The news broke earlier today that New York State was lifting its mask mandate at a late-morning press conference by Governor Kathy Hochul.

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The Governor announced that starting February 10th, the statewide mandate will be lifted for all indoor businesses.  Masks will still be required in New York State in hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, on transportation, and other related entities.  Counties, cities, and businesses can still choose to require masks.

With the announcement that the mandate is coming to an end, The Rochester American's, AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, are the first sports franchise locally to announce new COVID protocols in relation to the news that the mask mandate will soon be over.

The Amerks tweeted the following early this evening:

The Amerks, who play their home games at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial, announced on their website that the arena is rescinding all mask and vaccination requirements for entry into all events, concerts, and live sporting events.  This includes home games for the Rochester Americans, as well as the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacross League.

Rob Minter, vice president of business operations for Blue Cross Arena as well as the Amerks and Knighthawks said:

After several extensive discussions and consultation with the proper authorities at both the local and state level, we’re pleased to announce that, effective Thursday, Feb. 10, all restrictions that were previously in place for admission into Blue Cross Arena will be lifted

The Amerks are on their home ice tonight with the mask mandate protocols still in effect.  They then hit the road and won't play a home game in Rochester until February 20th vs the Laval Rocket.  The Knighthawks will play their first game at home under the new rules on February 12th vs. the Albany Firewolves.

There has been no word yet from the Amerks parent club the Buffalo Sabres, or from their home arena The KeyBank Center, as to what their new COVID protocol will be.

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