help each other and ourselves by acknowledging that danger remains real and present," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 30

As public hears mixed message, trendlines overshadow better news about vaccine: At a time when vaccine availability is becoming more plentiful, so is bad news coming out of Erie County – and the greater region – regarding confirmed Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations. Read more

David Robinson: As the pandemic eases, will discouraged workers look for jobs again?: "There now are fewer people either working or actively looking for a job in the Buffalo Niagara region than at any point in the last 30 years, which is as far back as state Labor Department records go. The reality is, it’s a lot longer than that," writes David Robinson. Read more

Timeline for local jail inmates to get Covid vaccine unclear: Just how soon county jail inmates start receiving Covid-19 vaccines remained unclear Tuesday. Read more

Kathy Hochul out front addressing pandemic, but not at center of decision-making: The lieutenant governor's leadership, particularly as it applies to the public health crisis, is falling under a brighter spotlight now that the potential exists for her to step into the governor's shoes if Cuomo is unable to survive the sexual harassment allegations against him. Read more

Williamsville School District parents sue for five-day, in-person learning for their children: Mark Speyer, Clarissa Zador and Jill Licata each filed affidavits seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction seeking to restrain and enjoin the school district from continuing to only offer its students an education through the district's hybrid/remote-learning model. Read more

The Editorial Board: Help reopen Western New York by helping to vaccinate Canada: "Western New York can’t get back to normal unless Ontario does, too," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more 

March 29

Covid-19 vaccine eligibility lowered to 30; teenagers to be eligible next week: New Yorkers who are 30 years old and older can start booking appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine starting Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday. Read more

Niagara Falls Memorial hires 100-plus temps to staff mass vaccination site: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center provides much of the staffing for a Covid-19 mass vaccination site in the Falls – so much so that it needed to hire more than 100 temporary workers, spokesman Patrick J. Bradley said Monday. Read more

Optimism in Niagara Falls: Promoters predict a post-Covid-19 tourism rebound: Some promoters and hotel and attraction owners believe the upcoming season will put smiles on their faces and money in their wallets. Read more

Helium Comedy Club reopens with live events April 2: The comedy club is among the smaller-scale performing arts centers and live entertainment venues allowed to reopen April 2 at a reduced capacity of 33% by New York State (100 people indoors, 200 people outdoors). Read more

March 28

Christians standing 'at the doorway of Holy Week' receive palms again: Covid-19 pandemic restrictions canceled palm distributions last year, along with all other Holy Week and Easter services at Western New York churches. Read more

What you need to know about the 'California variants' in Western New York: Despite their increasing prevalence, there is a lot that scientists – let alone everyday people – still don’t understand about the variants. Read more

Covid-19 hospitalizations, ICU patients drop in New York State: The number of New Yorkers in intensive care units with Covid-19 has dropped to the lowest level since Dec. 6. There were 877 patients in ICUs Saturday, a 46% decline from the post-holiday peak, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Read more

More passengers begin trickling back to Buffalo Niagara International Airport: Hustle, bustle and travel frenzy have not exactly returned, but a few signs of pre-Covid-19 life are slowly surfacing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Read more

Canadian vaccine shortage threatens border reopening: The U.S. will likely reach herd immunity months before Canada will – and that fact, some fear, may prolong the border shutdown that started along with the pandemic a year ago. Read more

It could take weeks for schools to fully reopen if NY approves 3 feet social distancing in classes: Administrators say there's a lot to do, from finding out how many students will come back, to moving desks back into classrooms, to figuring out how they will get to school and eat lunch. Read more


March 27

Will 2021 follow 2020 as a lost summer for Buffalo Niagara's major festivals?: For a community that embraces its annual festivals, 2020 was a lost year as the Covid-19 pandemic forced Buffalo Niagara’s largest events to go on hiatus. This year, some of the area’s most popular summer festivals are – once again – canceling or going virtual. Read more

State Legislature seeks repeal of health care legal protections granted in pandemic: Advocates of nursing home residents have been criticizing the legal immunity for months, claiming it has made facilities and those who work and operate them unaccountable for their actions. Read more

Sean Kirst: To honor a best friend, a pandemic message: You are not alone: "At an age when face-to-face community provides great developmental meaning, the barriers of Covid-19 are an especially suffocating force. As for youths who already suffered from anxiety, they have now spent a year in relative seclusion," writes Sean Kirst. Read more

Can we feel safe and protected in houses of worship?: In this season of Easter, Passover and – soon – Ramadan, we explore the safety considerations and health benefits of worshipping in person. Read more

VA WNY gives 20,000th Covid-19 vaccination: In the next few weeks, VA health caregivers are hoping to be able to expand their vaccination program to veterans who aren't currently enrolled or eligible for VA health care and eventually also to veterans' spouses and caregivers, the VA said. Read more

After false positives for Covid-19, Don Granato and Matt Ellis are back to face Bruins: Buffalo Sabres interim coach Don Granato and interim assistant Matt Ellis received false positive tests for Covid-19 and had to sit out Thursday's game in Pittsburgh. Both were in TD Garden for Saturday's matinee against the Boston Bruins – after a lot of driving to get here. Read more

The Editorial Board: As U.S. ramps up delivery of vaccines, WNY must be ready to handle the load: "Vaccine hesitancy remains a concern. With an expanding supply, we don’t want shrinking demand," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 26

More infectious California variant of Covid-19 virus found in Erie County: Health officials said they expect to do more genetic sequencing work to determine whether more transmissible variants of the virus are keeping the number of cases and hospitalizations in the region from continuing to decline. Read more

On-site event Covid testing now available – but it doesn’t come cheap: As the pandemic lingers, safety and testing costs will continue to be part of the equation, with miscalculations that can become tragic. Read more

'It killed us': Downtown Buffalo lunch spots hit hard as usual patrons work from home: Restaurants that cater to the office crowd have been hit with a double whammy since workers were sent home because of the pandemic. Read more

Don Granato, Matt Ellis clear Covid-19 protocol: The Sabres have their first meeting of the season in Boston with the Bruins at 1 p.m. Saturday in TD Garden. Read more

The Editorial Board: It seems to us – Staying the course on Covid; offering help for dads and a beaver was where?: This isn’t the time to relax. We’ll set ourselves back it we don’t hang on a little longer – wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, maintaining distances and washing hands. Read more

March 25

Cuomo announces new relaxed guidelines for nursing home visits: New York State has once again loosened some of its Covid-19 related restrictions on nursing home visits so that they align with federal guidelines. Read more

Williamsville Catholic school to go remote after Covid outbreak: A Catholic school in Williamsville will switch to remote learning for a 10-day period following an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus at the school. Read more

Covid-19 vaccine availability announced: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has called on houses of worship to partner with medical providers to conduct vaccination clinics. Read more

M&T Bank donates $417,000 toward pandemic relief: The grants are aimed at addressing issues including food security, front-line health care and racial disparities. Read more

GM Kevyn Adams to coach Sabres after Don Granato, Matt Ellis enter Covid protocols: The Sabres have been dealt yet another challenge for Thursday night's game in Pittsburgh: Interim coach Don Granato and interim assistant Matt Ellis won't be behind the bench due to Covid protocols. Read more

March 24

Covid-19 outbreak in Depew school a concern as all cases among students: In the past week, 11 students at Depew Middle School tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the school to go fully remote on Wednesday. The school will remain fully remote through the end of next week. Read more

Allegany County offers thousands of Covid-19 vaccinations: The doses are all Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, meaning a second shot will be required. Read more

Moderate uptick in new Covid-19 cases should be a 'wake-up call': Average daily case numbers are up almost a third over the past week, the first such climb since January. And Covid-19 is ticking up across the state, as well. Read more

During pandemic, Buffalo's pre-K enrollment plummets by 45%: For the students sitting out pre-K this year, the long-term consequences could be significant. Read more

Probe faults Martzloff, Williamsville's 'questionable decisions' for school reopening missteps: Former Williamsville Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff was disengaged, didn't share up-to-date information with district stakeholders and failed to provide adequate leadership as the region's largest suburban school district struggled to craft a reopening plan to safely serve all of its students, according to an outside investigation conducted on the school board's behalf. Read more

Hamburg Burgerfest canceled for the second year: "In the end, there are just too many moving parts for an event this large to try to project what may or may not be allowed in the middle of July," said Eileen Hotho, co-chairwoman of the event. Read more

March 23

Convention center out as vaccine site, vaccination gap continues to widen: In a  media briefing Tuesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein offered the latest updates on how the vaccine rollout is progressing. Read more

Erie County will wait for New York State guidance on 6-foot rule in schools: "If New York State changes their school guidance, then that will be the new standard for all school districts in Erie County," Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale R. Burstein said Tuesday. Read more

Parents ask court to force Grand Island schools to fully reopen: While this is the first lawsuit to try to force a local school district to reopen five days a week, it probably won’t be the last. Read more

Campaigns target Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among Blacks, but access remains an issue: “There is going to be hesitancy. I think the more we orient and teach people the benefits of the vaccine, then we’re going to get through the obstacles,” said Dr. Raul Vazquez of Urban Family Practice. Read more

Assembly Speaker Heastie tests positive for Covid-19 as state budget talks intensifying: Heastie, who received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine March 6, said he has been experiencing “extremely mild” symptoms. Read more

Despite pandemic slowdown, Williamsville co-op market reaches 500 members: Organizers envision opening a full-service market similar to those operated by the Lexington and East Aurora co-op organizations. Read more

Safe and soul-nourishing: What it's like to make an in-person visit to 5 Buffalo art galleries: Visits to Burchfield Penney Art Center, Albright-Knox Northland, Buffalo Arts Studio, CEPA Gallery and UB's Anderson Gallery all felt safe. Visitor codes and strict safety protocols were observed and followed. Read more

Blue Jays and Bisons both seeking scheduling clarity starting in May: Construction is already under way at Sahlen Field for what seems like a return of the Blue Jays sometime in June, but for how long? And what will happen to the Bisons in the interim? Read more


March 22

More people are eligible, but vaccine allocation reduced in WNY this week: As Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers eligible to join the battle for Covid-19 vaccinations, the state actually sent fewer doses of vaccines to Western New York this week than in either of the past two weeks. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Can we look forward to summer? Please? In this week’s “Pandemic Lessons,” we explore what it’ll take to drive virus numbers down by summer – and then, hopefully, lock in that safety for good. Read more

Niagara County will allow 3 feet social distancing in schools, if New York lets it: The Niagara County Health Department on Monday came out in favor of new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that allow school districts to sit students 3 feet apart in the classroom rather than the pandemic standard 6 feet. Read more

Grappling with uncertain present, future in WNY college soccer during Covid-19: Regardless of their participation in this truncated season, current soccer players across all NCAA divisions can sign a waiver to receive an extra year of eligibilityRead more

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application process set to begin: “These grants will get venues back on their feet and give them a fighting chance until we can safely enjoy live music again.” Read more

Iroquois and WSE boys, Cleveland Hill girls withdraw from sectional basketball tournaments: As a coach, Todd Kleitz feels for his players with the unexpected end to their Iroquois boys basketball season coming thanks to Covid-19 protocols and not on the court in the Section VI playoffs. Read more

The Editorial Board: With the CDC’s new guidance, in-person classes should soon resume in the region: "The CDC on Friday halved the social distance recommended for classroom teaching, cutting it to 3 feet from the previous recommendation of 6 feet." Read more

Photos: James Hardy goes back to school: First grader James Hardy has been anxious to get back to school at School 61 Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction since Covid-19 shut down in-person learning at Buffalo Public Schools last March. He finally had his chance on Monday, March 22, 2021. See more

March 21

Cuomo reports New York vaccination rate exceeds 25%: Across the state on Saturday, 139,209 New Yorkers rolled up their sleeves to receive a vaccination against Covid-19. Read more

With no easy way to verify Covid-19 vaccine eligibility, people are on the honor system: Who double-checks to ensure vaccinations go only to those eligible? The answer, for the most part, is no one. Read more

No computer. No smartphone. How are you supposed to get a vaccine?: Many at the highest risk of getting severely sick or dying of Covid-19 are also the least likely to have the technological access and ability to get themselves a vaccine appointment. Read more

March 20

Three local landlords partner with state to provide access for Covid-19 testing: The companies – Iskalo Development Corp., Savarino Properties and Uniland Development Co. – are among 21 participating landlords around the state committed to providing space and facilities access for the New York Forward Covid-Safe Offices partnership. Read more

Williamsville South girls to use JV team to open Section VI basketball tournament: Williamsville South got creative and figured out a way to keep its girls basketball season alive even though its varsity team is not scheduled to end a 10-day Covid-19 pause until the day of the Section VI Class A-2 quarterfinals. Read more

Bill Hilts Jr.: Covid-19 precautions mean changes in fish stocking plans: One of the real salvations during the past year has been the outdoors, providing an escape, therapy, relaxation and recreation. That doesn’t mean changes weren’t required to keep people safe. While things are getting better, the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt, providing a reminder that our difficult times are not over yet. Read more

Viewpoints: Three Booms Coming Soon? History may repeat itself with economic, technological  and population growth: "In the 1991 film Dead Again, the narrator (played by Emma Thompson) commented about post-World War II Southern California: it was 'so exciting, everywhere you went, people were having fun.' The years 2021 to 2023 could see a similar release from the economic and social gloominess caused by Covid-19," writes Patrick Reddy. Read more

My View: Higher consolations of lockdown life: "Mid-March 2020 will mark for all of us in different ways the “before” of the Covid-19 pandemic; the “after” is almost within sight. When that day comes, it will be a landmark date," writes Howard R. Wolf. Read more

March 19

St. Joseph Campus, the region's first Covid-19-only hospital, to convert to outpatient facility: The changeover reflects the declining hospitalizations due to the virus since mid-January and the impact the vaccine rollout is having on safeguarding community health, Catholic Health officials said. Read more

Waiting for school to fully reopen: 'Our hope is 3 feet, masks and no barriers': Schools in Western New York are making plans to get more kids in buildings, and they are hoping to get new guidance from Albany that would allow that. Read more

Buffalo nursing home hit with second-highest federal fine in N.Y. for Covid-19 violations: The 200-bed Buffalo Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, which has an overall one-star rating, has had 18 residents die of Covid-19 in the facility. Read more

Libraries offering in-person assistance for booking vaccine appointments: Several branches of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system are offering free, in-person assistance to people who need help booking a Covid-19 vaccine appointment starting Saturday. Read more

Life in the bubble is different for St. Bonaventure, NCAA Tournament teams: Housing teams in a bubble environment is one of the steps that the NCAA is taking to mitigate any spread of Covid-19. The NCAA is administering PCR tests to the 68 teams in the tournament. As of Thursday morning, there were eight positive cases out of 9,100 tests. Read more

Sabres' game Saturday postponed as 4 more Bruins enter Covid-19 protocols: The Sabres played the Bruins on Thursday night in Buffalo and neither team held a morning skate out of an abundance of caution because each side had a possible Covid-19 case. Read more

Covid-19 ends Williamsville South's reign as Section VI girls basketball champion: South Athletic Director Adam Erickson confirmed to the News the Billies won’t take part in the weeklong playoff tournament because the team has been placed on a 10-day pause for Covid-19 reasons. Read more

The Editorial Board: It seems to us – Don’t exhale too freely yet; a treat for St. Paddy’s Day and careful what you sell: "You can almost hear the whole country exhaling: As vaccines begin pouring into communities in Western New York and around the country, the sense of relief is palpable. It’s also premature," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 18

Poloncarz's emergency spending authority remains intact – at least for now: The Republican-supported minority caucus pushed to vote Thursday on revoking Poloncarz's unilateral ability to spend money out of funds designated for Covid-19 response. But the matter was ultimately sent to committee for a "more robust discussion" next week. Read more

Capacity doubled at Bisons' Sahlen Field, outdoor concert venues set to open: The attendance boost and reopening of large outdoor concert venues are among a number of changes announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as improving numbers for Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations prompt the state to ease restrictions meant to keep the virus in check. Read more

Judge says ICE detainees in Batavia can be vaccinated at public sites: The order applies to about 85 detainees who could now make their own appointments if they were not being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility. Read more

Sabres' game against Bruins still on after Covid-19 scare for both teams: The latest encounter with Covid-19 reached the Sabres only 24 hours after General Manager Kevyn Adams fired former coach Ralph Krueger. Read more

March 17

WNY among lowest rates in state; Cuomo lifts curfew for gyms, casinos and more: The governor noted that, statewide, the Covid-19 positivity rate is 2.41%, but that Western New York has one of the lowest positivity rates in the state. Read more

New state vaccination site in Niagara Falls accepting appointments, opens Friday: The Conference and Events Center, 101 Old Falls St., is one of 10 new mass-vaccination sites opening Friday. Read more

While other states open vaccines to all, Cuomo holds back – for now: When will Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo act on President Biden's directive to open Covid-19 vaccinations to all adults? Read more

WNY vaccine supplies grow with increased production and one-dose shot: In the week ending Sunday, Western New York received 29,000 first doses of vaccine and almost 14,500 shots earmarked as second doses. Read more

The Editorial Board: Friends, advisers, party leaders must work to overcome Republicans' vaccine doubts: "The reasons for Republicans’ reluctance are unclear, though among some, they may have to do with a disdain for both government and science." Read more

My View: Finding a vaccine was a shot in the dark: "Vaccination search for me and my husband, both 83 years old, started early in January," writes Pauline Dyson. Read more

March 16

Erie County hospitalizations and Covid-19 rates no longer falling: The Western New York region's Covid-19 positive test rates and hospitalization levels had been steadily falling since mid-January. But over the past week or so, that downhill slope has leveled off, even risen slightly. Read more

Poloncarz says he wasn't intimidated by Cuomo's vaccine czar: The county executive said no direct or implied threats were made by Larry Schwartz, nor was there any lobbying for him to support Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Read more

After three cases, Amerks coach hopes Covid-19 outbreak is contained: The Rochester Americans have three confirmed cases of Covid-19 on their roster, but have gone through a series of negative tests and are hoping to return to AHL game action this weekend Read more

March 15

At event excluding reporters, Cuomo talks vaccine, state budget: The governor said he will receive the vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson to show it is safe. Read more

State shortens elementary assessments, reduces number of Regents exams: New York State has asked for a waiver from federal law that requires the elementary and high school assessments because they could not be "safely, equitably and fairly administered" because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has upended education for the past year. Read more

'Yelling that we need more': Rural vaccine rate remains stubbornly low: There are a number of factors, including a lack of reliable broadband internet, that make it harder for people living in rural areas to make vaccination appointments. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: Is it time to go back out to a restaurant?: Should people still be wary of indoor dining? Or should we all embrace optimism from New York’s dropping virus numbers and rising vaccination rates? The answer, as we find in this week’s Pandemic Lessons, is both. Read more

700 front-line workers to attend Sabres' game Thursday against Boston: The first fans allowed in KeyBank Center to watch a Buffalo Sabres game this season will be workers who were on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Recalls to Sabres on hold as Covid-19 pauses Rochester Americans' season: The Amerks canceled practice Monday after their two weekend games were postponed because of the American Hockey League's Covid-19 protocols. Sources told The Buffalo News that there are multiple confirmed positive Covid-19 cases on the Amerks’ roster. Read more

The Editorial Board: Cuomo aide injects loyalty politics into the work of vaccinating New Yorkers: "If this was accidental, then the Cuomo administration is less politically attuned than its reputation," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 14

Photos: Looking back on a year of the Covid-19 pandemic in Buffalo: As Buffalonians mark a year of the coronavirus pandemic, take a look back at photographs from News Staff Photographer Mark Mulville that show how much things changed throughout the year. View more

'I don't know how not to care': One nurse’s hope for healing after a year of suffering: Nursing isn’t just about ending sickness. It’s about healing. For nurses like Erin Hegarty-Snyder, Covid-19 has made that goal daunting and elusive. Read more

Sean Kirst: 'It breaks you down to pieces': A year with Covid-19, in WNY: We all have images and memories we will forever associate with the Covid-19 pandemic, which shut down Western New York a year ago this month. Sean Kirst looks back at some unforgettable stories. Read more

March 13

A Covid-19 survivor who spent 103 days in the hospital remembers his 'journey': Juan Phillips only recently learned the details of what he endured and how close he came to becoming one of the first Covid-19 deaths in the region. Read more

From the editor: One year and counting since we left the newsroom: In our lifetimes, there has never been a story like Covid-19. Despite the conditions, News reporters and photographers were in hospitals, at protests and taking pictures from front yards. But much of what you read, on your phone or in your newspaper, was reported from kitchen tables, bedrooms turned into offices, front porches and attics. Thanks to video calls, we have seen it all. Read more

Experts say ransomware attack on Buffalo Public Schools should have been anticipated: "It’s very common for schools to be targeted," said Holly Hubert, founder of Amherst-based GlobalSecurityIQ. It is still unclear whether students will return to class on Monday after the cyberattack. Read more

Discount Diva: Thousands of consumer complaints came out of the pandemic – with more to come: The Attorney General's Office is warning consumers about some outright scams that have grown out of the health crisis. Read more

Vaccine clinics planned for veterans of all ages in the Southern Tier: Veterans of all ages who are enrolled with the VA Western New York He