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Protest against vaccine passports draws about 70 in Buffalo

Protest against vaccine passports draws about 70 in Buffalo

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Bidwell rally

Carl Schwartz speaks during a rally over vaccine passports on Bidwell Parkway on Saturday.

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.

Nancy Orticelli of the Constitutional Coalition of New York State questioned the state's decision to allow businesses to require that people be vaccinated to attend ordinary events.

"Why does the government think they can mandate it?" she asked the crowd.

Among the other speakers was attorney James Ostrowski, who filed a lawsuit last summer against Gov. Andrew Cuomo challenging his Covid-19 restrictions.

Carl Schwartz of NY Stands Up speaks during a protest against vaccine passports at Bidwell Parkway. The protest was organized by Medical Choice WNY.

Under the latest state guidelines, large venues of more than 250 people indoors or 500 outdoors must require patrons to show proof of having been vaccinated. Otherwise, social distancing and mask wearing is required.

New York State has created what is described as a free and voluntary app called the "Excelsior Pass," which can be downloaded onto a cellphone to show proof of vaccination or the results of a negative Covid-19 test.

Venues across New York State are implementing different requirements for entry as they reopen to spectators. The Toronto Blue Jays, who play next at Sahlen Field, are offering separate vaccinated and nonvaccinated sections. Guests must show proof of vaccination for the vaccinated sections while the nonvaccinated sections are spaced out under social distancing guidelines.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has announced that Buffalo Bills games and Buffalo Sabres games would require proof of vaccination to be open at 100% capacity but the game-day requirements have not been finalized.

Maki Becker

The Buffalo News: Good Morning, Buffalo

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Chief of the Breaking News/Criminal Justice Desk

I've worked at The Buffalo News since 2005. I previously worked as a reporter at the New York Daily News and the Charlotte Observer and was a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

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