As Housing Concerns Mount, Cities, States Steer Billions In COVID Funds To Address Crisis

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Healthcare System will have access to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at clinics in the Jamestown and Olean areas. Read more

Online waiting list for Covid-19 vaccine eligibility now includes all Allegany County adults: The online waiting list for Allegany County residents who are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine has been updated to include those who are 18 years old and older, the Allegany Department of Health announced Friday. Read more

The Editorial Board: A year on, an underperforming nation has urgent pandemic lessons to learn: As a nation, we haven’t performed well and we should assume now that another pandemic is a certainty, sooner or later. The country needs to learn hard lessons about the necessity of a central authority, guided by science. Read more


March 12

Error means not enough Covid-19 vaccines at Fredonia clinic for those with appointments: Some people who had scheduled appointment for vaccines at a clinic in Fredonia today won't be getting those shots, the Chautauqua County Health Department announced Friday morning. "Due to an issue with the NYS website, there were more appointments provided for the clinic today in Fredonia than are actually available," an emailed statement from the county Health Department said. Read more

A year into Covid, workers get used to juggling home and office: For most, the harried nature of last spring's upheaval has settled into a new kind of routine – with new challenges and new demands. Read more

Covid will permanently change the face of retail. Just look at the Elmwood strip: As a result of being deemed nonessential during the state's mandatory shutdowns, many small businesses in the Elmwood Village were forced to quickly and drastically change the way they do business. 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

Think Covid-19 is bad? You should have been a physician, or patient, in the 1800s: Dr. Thomas C. Rosenthal's new historical novel dives into the life, times and career of Dr. Jabez Allen. Read more

March 11

Best of friends, two grandmothers died leaving Wyoming County vaccination clinic: The two grandmothers had been the best of friends for 50 years, so it was not surprising that they went for their Covid-19 vaccines together. Both were eager to safely be with their families again. But Jessie Y. Button and Jacquelin M. "Jackie" Simpson never made it home. Read more

Batavia detainees eligible for Covid-19 shots still waiting for vaccine: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working on a plan with the state Health Department to vaccinate 85 detainees in Batavia who qualify for a Covid-19 shot. Read more

No more mandatory quarantine for New Yorkers after domestic travel starting April 1: Authorities say travelers "should continue strict adherence to all safety guidelines to stop the spread – wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings" – even for those who are fully vaccinated. Read more

Second ex-Russell's worker alleges firing over Covid-19 reporting violations: A second former employee has sued prominent Buffalo restaurateur Russell Salvatore, his partner Mark Jerge, and Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More. Read more

'Help the helpers': Foundations help nonprofits on front lines of the pandemic: More than 300 Western New York organizations are sharing $4.5 million in January grants from the Western New York Covid-19 Community Response Fund. Read more

M&T Bank takes steps toward returning employees to offices: Starting April 5, the Buffalo-based bank will begin a "a voluntary, measured and phased return-to-office" at three of its locations, a bank spokeswoman said. Read more

Jeff Miers: How we survived a year without ‘the magic,’ and what’s next: "Let’s keep our souls and spirits in shape, so we’re ready when we all meet again," writes Jeff Miers. Read more

Collection: Learning in the pandemic: How two families are coping: In September, families across the Buffalo Niagara region faced new challenges as the 2020-2021 school year began amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Some parents in suburban districts sent their children back to classrooms as part of a hybrid remote/in-person learning format. Families in the Buffalo Public Schools did not have that option, and many had to adjust to having their living rooms and dining rooms turned into classrooms as their children attended school remotely. Read more

March 10

Racial disparities plague vaccine rollout in WNY and across U.S.: As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout accelerates, the pandemic is gradually loosing its grip on both the region and the state. But not everyone has equal access to vaccines and vaccination sites – and Black, Asian and Hispanic New Yorkers, in particular, have seen disproportionately low vaccination rates. Read more

Cuomo's decision on age change added 500,000 to vaccination eligibility: "As more people get vaccinated and as supply expands from the federal government, we are increasing eligibility as we always said we would," a Health Department statement said. Read more

Local officials plan to fill budget holes, expand internet access with stimulus funds: The holes that the pandemic blew through the region's local government budgets will soon be overflowing with federal dollars, thanks to the federal stimulus plan. Read more

My View: Counting the days of Covid-19 captivity: "It’s been 18 days since my second Covid-19 vaccine. Before Covid-19, I was a baby-rocker at Oishei Children’s Hospital. I am also a member of their Family Advisory Council. So when I received an email that Kaleida Health volunteers were eligible for the vaccine, I leaped at the opportunity," writes Vickie Rubin. Read more

March 9

Does Cuomo's latest expansion of vaccine eligibility make things better – or worse?: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's unexpected decision Tuesday to expand the pool of people who will be eligible to get Covid-19 vaccinations fits neatly into the reaction pattern regarding the pandemic that has played out repeatedly in recent weeks: Cautious optimism, tempered with worry. Read more

As Erie County vaccinations rise, restrictions loosen for those who have had shots: The CDC advised that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless they show symptoms. Read more

Western New York school districts eye plans for federal stimulus money: In earlier rounds of Covid-19 relief funding, the federal government appropriated money for school districts, which, in turn, saw their state aid reduced in equal amounts to help New York plug its own budget gap. Read more

As Covid-19 deaths pass 2,500, more rural communities of WNY grapple with grief: In the eight-county region of Western New York, 443 people died outside of Erie and Niagara counties from October through February. Read more

Schumer takes victory lap to tout benefits of new stimulus bill: The Democratic majority leader revealed details of the legislation championed by President Biden and intended to counter Covid-19's economic impacts in New York and across the country. Read more

BTF gets another 60 days to discuss petition to halt school reopening: "We still feel that there are problems in the schools that need to be corrected so that they're safe when the kids return," Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore said. Read more

The Editorial Board: New York must ensure that its rural regions have easy access to vaccines: "Health officials should continue to monitor the rollout in rural areas to be sure that every New Yorker who wants a vaccine is able to schedule one without difficulty," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 8

Pregnant? Considering a Covid-19 vaccine? Here's what you need to know: For women who are expecting, or planning to get pregnant in the future, the decision about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine can be especially stressful. Read more

Buffalo Public Schools tweaks no-spectator policy to allow some Senior Night fans: The school district, which had stuck to a no-spectator policy for its high school basketball games out of concern over Covid-19, is making an exception for Senior Night. Read more

Mass Covid-19 vaccination site to open in Niagara Falls: The Conference and Event Center, 101 Old Falls St., is one of 10 new state-run sites announced Monday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Read more

Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments in Niagara Falls disappear in 19 minutes: For about 200 lucky senior citizens, Monday was the day they've been waiting for, the day they could obtain a Covid-19 vaccination appointment in Niagara Falls. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: If we all have shots, why can't we lose masks?: Unless you’re surrounded by vaccinated people, act as if you, too, don’t have the vaccine. Wear a mask. Keep distance. Read more

BPS superintendent keeps door ajar for allowing 7th- and 8th-graders to play varsity: Buffalo Public Schools still is concerned about safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. The district believes that the best way to have sports and prevent the spread of the virus is to limit the number of participants in athletics. Read more

The Editorial Board: Officials must use generous Covid-19 relief to sow seeds of long-term prosperity: "New York State residents certainly earned a generous amount of aid from the federal government in the past year as we coped with a once-in-a-century pandemic, but parts of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Package are unexpectedly generous," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 7

Restaurants to expand capacity to 75% if Covid-19 rates continue to fall: Restaurants throughout much of the state will be allowed to increase their capacity to 75% as of March 19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Sunday during a conference call with reporters. Read more

Buffalo to get $350 million in federal pandemic stimulus bill: The vast sums of stimulus money that the House promised to New York State and its municipalities last month survived in the Senate version of the bill that's likely to become law this week, meaning Buffalo is on target to get $350 million – way more than it needs to patch the pandemic-related hole in its budget. Read more

Fully reopen schools? Here's what the Covid-19 numbers say: As of the end of February, more than 2,700 cases have been reported in the 38 school districts across Erie and Niagara counties. Those only include cases where students or teachers were on-site, as opposed to off-site working remotely from home. Read more

Tom Precious: My successful online journey to a Covid-19 vaccine appointment: "The solution would require precise timing and, as importantly, blazing speed on my part. Without both components coming together, there would be no Covid vaccine for me," writes Tom Precious. Read more

As remote learning drags on, some parents mobilize for school five days a week: Since high-risk sports returned to school and other recreational sports have been given the green light to reopen, some parents want to see full-time school on the list of openings. Read more

The Editorial Board: State’s approach on testing hurts students needing help, as well as those who are succeeding: "New York State education officials should rethink their push to cancel six Regents exams scheduled for June. Every student deserves a chance to shine, especially during a pandemic," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 6

Some seniors cry as they are vaccinated by staff of Grand Island drugstore: MaryEllen Manuszewski, a pharmacist at the store, said 170 people were vaccinated Thursday, another 170 Friday and 160 Saturday. "People are very grateful. A lot of tearing up," she said. Read more

Live performances can restart soon – but will venues open?: Venue operators are weighing the pros and cons of reopening under the new rules. Read more

Photos: Hundreds get Covid-19 vaccination from Grand Island pharmacy: Over 20 volunteers from Grand Island administered the Covid-19 vaccine to over 200 people who were 65 and over on Saturday. See more

Covid case ends Sacred Heart's girls basketball season: Sacred Heart’s season is over before the start of the Monsignor Martin playoffs. Read more

March 5

60% of doses at Genesee County vaccine site go to Erie, Niagara residents: Just under a quarter of the 3,500 vaccines that will be given out at the state-run mass vaccination site that opened Friday at Genesee County Community College will actually end up in the arms of residents of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, according to local health officials. About half were snatched up by Erie County residents. Read more

Buffalo VA uses first-in-the-nation system to vaccinate thousands of veterans: The local VA health network has provided initial vaccine doses to more than 14,000 veterans, most over the last six weeks. Read more and see photos from local vaccine clinics for veterans.

Buffalo parents question no-spectator policy at school basketball games: While the local governing body for high school athletics last week began allowing home teams to host up to two spectators for each one of their athletes, Buffalo Public Schools has stuck to a no-spectator policy. Read more

Bad news won't fade into background for Cuomo: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was under fire on the nursing home front, again, this time after the Wall Street Journal and New York Times on Thursday reported that top Cuomo aides altered a report before it was made public to undercount how many nursing home residents had died by last June from Covid-19. Read more

The Editorial Board: It seems to us – Vaccination acceleration, aggravation by donation and no-ignition competition: "Things are looking up for Western New York as vaccines start arriving in bulk, the weather moderates and creativity – along with generosity – opens the way to mass inoculations against Covid-19," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

March 4

5,000 Buffalo schools students to return to classrooms March 15: The next stage of reopening Buffalo Public Schools will begin March 15, when another 5,000 students will be phased back into classrooms amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

KeyBank Center becomes Erie County's newest vaccination site for those 65+: The opening of the newest vaccination clinic is the latest sign that vaccine availability is improving throughout the county. Read more 

7,000 appointments at two rural vaccine sites snatched up in an hour: In counties such as Genesee and Cattaraugus, where the state has often been allotting between 100 and 200 doses a week, the new mass vaccination sites are greatly increasing the availability of vaccines. Read more

Judge may order ICE to take Batavia detainees to public vaccination clinics: “These folks deserve a chance to get the vaccine,” U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo said. Read more

State wants to cancel six Regents exams: New York State is poised to cancel six Regents exams scheduled for June because of the uneven learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Schoellkopf Health Center restarts resident visitation: The visits are allowed to take place in residents' rooms, but 6-foot social distancing is required, face masks must be worn and proper hand hygiene must be followed. Read more

Sean Kirst: In Lackawanna, a second vaccine dose feels like a new chance: Viola Blakely was among 360 people receiving second Covid-19 vaccine shots Wednesday at Second Baptist Church in Lackawanna. The church's pastor, the Rev. Mark Blue, is president of the Buffalo branch of the NAACP and a member of several vaccine equity task forces. The idea of holding the clinic at the church, he said, brings together all those roles. Read more

How some local theater companies are weathering the tempest: A year into a health crisis that has seen their business models challenged and their core means of commerce with their audience decimated, area theater companies continue to plan for a future sans in-person indoor gatherings. Read more 

March 3

Mass vaccination site opens in Buffalo: 'It's a blessing': A mass Covid-19 vaccination clinic that opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo. Read more

Time – not religious debate – a factor in vaccination of local nuns: Despite some Catholic controversy regarding the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, local Felician nuns are simply glad that they're getting vaccinated, regardless of vaccine type. Read more

State easing limits on residential, social gatherings: Starting March 22, the limit for outdoor residential gatherings will increase from 10 people to 25 people. The limit for indoor gatherings will remain at 10, according to state Budget Director Robert F. Mujica. Read more

Jury trials to resume March 22 as court officials work to assure safety: The state's chief judge has decided it's safe to bring people back to courtrooms for jury trials, but those trials will look a lot different than they once did. Read more

Alleged organized crime associate faces new charges of Covid-19 fraud, money laundering: Joseph C. Bella III, 48, is accused of running a company that made unauthorized purchases of Covid-19 test kits and then tried to sell them at nearly four times the price he paid for them. Read more

Niagara County to receive largest Covid-19 vaccine shipment ever: County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton announced Wednesday that 5,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's new one-dose vaccine are expected to arrive in Lockport next week, along with 1,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine the county has been using when it is available. Read more

Analysis: Cuomo sex harassment scandal is pushing out other issues at precarious moment: "Add the continuing march of Covid-19, worries over Covid-19 strains, vaccination distribution problems and a precariously perched economy to the time-consuming state budget discussions and the need for a fully engaged, undistracted governor becomes even more evident," writes Tom Precious. Read more

Vaccine shortages could be nothing but a memory soon: When it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine, it's still a cyberbrawl on the internet. But more sites, and larger availability, are on the way. Read more

WNY vaccine rollout already blunting the impact of Covid-19: The share of the regional population that has immunity to Covid-19, whether through the vaccine or by fighting off the disease, is growing rapidly as the rollout accelerates. Read more

Save the dates: Plans for some WNY home and garden events: Organizers of some local popular home and garden events have been making plans while keeping track of government guidelines and state and county restrictions due to Covid-19. Read more

Niagara women's basketball's series against Siena canceled, will apply for NCAA waiver: Niagara announced Wednesday that its series on Thursday and Friday at Siena has been canceled due to a positive Covid-19 test among Tier 1 personnel in Siena's program.

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The Editorial Board: Arrival of vaccines threatens to send a premature message of pandemic’s end: "We are still making our way through the forest. We need to hang on for a few more months before declaring victory," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

My View: Coaching special Olympians in a time of pandemic: "During these days of physical separation from our families and friends, I have been shown once again that there are ways that we can remain connected with others," writes Joyce Drzewiecki. Read more

Photos: Delavan Grider Community Center Covid-19 vaccination clinic: A mass Covid-19 vaccination clinic was held on Wednesday, March, 3, 2021, at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo. See more

March 2

Amherst, Clarence and Orchard Park see higher Covid-19 vaccination rates: When it comes to getting the Covid-19 vaccine in Erie County, affluence equals access. Read more

Nuns, other homebound to get Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming to Erie County: The homebound, especially nuns, will receive the 200 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine that officials expect to arrive in Erie County by the end of the week. Read more

State's Covid-19 positivity rate is below 5%: The state's seven-day average of Covid-19 positive test results remains steady at 3.08% Monday. Read more

Democrats to repeal historic Covid-era powers granted to embattled Cuomo: Democratic leaders, under pressure from Republicans in the political minority as well as a growing number of Democratic members of the Assembly and Senate, pushed up a change to diminish the governor’s existing authority. Read more

'We're forgotten': Rural Allegany seeks boost to state's lowest vaccine rate: In a state of more than 19 million people, it is easy for 46,700 residents of Allegany County to feel overlooked. But an annoyance in normal times can have deadly consequences during a public health crisis. Read more

St. Bonaventure, Olean communities grieve for man who led as he lived: "DePerro is being lauded this week for his administrative skills and warm intuition, for the way he steered the university to new growth," writes Sean Kirst. Read more

Niagara men's basketball on pause due to Covid-19, awaits postseason status: Coach Greg Paulus offered no definitive answer as to whether the Purple Eagles will play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, which is scheduled to begin Monday in Atlantic City, N.J. Read more

March 1

Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations continue to decline in WNY: One year since New York State's first Covid-19 case was identified, the recent data on the virus keeps trending in the right direction, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Read more

St. Bonaventure president dies of Covid-19: St. Bonaventure University President Dennis R. DePerro died Monday as a result of complications from Covid-19, the university announced. Read more

Taste of Buffalo, Allentown Art Festival among summer events planning comeback: A Taste of Buffalo, the nation's largest two-day food festival, announced Monday that it will be back in July. It's not the only festival planning a return. Read more

43North plans for return of competition this year: 43North plans to revive its business plan competition this year, following a one-year hiatus. But organizers are still working out what the program will look like and exactly when it will take place. Read more

An 'outlier': The SUNY campus that brought all students back during a pandemic: While many SUNY campuses hosted a quarter or less of their courses face to face in the fall, 87% of classes at Alfred State in Allegany County were in-person. Read more

The Editorial Board: Higgins is smart to start pushing to restart normal travel to Canada: "Economic and social patterns have been necessarily disrupted by the virus, but they are intrinsic to life in border communities," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

My View: Covid-19 confinement brings new awareness: "I do not like feeling restricted at this stage of life. However, it definitely beats the alternative," writes Michael K. Hall. Read more

Feb. 28

Covid-19 numbers still improving across Western New York and state: Covid-19 numbers for the state and region showed more improvement Sunday, with the seven-day average positivity rate falling to 3.14% statewide and to 1.89% in Western New York. Read more

The Smith family goes to school – during a pandemic: The Smith family, of Arcade, joins thousands of other families in Western New York in navigating the challenges that come with sending their children to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Planning is near impossible. How do you stay calm about the future?: In this “Pandemic Lessons,” we dive into strategies from mental health experts for navigating the coming months. Read more

More than 90 WNY bars and restaurants free from Covid-19 curfew again: A State Supreme Court justice on Saturday ruled in favor of a group of more than 90 Western New York bars and restaurants seeking to stay open past the state's 11 p.m. curfew, continuing a protracted legal ping-pong match between the businesses and state government. Read more

Feb. 27

Stimulus bill would bring Buffalo schools $245.1 million windfall: Buffalo city schools would receive a $245.1 million windfall under the Covid-19 stimulus bill the House passed early Saturday – a sum that equals more than a quarter of the school district's annual budget. Read more

Trudeau: Canadian, U.S. border to remain closed 'for now ... to keep safe': Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a prerecorded interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" that will air Sunday, offered Canadians and Americans no hope that the border between the two countries will reopen anytime soon. Read more

Couples postpone weddings after Cuomo restricts dancing: 'The rules keep changing': The governor's latest regulations are such a downer that many brides would rather postpone their weddings – again – than celebrate under such restrictive circumstances. Read more

Delavan Grider vaccination site will soon be open to all eligible Erie County residents: Originally open only to residents of 10 ZIP codes in Buffalo and Cheektowaga, the site will soon book Covid-19 vaccination appointments for all eligible Erie County residents. Read more

Erie County Health Department updates quarantine guidance: The changes apply only to those who are fully vaccinated or recovered from being infected with the virus. People are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

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Sean Kirst: At St. Bernard's, despite pandemic, they still have some fish to fry: At a church in Buffalo's Kaisertown, a tiny group of volunteers pulled off a knockout Lenten drive-up pandemic fish fry, in a neighborhood saddened by news of a bank shutdown across the street. Read more

Poloncarz says county can begin to vaccinate those 65 and older next week: The Erie County executive said the county will receive from New York State a weekly dedicated allocation of the vaccine for people in the 65 and older age group. Read more

Niagara County to move vaccination clinics to North Tonawanda: The clinics will move to Gratwick Fire Company. Read more

Feb. 26

Judge orders vaccination plan for ICE detainees in Batavia: A judge has ordered the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia to come up with a plan to vaccinate its most vulnerable detainees as the number of Covid-19 cases there surges. Read more

Buffalo superintendent expects more students to return to classrooms in March: Third-, fourth- and ninth-graders would be welcomed back to the classroom in March, as part of the next phase of reopening the Buffalo city schools during the Covid-19 pandemic. On Feb. 1, high school seniors, students in grades pre-K through second and those with the highest needs were invited back. Read more

Plenty of shots available at Delavan-Grider vaccine clinic: The first eight days of appointments for the pop-up East Side clinic were booked solid, but after that there's lots of room. Eligibility is restricted to residents of 10 Buffalo and Cheektowaga ZIP codes, which are home to much of the region's minority population. Read more

Covid-19 numbers continue to fall in New York State: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Friday that the positivity rate as of Thursday was 2.82%, the lowest it has been since Nov. 21. The seven-day average positivity rate dropped to 3.22%, the lowest since Nov. 26. There were 5,626 people hospitalized in the state Friday, the lowest number since Dec. 12. Read more

Canisius-Niagara men's basketball series canceled: The Canisius and Niagara men's basketball teams will not meet this weekend in the annual Battle of the Bridge series, and it is unclear if Niagara will continue its season into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament. Niagara announced Thursday night that the series, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Gallagher Center, was canceled due to Covid-19 protocols. Read more

Section VI football season will be five weeks, two rounds of playoffs: Thanks to Covid-19, high school football in WNY is a spring sport this year. The five-week regular high school football season begins April 1 and ends May 1. Read more

CEO says he won't let USS The Sullivans sink: The Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park naval park is extending its All Hands on Deck fundraising campaign to raise money for emergency repairs to keep the USS Sullivans afloat. The campaign was begun in July to make up for reduced revenues because of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Read more

Feb. 25

Sabres to admit fans to select games, starting March 20: The Buffalo Sabres are reopening KeyBank Center to fans for select games starting with the March 20 visit from the Boston Bruins, the team announced Thursday afternoon. Read more

17% of Erie County adults have at least one vaccine dose; Allegany has state's lowest rate: In Allegany County, only 3,500 people – or roughly 9% of all adult residents – had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of Feb. 23. Read more

On Covid-19, should we be optimistic? Or pessimistic? (Or both?): Should we feel optimistic or pessimistic about the coming months of the Covid-19 pandemic? The answer is yes. Read more

Fired restaurant maintenance chief sues Salvatore, Jerge for $6 million: The former employee of Russell's Steaks, Chops & More and Salvatore's Grand Hotel contends his firing resulted from his complaint about co-owner Mark Jerge coming to work after testing positive for Covid-19. Read more

The Editorial Board: Feds’ ruling on student assessments strikes a sensible balance at a difficult moment: "The U.S. Department of Education made the right decision in denying the request to forgo state assessments this year," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

My View: Pandemic will give us the gift of presence: "Whether it be sports, theater or concert-going, we all have interests that have been dramatically altered and have left an emptiness in our lives," writes Diane Hyzy. Read more

Feb. 24

How music lovers have helped some of their favorite venues during the pandemic: While eligible venues wait for funds from the Save Our Stages Act to be disseminated – a process that has been, in the opinion of some local venue owners, both convoluted and too slow – they continue to bleed money with, in many cases, their doors remaining closed. The crowd business is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with a reported $9 billion revenue loss in ticket sales alone during 2020 compounding massive losses in beverage and food revenue to create an economic crisis that many venues have found insurmountable. Read more

Biden, Trudeau agree to coordinate on border, but offer no immediate plans to ease restrictions: "Both leaders agreed to take a coordinated approach based on science and public health criteria when considering measures to ease Canada-U.S. border restrictions in the future," said a statement issued by the two governments late Tuesday. Read more

Doctors say supplying them with vaccines would solve many problems: “Doctors know their patients, they’re trusted by their patients and they know who is in the highest category of need," one local doctor said. Read more

Sean Kirst: A nun who lived out loud quietly passes from Covid-19: "In a different world, Sister Mary Owen's funeral would have packed a church, with hundreds who loved her belting out her beloved Irish songs," writes Sean Kirst. Read more

William E. Peoples Jr., 80, entrepreneur and founder of Umoja group: When William E. Peoples Jr. turned 60 in 2000, he could no longer avoid a pressing thought that he should do more for the community. That year he founded Umoja Inc., a nonprofit named for the Kwanzaa principle of “Unity.” He died of complications of Covid-19 on Feb. 18. Read more

The Editorial Board: On vaccines, doctors have the skills and insights to make a difference: "Doctors in Western New York make a good case that they should be receiving shipments of the vaccine, as supplies increase," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 23

Covid-19 numbers continue to fall, but arrival of new UK variant poses worries: The Western New York region and Erie County continue to see steady declines in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 and the number of people being hospitalized with the virus, but the identification of a more infectious U.K. variant of the coronavirus in Erie County presents a new worry. Read more

Cuomo: First cases of UK variant of coronavirus identified in Erie County: The two Erie County U.K. cases were among 18 new cases found in New York State, bringing the state's total of the U.K. variant cases to 154. Read more

New vaccine appointments open at 8 a.m. Wednesday for many eligible Buffalo residents: New York State and the federal government are teaming up to host a month-long pop-up vaccination clinic at the Delavan-Grider Community Center, 877 East Delavan Ave., in Buffalo, starting March 3. Read more

Some Covid-19 restrictions remain on nursing home visits under new guidelines: Families are upset that they still aren't allowed to have contact visits with relatives in nursing homes. Read more

Feds: school assessments must go on despite pandemic: State assessments of school children must go on to the extent possible in the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday. Read more

Superintendents association wants input with state ed on fully reopening schools: Pressure to return students to the classroom five days a week has been mounting from all corners, including the White House. Read more

Biden and Trudeau meet – but don't publicly discuss border closure: As expected, the two leaders bemoaned the pandemic, vowed to rebuild their respective economies and fight climate change and otherwise left residents of border communities such as Buffalo and Fort Erie wondering when and how the border travel restrictions will be loosened or lifted. Read more

Can't get to the school library? No problem, e-books are the answer: The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and schools are teaming up to offer students access to the library's e-books and audio books to broaden the materials available to them. Read more

Section VI, Monsignor Martin give schools options of hosting home fans at games: Host districts will have the prerogative to allow up to two home spectators per athlete in basketball and swimming. Because hockey, bowling and skiing are held in private facilities, the rules at each of those venues will be followed. Read more

UB seeks approval for limited attendance at remaining home basketball games: “We’re looking at an opportunity for students to come to a game,” UB athletic director Mark Alnutt told The News. Read more

Covid-19 protocols impacting Syracuse postpone Wednesday's Amerks game: The Rochester Amerks' game Wednesday night at Syracuse has been postponed due to Covid-19 protocols impacting the Crunch. Read more

Feb. 22

State reveals guidelines for resuming nursing home visits: New York State is expanding its guidelines for reopening nursing homes to visitors, it was announced Monday during Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's update on the state's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Movie theaters can reopen statewide, Cuomo says: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that theaters can reopen at 25% capacity with no more than 50 people per screening. The theaters need enhanced ventilation and air purification standards. Read more

After experimental Covid-19 treatment, 80-year-old woman thankful to be home: As Judith Smentkiewicz fought for her life in a local hospital last month, she had no idea that her struggle with Covid-19 was the subject of a heated court battle and stories in the news media. Read more

With high-risk sports reopening, high school bands want to play, too: After the state started allowing high-risk high school sporting events such as basketball and hockey to take place, music supporters took notice. Read more

Irish eyes aren't smiling: St. Patrick's Day parade is canceled: "We take very seriously our responsibility to help flatten the coronavirus curve to keep our community safe," parade organizers said in a statement. Read more

Feb. 21

Pandemic Lessons: Can we get excited about theme park fun?: In this “Pandemic Lessons,” we explore the safety of summer fun. Read more

Public health experts 'very concerned' about no-shows for second Covid-19 shot: The no-shows create multiple problems for vaccine providers and public health officials, who are begging patients to complete the full vaccine series. Read more

Appointments for East Side vaccination site open Wednesday; Covid-19 rates fall again: Vaccine-eligible residents from selected parts of the City of Buffalo can start booking appointments Wednesday to receive their Covid-19 shots at the new mass vaccination site on East Delavan Avenue. Read more

A somber reality from a Covid-19 intensive care unit: 'Time of death is 12:53 p.m.': Buffalo News photographer Sharon Cantillon and reporter Tim O’Shei have been shadowing medical workers on the job since spring. As we near the one-year mark of the pandemic, we will be publishing a series called “Dispatches from the Front Line.” This report, from the medical intensive care unit at Buffalo General Medical Center, is the first. Read more

Covid-19 claims half of an 'inseparable' couple: Paul L. Bohanna adored his family and was a great example of a father and a husband, his daughter Shyla Kelcy said. Read more

The Editorial Board: Let’s roll out welcome mat for Blue Jays, whose return would be enhanced by fans: "Our loyal fans of minor league baseball deserve this taste of the big leagues," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 20

Western New York's Covid-19 positivity rate drops below 3%: Western New York's recent good coronavirus news continued Saturday as its positivity rate dropped below 3% for the first time in more than three months. Read more

Western New York VA vaccinates 10,000th veteran: According to a VA news release, its health care centers in Buffalo and Batavia vaccinate more than 900 veterans per day, using a military-grade tent complex outside the Buffalo hospital and a large open-bay room in Batavia. Read more

Several hundred Native Americans get vaccinated at Buffalo pop-up clinic: Dr. Raul Vazquez, founder of Buffalo’s G-Health Enterprises, obtained 350 vaccine doses and arranged the five-hour clinic with Michael Martin, director of Native American Community Services, and Seneca Nation businessman J.C. Seneca, who owns the Tallchief Territory Native Pride Travel Plaza in Irving. Read more

Will there be a summer 2021 concert season? Yes. And no: "A live music-starved public will have to wait until 2022 for a summer concert season resembling the ones we cherished prior to the pandemic, it seems," News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers writes. Read more

The Editorial Board: Increasing supplies may soon lessen the chaos of scheduling vaccine appointment: "One of the reasons for the current vexations with scheduling a vaccine appointment is that those who stand ready to inject the vaccine get deliveries only sporadically. Once vaccines start showing up regularly and in greater amounts, those frustrations should ease," The News' Editorial Board writes. Read more

Krueger on Ristolainen: 'I am concerned that it will take a while to get Risto back': The

 Sabres defenseman is still struggling to regain his strength after becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.

 "At any point in time we could have a relapse here (with players who were on the Covid list). We’ve been warned it can pop up a week, two weeks, three weeks later," the Sabres coach said.

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Covid precautions are part of planning process for new gourmet mac and cheese restaurant to open in Falls: "We're trying to get the Covid-friendly restaurant that doesn't require having to be there a long time," says Jason Lizardo, of Bowl-ify set to open in Niagara Falls in April. Read more

Feb. 19

With the weather outside frightful, vaccine clinic scheduling is far from delightful: The winter weather that plunged much of the nation into a deep freeze this week continues to play havoc with shipments of the Covid-19 vaccine. Read more

Cuomo defends handling of Covid-19 crisis in nursing homes:  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo spoke at length about nursing homes Friday, addressing the recent controversy stemming from the health department's concession that the number of nursing home patients who died of Covid-19 in the state was undercounted by more than 4,000 because those people died in hospitals

. Read more

Families want answers as Cuomo loosens nursing home visitation restrictions: The governor announced a loosening of restrictions but said visitors will have to take a rapid Covid-19 test. “Unfortunately, it is too late for our family and many families who have lost their loved ones due to the isolation,” said Kristen Squillace, whose 91-year old father Sam LoVullo died Jan. 22 at Terrace View Long Term Care in Buffalo, after a gradual decline in health since the pandemic hit. Read more 

Wasted Wednesdays? Is 6 feet too much? Concerns shift for second half of school year: The questions that loomed so large during the first half have in many ways been answered: Schools found a way to reopen and stay open. But in other ways, the conversation has shifted since September as the pandemic wears on and frustration grows. Read more

Elaine M. Luparello, 84, owned one of the first local day care centers: Elaine M. Luparello, was hospitalized in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital for congestive heart failure in November. After several trips to a rehab facility and back to the hospital, she was diagnosed with Covid-19. Read more

M&T Bank will give some workers paid time off to receive the Covid-19 vaccine: Full-time workers at the company will receive up to four hours of paid time off to get their first vaccine and another four hours to complete their vaccination with a second dose. Read more

Sabres' Rasmus Ristolainen endured intense chest pain during bout with Covid-19: In a vivid interview with the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, Ristolainen described the symptoms he experienced during a bout with Covid-19, including significant drops in oxygen levels and chest pain that made him wonder if he would awake the following morning.

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Atlantic Hockey tournament to remain on campus sites, won't play at LECOM Harborcenter: The decision marks the second consecutive season that the tournament won’t be at Harborcenter because of the coronavirus. Last year’s event was canceled after the first round. Read more

With Greater Niagara Fishing Expo canceled, extensive plans for 2022 already underway: One of the many casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic is sport, travel and outdoor shows in 2021. This weekend would have been the scheduled dates for the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. Read more

Six Flags Darien Lake scheduled to reopen May 21: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that outdoor amusement parks could open at 33% capacity, with Covid-19 safety measures in place, beginning on April 9. Read more

The Editorial Board: Legislators should review Cuomo’s use of pandemic powers, but not take them away: "As pressure rises on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over his misreporting of nursing home deaths from Covid-19, it is essential for legislators of both parties to distinguish between that failure and the separate question surrounding the additional powers they gave the governor to manage a still-dangerous public health crisis. Failure to do so may be counted in New Yorkers’ lives," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: N.Y. HERO Act would help ensure workplace safety: "We must protect people from airborne diseases like Covid-19 while giving employees the security of knowing they can return to work safely," write Michael Gianaris and Karines Reyes. Read more

Feb. 18

Covid-19: WNY's hospitalizations plummet below springtime high: The sharp decline in the spread of the coronavirus in Western New York continues. Read more

Niagara County shows Covid-19 progress, but health chief is wary: The county had reported 2,525 active cases on its worst day, which was Jan. 21. But Thursday, the figure was 438, a drop of 83% in four weeks. Read more

Robert J. McCarthy: Cuomo nursing home response posing gravest crisis of long career: "Now Cuomo finds himself mired in the gravest crisis of his career, lower than his bungled initial run for governor in 2002." Read more

Why it's so hard to sign up for Covid-19 vaccine – and why it won't get easier anytime soon: Spending hours checking the sites of many drugstore chains and independent pharmacies isn't likely to end soon for New York State residents who want to make an appointment to get a vaccine. Read more

6 tips on how to line up a vaccination appointment: Just as there is no single source for vaccines, there is no single source for appointments. But perhaps, if you're patient, and somewhat lucky, these tips might help you score a shot. Read more

CBRE says pandemic drove vacancy rates higher for office, retail space: The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the commercial real estate market – particularly for office and retail space, but it left the tight conditions for industrial facilities unscathed. Read more

Alan Pergament: A Buffalo angle to inspiring story about 90-year-old who walked 6 miles for vaccine: A rare winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on Seattle couldn't keep Fran Goldman from her first appointment for the coronavirus vaccine on Sunday. Read more

Will the Blue Jays return to Buffalo? Maybe, but it's complicated: There are a lot of moving parts to this situation. And it is not nearly as simple as last season, when the Blue Jays played 26 games here in a 46-day stretch in August and September. Read more

After starting season in Dunedin, Blue Jays CEO says Buffalo is 'best alternative' for 2021: After playing their final 26 home games in Buffalo last season at Sahlen Field, the Blue Jays are again pondering their Triple-A stadium as their home for 2021 if they continue to not get clearance from the Canadian government to play in Rogers Centre in Toronto due to the pandemic. Read more

Feb. 17

Efforts intensify to boost Covid-19 vaccinations in Buffalo: About 1,000 people per day are to be vaccinated at the Delavan-Grider Community Center beginning March 3, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday. Read more

Cuomo: Outdoor amusement parks, summer camps can reopen: The governor said indoor family entertainment centers and outdoor amusement parks will be allowed to open with capacity limits. Read more

A do-it-yourself Ash Wednesday in a pandemic: Several local parishes distributed ashes Wednesday in small bags along with instructions on how to conduct their own imposition of the ashes at home. Read more and see more photos

Buffalo area malls face their toughest times yet as stores leave in droves: Malls were struggling long before Covid-19, but the virus and its fallout have accelerated their decline. Read more

Casey Mittelstadt the latest Sabres player removed from Covid protocol list: The Sabres do not have a player on the Covid protocol list for the first time since Feb. 1. Read more

Rangers' plan to allow fans provides clues for what to expect at KeyBank Center for Sabres: With a capacity of 19,200 for Sabres games, KeyBank Center will be able to seat approximately 2,000 fans under the current guidelines. Read more

Erik Brady: Covid-19 safety brings more backyard ice rinks than ever before: "Western New York has long been congenial to the rink-at-home crowd. And now more than ever," writes Erik Brady. Read more

Feb. 16

Erie County encouraged by signs that vaccine logjam could be breaking: Covid-19 vaccine shortages may still grip this region for the next few weeks, but new information has led Erie County to advance plans to convert the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center into a 24-hour mass vaccination clinic that could administer shots to more than 3,000 people a day. Read more

OSHA investigating Covid-19 death of Buffalo man who worked at two nursing homes: Adrienne K. Johnson, 60, a full-time cook at Williamsville Suburban and part-time kitchen worker at Terrace View Long Term Care, died Dec. 20, four days after testing positive for Covid-19. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation into his death after it learned about it from a Buffalo News story. Read more

Hotel Henry will close, the victim of a 'pandemic body blow': "The pandemic body blow to our community was overwhelming for Henry," co-owner Dennis Murphy said. "That was the summary of it." Read more

Jericho Road to get vaccines directly from federal government: Jericho Road Community Health Center will be one of the first 250 health centers in the country to receive a direct allocation of Covid-19 vaccine doses from the federal government. Read more

Pace of Covid-19 vaccination jumps nearly 50% in Western New York: Over the seven-day period ending Monday, average daily vaccinations increased to 5,656 – or roughly enough, at current rates, to immunize every adult in the region within a year. Read more

Covid-19 court case heats up over mask mandate at Orchard Park gym: The court fight over pandemic restrictions has escalated between the state and Athletes Unleashed owner Robert Dinero. Read more

Parents to rally Sunday for full school reopening: Parents and supporters of fully opening schools will hold a rally at 2 p.m. Sunday in front of the Rath Building in conjunction with rallies being held nationwide demanding the full and immediate opening of schools. Read more

Kim Pegula expects limited number of fans to start Bills season but optimistic for more: "I do think the vaccine, the testing piece will be a critical role into how fans get back into the stadium and whether or not it will be full capacity," Pegula said. Read more

St. Bonaventure men's basketball schedule continues to shift: The St. Bonaventure University men's basketball team's schedule has shifted once again, as a result of Covid-19 issues in opposing programs. Read more

The Editorial Board: Rising availability of vaccines points the way toward a better summer: "Caution remains essential as the virus still infects some 400 people a day in the region, but there is finally room for cautious optimism," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 15

Cuomo concedes lack of transparency in nursing home Covid-19 crisis: With criticism growing over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis in nursing homes, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday said he had "no excuses" and accepted responsibility for not being transparent with New Yorkers and contributing to the pain caused by the pandemic. Read more

As officials work to end border shutdown, locals with homes in Canada grow weary: For Western New Yorkers who have owned second homes in Canada for years, if not generations, the border shutdown still breeds uncertainty. Read more

Could the Covid-19 pandemic lead to the end of snow days?: Now that teachers and students have become adept at learning remotely from home, it may not be necessary to cancel learning when the weather is bad. Read more

Snow cancels Tuesday Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Lockport: Because of the expected heavy snowstorm, the Niagara County Health Department on Monday announced the cancellation of Tuesday's scheduled Covid-19 vaccination clinic at the Kenan Center Arena. Read more

Lothar 'Larry' Gottlieb, 89, Bell engineer was Holocaust survivor: Gottlieb, who fled the Nazis with his parents as a boy of 9, suffered a stroke in his Williamsville home on Dec. 24, 2020. He was recovering from brain surgery in a rehab facility when he tested positive for Covid-19. He died in Buffalo General Medical Center at age 89. Read more

Behind-the-scenes entertainment workers left behind as 'business disappears overnight': The Covid-19 pandemic has left behind-the-scenes workers, including stagehands, production staff, riggers, roadies, lighting and sound technicians, unemployed for nearly a year – and counting. Read more

Jake McCabe, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder return to Sabres after bout with Covid-19: The Buffalo Sabres moved closer to full strength Monday morning with three more players removed from the National Hockey League's Covid-19 protocol list. Read more

Big 4 basketball teams face schedule disparities as conference tournaments near: Of the seven active men’s and women’s Division I basketball programs in Western New York, only five have reached the 13-game threshold to qualify for NCAA Tournament consideration. Read more

UB men's basketball game at Eastern Michigan postponed by Covid-19 issues: The University at Buffalo men's basketball game at Eastern Michigan on Tuesday has been postponed because of Covid-19 issues within the Eastern Michigan program. Read more

The Editorial Board: 'No excuses' for Cuomo's slow response on nursing home deaths: "It’s always a mistake to fudge – or even appear to fudge – figures such as these. Cuomo is paying a price," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 14

Pandemic Lessons: Is it safe to go outside and play?: In this “Pandemic Lessons,” we offer advice from doctors and scientists on how to do winter right – and why you should do it at all. Read more

State's vaccination website swarmed after eligibility is expanded: More than 500,000 people had used the "Am I Eligible" tool by 9 a.m. Sunday, and more than 100,000 appointments had been booked by noon, according to the state Health Department. Read more

How will WNY fare in the race between vaccines and coronavirus variants?: The Buffalo News spoke with doctors and experts about what to expect as the variants proliferate across the U.S. Read more

State seeks permission to cancel assessments for grades 3-8, some Regents exams: If successful, this would be the second consecutive year the assessments were canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Lessons from Florida's Covid-19 vaccination system: preregistration, callbacks and texts: Florida and New York, with similarly sized populations, offer a comparison in how states have approached distributing vaccinations differently. Read more

Tim O'Shei: We thought we did everything right. My 15-year-old still got Covid: Reporter Tim O'Shei has been reporting on the pandemic for months from the ground, always telling someone else’s story. When his daughter caught the coronavirus, the story became his own. Read more

Rasmus Dahlin, Ralph Krueger return to Sabres practice: With Taylor Hall returning Saturday and Rasmus Dahlin back Sunday, the Sabres still have seven players on the Covid-19 protocol list – including the top defense pair of Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe. Read more

Inside the Sabres: Mental health an area of focus during the pandemic: Mental health awareness has moved to the forefront as Sabres players, coaches and staff endure daily Covid-19 tests, quarantines, time away from loved ones and the disruption of treasured routines. Read more

The Editorial Board: Bringing fans back to KeyBank Center will be test of keeping indoor venues safe: "New York State’s plan to start bringing back fans into large sports venues such as KeyBank Center is a bit like a 'learn to skate' class," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: As Ontario emerges from a lockdown, U.S. must prioritize reopening border: "It’s a goal very much worth pursuing, but we have to recognize that there will be speed bumps along the way," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 13

Erie County: Hospitals will be given vaccines to give to patients with comorbidities: Erie County is giving next week's allocation of Covid-19 vaccines directly to hospitals so that they can give it to the patients they identify as needing them most, the Erie County Heath Department announced Saturday. Read more

Sean Kirst: A barber whose Buffalo life was one long Valentine's Day, with 'Mariu': On this Valentine's Day, a widow remembers the 60-year love story that ended when Covid-19 stole the love of her life. Read more

Analysis: GOP – and some Dems – pile on Cuomo after nursing home disclosure: Republicans – and even some Democrats – were fired into a frenzy this week when they seemed to sense a major vulnerability in the governor, writes Robert J. McCarthy. Read more

Bank on Buffalo to 

lift lobby restrictions: Bank on Buffalo's branches will return to normal operations Tuesday, and a new branch in Amherst will join its ranks. Read more

Taylor Hall back with Sabres after quarantining as result of positive Covid-19 test: Hall, a 29-year-old former Hart Trophy winner, tested positive for Covid-19 and was added to the protocol list along with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen when the Sabres were temporarily shut down Feb. 2. Read more

Inside the NHL: Rapid testing, family spread are the current points of emphasis: The only way for the league to get through the pandemic season is to take the time and spend the money for rapid testing on game days, Mike Harrington says. Read more

Feb. 12

State extends closing time for bars, restaurants to 11 p.m.: One could almost hear the sound of clinking glasses as restaurateurs and bar owners welcomed the new 11 p.m. closing time announced Friday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. "It's a step in the right direction," said Ellie Grenauer, who co-owns the Glen Park Tavern in Williamsville. Read more

9.4% in WNY have received Covid-19 vaccine, as state discloses regional figures: The state Health Department has added regional vaccination figures to its online Covid-19 tracker for the first time. Read more

Cuomo meets with Biden as Pelosi touts New York aid windfall: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who's been demanding $15 billion in federal aid to cover the state's budget gap, met with President Biden on the issue Friday. Read more

A 600-mile journey from Buffalo in search of one thing: a Covid vaccine: Elementary school librarian Kristin Sommer is one of a growing number of anxious New Yorkers combing the state, and its 55,000 square miles, in search of a lifesaving shot in the arm. Read more

Shorthanded Sabres to receive reinforcements as Covid list remains at 9 players: Barring any disruptions related to Covid-19, the team will host the New York Islanders in KeyBank Center on Monday night. Read more

Feb. 11

Judge rules against BTF, says Buffalo schools can stay open: The Buffalo Teachers Federation on Thursday lost its court battle to halt in-person instruction in the city's schools. Read more

WNY coronavirus numbers keep falling as positive rate drops to 3.5%: The state announced Thursday that Western New York's seven-day average positive Covid-19 test rate is 3.51%, which represents a drop of more than 5% in just over a month and marks the five-county region's lowest average rate since the first week of November 2020.

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Infirm nuns wait for Covid-19 shots after 6 die at Cheektowaga convent: Hundreds of elderly nuns living in congregate settings in Western New York have yet to be vaccinated for Covid-19, raising fears that the virus will spread unchecked in area motherhouses. Read more

Michael T. Roth, 55, active with Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Team: Michael T. Roth, of Marilla, died Feb. 7, 2021, in South Buffalo Mercy Hospital after being hospitalized for 39 days with Covid-19. He was 55. Read more

Steve Smith running Sabres' show while club awaits word on Ralph Krueger's status: In one of the most difficult times in franchise history – with nine players sidelined because of either positive tests for the virus or as close contacts – Smith has been running practices in KeyBank Center with a skeleton crew. Read more

The Editorial Board: Governments must smooth the systems for scheduling Covid-19 immunizations: "It won’t suffice to have millions of doses at the ready if New Yorkers can’t figure out how to get their shots," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 10

Cuomo decision on reopening large venues could be good news for Sabres:Citing what he called the "unparalleled success" of fans attending Bills playoff games in January, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state's large arenas would be permitted to again host events starting Feb. 23. Read more

Curfew is back: Judge reinstates 10 p.m. shutdown for bars, restaurants that won court order: Five days after more than 90 local bars and restaurants won a temporary restraining order to stay open past 10 p.m., an appellate court judge has stayed that order. Read more

How are first Covid-19 vaccine doses allotted in Western New York? It's hard to say: With vaccine supply constricted, the question of where new, first doses are being sent in Western New York remains a big – and largely unanswered – one. Read more

Rod Watson: Cuomo's act proves there is much less behind the curtain than meets the eye: "Put it all together, and it’s a trail of reversals and modifications that raise questions about our early confidence that the Wizard really had the answers to help us overcome the pandemic," writes Rod Watson. Read more

Politics likely to shrink proposal to bring hundreds of millions in federal aid to WNY: Buffalo, other municipalities and the state are likely to get generous assists from Washington in filling pandemic-inspired budget holes when the Democratic Congress finishes work on the stimulus effort in the next few weeks, but it is too soon to know exactly how generous. Read more

Federal aid bill would send $792 million to Buffalo Niagara: The City of Buffalo would receive an estimated $324 million. The Erie County government would get an estimated $180 million, while Niagara County would get $41 million. Rep. Brian Higgins said the aid would fix the fiscal problems that state and local governments have faced due to shrinking tax revenues and exploding costs amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

With eye toward future, Sabres not blaming NHL or Devils for Covid-19 pause: There were no signs of anger when Jack Eichel, Kyle Okposo and Colin Miller spoke to the media Wednesday. The three veteran Sabres players reminded the media that the NHL, much like governing bodies across the globe, is adjusting its efforts to prevent the virus from spreading. Read more

The Editorial Board: The adults show up as two judges counter challenges to pandemic curfew: "It was encouraging that more responsible courts understood the need for leaders to make difficult decisions during a public health crisis," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

The Editorial Board: Federal aid and child allowance proposals would bring needed emergency aid: "As the virus does not distinguish between red states and blue, neither should the federal response," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 9

Cuomo: White House vaccine supply to states will increase by additional 5%: The federal supply of coronavirus vaccines will increase an additional 5% over the next three weeks, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said during a Tuesday afternoon conference call with reporters. Read more

Half-million Erie County residents now qualify for vaccine. But can they get it?: Another 10 million New Yorkers eligible for the vaccine are vying for a supply of 300,000 doses per week. In Erie County, that could mean that more than half the population is now eligible for the vaccine, according to County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Read more

Biden move will send vaccine to community health centers: A limited number of federally qualified health centers in the nation's poorest communities will soon begin receiving Covid-19 vaccines directly from the U.S. government, the Biden administration announced Tuesday, thereby doing exactly what the leaders of such centers in Buffalo had been asking federal officials to do in recent weeks. Read more

Erie County expands eligibility for free Covid-19 testing: Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said new equipment at the Public Health Lab has increased the county's daily capacity to perform PCR diagnostic testing. Read more

Reed goes to Albany to criticize Cuomo on Covid-19 nursing home controversy: Critics, such as U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, blame a Cuomo administration order last spring that required nursing homes to admit Covid-19-positive patients coming from hospitals for the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents. Read more

At the current rate, it would take 15 months to vaccinate Western New York: If the pace doesn't ramp up, the region will not fully immunize its 1.1 million adults until almost May of next year, according to a Buffalo News analysis of state vaccination data. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: How much freedom does Covid-19 immunity give you?: As vaccination eligibility expands in New York, we explore what you should and shouldn’t do when you have that immunity. Read more

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams: Guidance from NHL led to decision to play Devils: During a 25-minute news conference Tuesday, Adams fielded questions about the circumstances that led to the Sabres’ temporary shutdown. Read more

Temporary closing of YMCA swim clubs irks parents as pandemic goes on: Parents say that they are looking for other area clubs that have resumed operations to give their children a chance to swim competitively without having to wait another seven months or more. Read more

Roost owner stands behind menu with sexually graphic depiction of Cuomo: When Roost owner Martin Danilowicz published his restaurant’s new brunch menu Saturday night, it got more attention than usual on social media. Read more

Feb. 8

'There will be a crush' of vaccine appointments for pre-existing conditions: New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions will be able to start making appointments to receive Covid-19 vaccinations Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday. But state officials warned – as has already been the case with those seeking a limited supply of vaccines – that the process will not be smooth. Read more

Pandemic turns parents into virtual spectators of high school sports: The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted high school sports all year. And while winter sports have resumed, no spectators are allowed. Read more

Two more Sabres games postponed after Rasmus Dahlin added to Covid-19 list: The Buffalo Sabres’ plan to return to work early this week may have hit a snag Monday. Read more

UB men's basketball games postponed due to Covid-19 protocols: UB's games this week against Western Michigan and at Central Michigan have been postponed due to Covid-19 protocols in the opposing programs. Read more

Niagara men's basketball on pause due to Covid-19 positive test: The Niagara University athletic department announced the pause Monday after a Tier 1 member of the program tested positive. Read more

Feb. 7

Covid-19 hospitalizations, positive test rates fall below pre-holiday levels: You would have to rewind to Thanksgiving Day to find a lower percentage of Western New Yorkers hospitalized for the virus, and to the first week of November to find a seven-day average positive test rate lower than the 4.1% for the region, according to the state's coronavirus data released Sunday. Read more

A crystallization lab in Buffalo is at center of global war against coronavirus: A group of scientists on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has spent the last year using biology and X-ray technology to help fellow researchers foil the novel coronavirus. Read more

U.S.-Canadian border shutdown is keeping couples apart – and breaking hearts: "I remember those first weeks thinking: OK, well, we'll just give it a couple of weeks, and it's going to be OK; this can't last that long," Elizabeth Switzer said. "And then it just kept going and going and going." Read more

Sabres faced with uncertain restart after adding eighth player to Covid-19 protocol list: Forward Casey Mittelstadt was added to the National Hockey League’s Covid-19 protocol list Sunday. It remains unclear whether the team will be able to return to work in time to host the Capitals on Thursday and Saturday. Read more

Feb. 6

10 p.m. curfew remains sticking point for most area bars, restaurants: More than 90 area restaurants, bars, taverns and strip clubs have permission to keep their doors open this Super Bowl Sunday past the state's 10 p.m. curfew. Read more

Half of all WNY Covid deaths were nursing home residents, new state data shows: Nearly 260 Western New Yorkers contracted Covid-19 in a nursing home but died at a hospital, the state said Saturday in detailing for the first time the full extent of the coronavirus' toll on those residents. Read more

Sabres' Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar added to NHL's Covid protocol list: The total number of Sabres on the list is now at seven as the two forwards are joined by Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Jake McCabe and Tobias Rieder. The team announced Thursday that coach Ralph Krueger tested positive for Covid-19 and immediately entered the NHL's protocols. Read more

Inside the NHL: Teams could use a pause to beef up Covid protocols: "What everyone connected to the NHL needs to do right now is take a deep breath," writes Mike Harrington. Read more

How to make a Covid-19 vaccine appointment in Western New York: Vaccine-eligible people have been able to make appointments to get inoculated, but limited vaccine supply means many will be waiting for some time. Read more

Feb. 5

Cuomo reverses course, announces vaccine eligibility for those with comorbidities: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who last month raised the hopes of chronically ill New Yorkers by saying those with compromised immune systems could be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations, offered details Friday. Read more

Cuomo to hospitals with low staff vaccination rates: Use – or lose – your doses: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has repeatedly chastised hospitals with low staff vaccination rates, said Friday that the facilities have one more week to administer their allocation of the coronavirus vaccine before those doses are transferred to people with comorbidities. Read more

Judge temporarily lifts 10 p.m. curfew for bars, restaurants that sued New York State: Justice Timothy J. Walker, in his ruling, said the businesses demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their claims and that they would suffer irreparable harm unless the state was restrained from enforcing its restaurant curfew directive. Read more

Here are the bars and restaurants no longer under the 10 p.m. curfew: The group of business owners filed the initial suit two weeks ago seeking to end the state-ordered closing time. Read more

Buffalo teachers tell of mice and filth but judge reserves decision on halting in-school classes: A judge reserved judgment on the Buffalo Teachers Federation’s request for a preliminary injunction to halt in-person instruction in the city's schools. Read more

Pop-up vaccine clinics try to fill gaps, but community doctors say they can do it better: Two prominent doctors who serve Buffalo's poorest neighborhoods want to distribute vaccines instead of the state's pop-up clinics. Read more

WGRZ's Maryalice Demler delivers rare apology after political comment sparked criticism: Demler’s apology came after she took a shot at the Cuomo administration’s handling of the coronavirus vaccine program in New York pertaining to those with immune system issues. Read more

Clarence mom starts company that prevents foggy glasses while wearing a mask: Vanessa Snowden counts herself among those who started making masks for friends and family after the coronavirus pandemic started last spring. She also is among the six in 10 Americans who wear glasses, so has learned firsthand about the oft-strained relationship between spectacles and facial coverings, especially in winter. Read more

No new Sabres added to NHL's Covid protocol list but Devils' total hits 17: The Buffalo Sabres did not have any additions to the NHL's Covid-19 protocol list for the first time in three days, still leaving them with five players listed. Read more

Amerks' coach Seth Appert forced to adjust ahead of AHL season opener: Jack Quinn, the Sabres’ most recent first-round draft pick, won’t make his Amerks debut until he serves a mandatory quarantine, the result of him being on the taxi squad during the New Jersey Devils’ trip to Buffalo last weekend. Read more

Feb. 4

School break travelers still must quarantine on return, even if vaccinated: New York State regulations requiring quarantines when travelers return to the state are still in effect, unchanged even for those who have been vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. Read more

Covid-19 vaccines for people under 65 with serious medical conditions still on hold: A growing number of states have put people under age 65 and with serious health conditions onto the vaccine eligibility list and are providing them with the shots. But not New York. Read more

280 Buffalo police officers receive Covid-19 vaccinations: Mark Sullivan, CEO of Catholic Health, said that organization also has vaccinated members of other local law enforcement agencies. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: What can we learn from the NFL about keeping safe?: This installment explores what the NFL learned and explains how individuals, schools, athletic teams and workplaces can apply some of those practices as the state lifts zone restrictions. Read more

As Sabres' Ralph Krueger and Jake McCabe enter Covid protocol, NHL tightens reins: The Sabres' season was put on pause by the NHL on Tuesday and their next four games have been postponed. Read more

Canisius College women's basketball ends season due to Covid-19, safety concerns: The Canisius women’s basketball team will discontinue the remainder of season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and due to health and safety concerns. Read more

The Editorial Board: Health Department should immediately comply with ruling on nursing home deaths: "If Cuomo or health officials do any further stalling on providing nursing home data, they will only be digging themselves a deeper political hole." Read more

Another Voice: Covid-19 vaccine will pave safe path back to normalcy: "When the time comes, I hope everyone else makes the same decision and rolls up their sleeve," Dr. Wesley L. Hicks Jr. says. Read more

Feb. 3

BTF's lawsuit claims calls for Covid-19 safety information went unanswered: At the heart of the Buffalo Teachers Federation’s lawsuit to stop Buffalo schools from reopening: an email that union president Phil Rumore sent to the school district in mid-October. Rumore sent the email requesting information on Oct. 14 and asked the district to provide the information by Nov. 4. That did not happen, the union says in court documents. Read more

More signs of Covid-19 progress as WNY closes out its second-deadliest month: Western New York is entering its third straight week of declines in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, a heartening trend in what has proved a brutal, and deadly, second wave. Read more

ARX Sciences wins grant to manufacture Covid-19 supplies for NYS: The life sciences company, headquartered in Amherst, has been awarded a $200,000 grant to produce supplies needed in the fight against Covid-19. Read more

Tobias Rieder, Brandon Montour added to Sabres' Covid-19 list; Wild outbreak lists six: Rieder and Montour join winger Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen as Sabres who have been deemed unavailable to play by the league due to the Covid-19 protocols. Read more

The Sabres on pause: Where things stand: Here's a rundown of some key questions and answers surrounding the Buffalo Sabres, whose season was put on pause Tuesday by the NHL. Read more

Sabres prospect Jack Quinn's Amerks debut on hold because of quarantine: Jack Quinn won’t be on the ice in Rochester when the Amerks open their season Friday night in Blue Cross Arena. Read more

NWHL suspends its season due to Covid-19 concerns on eve of playoffs: The National Women's Hockey League had been attempting a bubble season over a two-week period in Lake Placid, but suspended its season Wednesday. Read more

National Lacrosse League cancels plans for season: The Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks, both owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, are members of the NLL. Read more

State cancels all public school spring sports championships: Section VI announced last week that it would not take part in state championships in the spring in order to allow for a longer season for competition within the area. Read more

The Editorial Board: WNYers need to keep Super Bowl gatherings small to avoid new outbreaks: "The typical post-Super Bowl hangover results from drinking too much. A Covid-19 hangover in Western New York would have much deadlier and longer lasting consequences," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Feb. 2

Local leaders frustrated with 'scattershot

method' to vaccine rollout: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top-down approach to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has become a sore spot for local government leaders who have seen their own vaccination rollout plans shelved. They complain about poor communication and short-term planning from state officials. Read more

'It's become The Hunger Games': As vaccine demand outstrips supply, teachers miss out: With 7 million people now on the eligible list for vaccinations in New York and limited supplies available, teachers and school staff are scrambling to get the vaccine. Read more

Cuomo: Restaurant workers now eligible for vaccine; federal supply increases: Cuomo said the federal government is increasing its Covid-19 vaccine supply to states by about 5% and will also send additional doses directly to pharmacies as part of a new program. Read more

'We’re hurting for our patients': Nurses trying to stay focused as Covid-19 challenges persist: As the Covid-19 pandemic grinds through its 11th month, its effects on American life can be seen everywhere. But nowhere does the personal toll seem greater than in the lives and in the words of nurses. Read more

Unapproved by FDA, Ivermectin useful as Covid-19 treatment, local doctors say: Some Western New York physicians are using Ivermectin as part of the arsenal of drugs to combat a virus that has killed more than 430,000 Americans. Read more

Niagara County sees sharp drop in active Covid-19 cases: The Niagara County Health Department reported 1,183 active cases of Covid-19 in the county Tuesday. That's the lowest figure in two months, since it reported 1,131 active cases on Dec. 2. Read more

'We're hurting': Restaurant owners eager to hear details of $25B grant proposal: Restaurants in Buffalo – and nationwide – will get some of the financial aid that they have been seeking in the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan being crafted by Congress, a source close to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday. Read more

Shutdown Showcase, a band-aid for a bruised Buffalo music scene: "Band Together Buffalo’s Shutdown Showcase is neither fish nor fowl at first glance, precisely because nothing quite like it has been attempted around here," writes Jeff Miers. Read more

A 'ray of sunshine' from Iroquois High School pays it forward through pandemic: Emily Gordon, 17, earned her Girl Scout Gold Award by volunteering with dementia patients in the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church's Respite Care program. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Emily still found ways to enhance and improve the experiences of patients in the program. Read more

Bank of America distributes Covid-19 bonuses to employees: Bank of America is distributing compensation awards to thank its employees for their work during the past year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. About 97% of the bank's employees worldwide will benefit. Read more

Sabres' season put on pause until next week as Hall, Ristolainen land on Covid-19 list: The Sabres had their next four games postponed Tuesday by the NHL, with three of them wiped out late in the afternoon after winger Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were placed on the league's Covid-19 protocol list. Read more

High school notebook: Shortage of basketball officials a concern; BPS hoops begin Thursday: Larry Jones, Section VI boys basketball chairman, acknowledged that a number of officials have opted out for the season due to Covid-19 concerns. On the girls’ side, Section VI Girls Basketball Chairman Chris Durr said 40 have opted out or can’t officiate. Read more

Canisius men's basketball series at Rider postponed due to Covid-19: The Golden Griffins (3-3, 3-3 MAAC) haven't played a game since Jan. 2, when they completed a series sweep against Saint Peter's. Read more

St. Bonaventure basketball postponed due to Covid-19 issues: In a statement Tuesday, Bona said the game was postponed "out of an abundance of caution with Covid-19 protocols." Saint Joseph's also announced that the game was postponed due to the Covid-19 protocols that apply to the Hawks' Tier 1 personnel, which includes athletes, coaches, trainers, medical staff and officials. Read more

Feb. 1

With first day over, when will more Buffalo students return to school? The first day of school came and went despite a lawsuit filed by the Buffalo Teachers Federation trying to block schools from reopening due to health and safety concerns. Read more

'It's a gift I can give': Woman helps elderly loved ones find vaccines: Since signing up family members for Covid-19 vaccine appointments weeks ago, Kathleen Riley has been trying to help as many people as she can to sign up for appointments of their own. Read more

Judge denies Buffalo teachers union bid to block school reopening: State Supreme Court Justice Emilio Colaiacovo did, however, schedule a hearing for Friday morning for both sides to present the facts regarding the safety measures in place in the schools and the possibility that reopening could cause irreparable harm to teachers. Read more

St. Francis High School closes after 18 cases of Covid-19: The cases include 14 students and four staff members who had positive tests in January, according to the Erie County Health Department. Read more

'It saved me': Small WNY businesses turn to fundraising site to survive: In the wake of the pandemic and state-mandated closures, businesses and their fans are increasingly turning to GoFundMe campaigns to raise the money that they need to see them through these turbulent times. Read more

NFTA says 'No mask, no ride,' but doesn't expect problems: The new federal order mandating mask use applies to all passengers using intercity buses, trains and airplanes, as well as those riding public transit. Read more

Buffalo's indoor ice rinks reopen under Covid-19 safety guidelines: Buffalo’s three indoor ice rinks – Bud Bakewell Rink at Riverside Park, Lafayette Ice Rink on Tacoma Avenue and Timothy J. Burvid Rink at Cazenovia Park – reopened Monday for practices and games. Read more

Need a driver's permit? Soon you may be able to take the New York written test at home: The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated many technological changes, and another is on its way in the coming weeks: online testing for those seeking a Class D New York’s driver’s permit. Read more

Virtual events for February: concerts, classes and reptiles: FaceTime with zoo animals, textile arts classes and youth writing workshops are among the many virtual events to enjoy in Western New York in February. Read more

Devils shut down by Covid-19 outbreak after back-to-back games in Buffalo: The National Hockey League announced Monday afternoon that 10 New Jersey Devils players are now on the team's Covid-19 protocol list, and five of them appeared in games against the Buffalo Sabres. Read more

Jan. 31

Buffalo students, parents prepare for an unusual first day of school: In anticipation of this unusual first day back, The Buffalo News talked with a Buffalo mother and two students. Philip Marcello is a high school senior at Frederick Law Olmsted 156 and Anya Garcia is a senior at Riverside Academy, while Brittany Bandinelli is a mother of three Lovejoy Discovery School students. Read more

Cuomo: Black hospital workers shunning vaccine at greater rate than whites, Latinos: Cuomo said African Americans accounted for just 10% of vaccine recipients in hospitals statewide, even though 17% of all hospital staff are Black. Read more

SUNY to open second Covid-19 testing lab at UB South Campus: The UB testing lab, set to open in March, will enable the State University of New York to process about 350,000 Covid-19 tests per week, up from the current 200,000, and will allow the system to test students weekly instead of every other week. Read more

Albion nursing home hit with biggest federal Covid-19 fine in New York State: A $66,632 fine against the Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center nursing home for Covid-19-related violations represents the largest federal penalty issued against a long-term care facility in New York State. Read more

Buffalo Niagara will be different after Covid-19. Are we ready to turn change into opportunity?: "It is impossible to say exactly what the Buffalo Niagara economy will look like when the Covid-19 pandemic ends. But it is certain to be very different," writes David Robinson. Read more

Canisius basketball postponed due to positive Covid-19 test: The Canisius athletic department announced Sunday morning that its scheduled men's basketball game on Sunday at the Koessler Atheltic Center was postponed due to a positive test among the Golden Griffins' Tier 1 personnel, which includes athletes, coaches, trainers, officials and managers. Read more

Jan. 30

What Buffalo parents need to know about returning to classroom amid teacher lawsuit: For the first time since the local Covid-19 health crisis began last March, some students in Buffalo will be phased back into the classroom on Monday, starting with those in grades pre-K through second, high school seniors and up to 100 kids from each building identified with the highest needs. Read more

Lawsuit on reopening is latest salvo from longtime Buffalo teachers union head: The longtime president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation takes a tough bargaining position in contract negotiations and isn't afraid to turn to the courts. Read more

Family mourns too-soon death of 45-year-old Tonawanda man from Covid: "I would not want to see another family go through what we went through," Bill Cline said of the death of his son, Derek. Read more

Inside the Bills: Behind the scenes of how team navigated its way through Covid-19 protocols: "You know that pit-in-your-stomach feeling as you wait for medical test results? Try experiencing that every day for about six months," writes Jay Skurski. Read more

Sweet Home school board approves high-risk sports season for winter: "We're ready to get started and allow these kids to do what they love to do," Sweet Home boys basketball coach Brandon Woods said. Read more

Jan. 29

Schools to reopen Monday in Buffalo as BTF awaits hearing on lawsuit: Amid a pandemic and now a lawsuit, Buffalo Public Schools will reopen Monday. Read more

Testing at Bills playoff games helps weddings return to New York: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Friday that weddings could resume in New York State on March 15, with certain restrictions and testing procedures. And he cited the Buffalo Bills as part of the reason they are able to return. Read more

County political appointees got over $1.3 million in pandemic overtime: Among all county employees, 1,226 staffers received $5.9 million in overtime related to the new coronavirus health crisis last year. Read more 

Lawmakers press Biden to loosen border restrictions: Six days after President Biden issued an executive order calling for the U.S. and Canada to develop joint plans for managing the border amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the letter from the border-region lawmakers also proposed several other suggestions for how to do that. Read more

Niagara Falls Memorial resumes patient visitation: Only one visitor will be allowed per patient at any one time, and all visitors must sign in at the front desk and be screened for possible Covid-19 infection. Anyone with Covid-19-like symptoms or who is under quarantine will be barred. Read more

Once the pandemic eases, how to prepare Buffalo Niagara for the new normal: Change is coming. We asked a smattering of Buffalo Niagara leaders as part of Prospectus 2021 what the region needs to do to be ready for it. Read more

Mental health providers cope through the pandemic while helping others: “Working in the mental health field is stressful for all the reasons that you can imagine – what you get exposed to, burnout. But this has been exceedingly different.” Read more

Tips to better cope with pandemic stress, and where to find extra support: Addressing stress that comes with the coronavirus pandemic can help you better adapt in such uncertain times. Read more

Parents, students on edge over youth sports can find refuge with Project Play WNY: Children on average spent 6.5 fewer hours each week on sports in 2020 than during a more typical year. Read more

Room reshuffle: For many, the pandemic has changed our homes: Spending more time at home during the pandemic has forced many people to reevaluate their living spaces to adjust to life during the Covid-19 era. Read more

Canisius men's basketball team returns to court after Covid-19 pause: The men’s team is set to host Quinnipiac at 1 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Koessler Athletic Center, and the women are scheduled to play at Manhattan at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Read more

The Editorial Board: With misleading figures, Cuomo hurt crucial efforts, opened himself to vitriol: "As a matter of transparency, New York state should have counted nursing home deaths from Covid-19 the common-sense way. If a nursing home resident dies from the virus, whether they die at the nursing home or in a hospital, they get counted," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: Cancel state tests for the sake of over-stressed students: "These state tests are so problematic that many parents opted their children out of taking them even before the pandemic," writes Kathleen Brown. Read more

Jan. 28

New York says pharmacies, not counties, must vaccinate people 65 and older: County governments are not only required to focus on a narrower list of essential workers for vaccination, but could face penalties if they attempt to vaccinate people who aren't on that list, said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. Read more

AG: State may have undercounted nursing home Covid-19 deaths by 50%: Attorney General Letitia James said the undercounting was caused by the State Health Department not counting infected nursing home residents who died after they were transferred to hospitals and inaccurate reporting of Covid-19 deaths by some nursing homes. Read more

Teachers heading to court to block Buffalo schools from reopening: The announcement from the Buffalo Teachers Federation president, Philip Rumore, came shortly after union leaders met with district officials for two to three hours Thursday afternoon to discuss health and safety concerns being raised at some of the school buildings. Read more

State shared no info on UK variant case with Niagara County, Stapleton says: "We don't do that testing for the variant. That's done by the state," Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said Thursday. Read more

Could Rotary Rink return to ice skating this season?: The state's newly loosened pandemic restrictions may mean downtown Buffalo's Rotary Rink can open for skating for the first time this winter. Read more 

ECIDA doubles special grant fund for businesses to buy PPE: The Erie County Industrial Development Agency has doubled the size of its Covid-19 emergency funding program to help businesses invest in personal protective equipment and safety improvements, saying the need still exists and the current allocation is almost used up. Read more

Buffalo Place plans for summer concerts at Fountain Plaza: It's late January, and the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging, but one of downtown's biggest promoters is starting to think ahead to summer – with hope. Read more

Erie County grand jury recommences for second time since start of Covid-19 pandemic: District Attorney John J. Flynn said it is the second time that the grand jury in Erie County has recommenced after the Office of Court Administration ordered that non-essential, in-person court procedures be postponed as a result of the increase in Covid-19 positive cases in New York State. Read more 

Bills, rest of NFL adjust to Covid-19-driven scouting restrictions: For NFL teams, scouting during a pandemic is, like so many other things, decidedly different. Read more

Section VI moves wrestling to spring season: The decision was made following a meeting of the Section VI Executive Council, which came a day after the health departments for all the counties in which Section VI had membership recommended postponing or canceling the wrestling season. Read more

Section VI plans to crown spring champs, but won't send them to state tournament: In order to give area athletes a chance at having as complete a spring high school sports season as possible, Section VI said Thursday that it will not participate in New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournaments. Read more

Buffalo Public Schools set to let varsity basketball return: Cecelie Owens, the Buffalo Public Schools’ assistant superintendent for health and physical education/director of athletics, confirmed to The Buffalo News that the city will let its schools participate in boys and girls basketball this winter. Read more

With flurry of games getting postponed, how Big Four schools are dealing with details: When Tom Fox learned that the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team paused activities in mid-December due to positive Covid-19 tests in its program, the first thing he did was pick up his cellphone. Read more

Metropolitan Riveters withdraw from NWHL season after positive tests: The Riveters were scheduled to play the Buffalo Beauts on Thursday. Read more

Prospectus: Once the pandemic eases, how to prepare Buffalo Niagara for the new normal: The path for the Buffalo Niagara economy as the pandemic eases is likely to be quite different from the path it was on before the outbreak, when much of the talk still centered on the region's nascent renaissance. We asked a smattering of Buffalo Niagara leaders what the region needs to do to be ready for for the changes. Read more

Prospectus: David Robinson: A different look for the post-Covid Buffalo Niagara economy: There are hopeful signs that the Covid-19 recession is losing its grip on the Buffalo Niagara economy. Maybe not right away. But, hopefully, soon. Read more

Prospectus: Barbara O'Brien: Five ways education may change after Covid-19: Covid-19 forced everyone, from students to teachers to administrators, to step out of their comfort zones, and learning will never be the same. Read more

Prospectus: Covid-19 workplace safety measures will be around for a while: Whether a business tweaked its practices on its own or because it was required by the state, Covid-19-mitigating features at work and in public places don't seem to be going anywhere for now. Read more

Prospectus: Jay Tokasz: Colleges and universities won't easily shrug off pandemic's impact: As bad as last year was for the bottom lines of most colleges and universities, fiscal damage inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic on higher education is expected to linger long after the virus is under control. Read more

Prospectus: Samantha Christmann: Five ways Covid-19 will transform retail in 2021: Even in the best of times, there's no crystal ball to tell the future. But now, with the major disruption Covid-19 has dealt every aspect of life and business, it is harder than ever to make predictions. One thing is for sure: Covid-19 will keep transforming retail and consumer life. The only real question is how, and how much. Read more

Prospectus: Scott Scanlon: WNY health care focuses on Covid-19 and a whole lot more: Covid-19 continues to disrupt and change the ways health care is delivered across the region. It sped the march toward greater use of telehealth and brought more mobile health units into neighborhoods where lack of transportation is most pronounced. It forged closer relationships between health care teams often inclined to stay in their own professional lanes in different hospital systems, universities and individual practices. It slowed, but failed to stop, unrelated research. Read more

Jan. 27

Cuomo lifts 'orange' and 'yellow' zones for Erie, Niagara counties: The "orange" and "yellow" zones in Erie and Niagara counties have been lifted – but that doesn't mean a return to normal. Read more

Cuomo: More cases of UK variant of Covid-19 found across New York: Additional cases of the United Kingdom variant of the Covid-19 virus have been found across New York State, bringing the total number of cases to 42. Read more

Instead of opening new vaccination sites, Erie County forced to cancel clinics: Once more vaccine is received, those who have had their appointments canceled will be given priority for new appointments in February. Read more

Federal moves won't immediately alleviate vaccine shortages: While the money will not alleviate the current vaccine shortage in New York, it will cover costs for vaccine transport, storage, handling and administration in the months ahead. Read more

Here's what lifting of cluster zones means for WNY businesses and houses of worship: Businesses lifted out of the orange and yellow zones will revert to the statewide rules that were in place before they entered cluster zones, and must adhere to health department and NY Forward rules. Read more

Erie County school districts no longer have to test for Covid, but Buffalo will anyway: Schools in Erie County and Niagara County are no longer required to do mass testing of students and staff, following the lifting of the state's orange zone and yellow zone restrictions in Western New York. Read more

Border closure wreaks havoc with Buffalo Niagara's binational bridges: Bridge and tunnel operators across the northern border have been hit hard not only in the loss of tolls, but significant revenues from duty-free shops that stem mainly from cars. Read more

Covid-19 case counts are falling, but the future is still unclear: While there are significant signs of progress statewide, new threats could threaten or even erase those gains in the months to come. Read more

For the first time in months, no Covid-19 outbreaks in Erie County nursing homes: "Covid cases within nursing homes may follow Covid rates in the community, and we have seen a slow but steady downward trend in our new daily case totals and positivity rates," a Health Department spokeswoman said. Read more

Fired nursing director ordered to comply with investigation into 23 Covid deaths at Villages of Orleans: State Supreme Court Justice Mark A. Montour said Debra Ann Donnelly must produce any documents she has and answer questions under oath. Read more

Niagara women's basketball pauses activities again due to positive Covid-19 test: Niagara first paused activities Dec. 9 due to a positive Covid-19 test among its Tier 1 personnel. Niagara’s second pause began Jan. 5, when another Tier 1 individual tested positive for Covid-19. Read more

High school wrestling season in limbo after health departments urge delay or cancellation: State officials and the state Department of Health on Friday issued guidelines for allowing high-risk sports in New York to begin their seasons Feb. 1. Read more

The Editorial Board: Two new CDC reports should help as Buffalo aims to restart classes Monday: "The Centers for Disease Control and Infection offered a pandemic report that must be timely for parents, teachers and students as the Buffalo School District prepares to reopen on Monday." Read more

Another Voice: It is essential for us all to embrace the Covid-19 vaccine: The vaccines are the pathway to safety and health for all of us. Let us get our children back to school and our economy back on track, Dr. Thomas Cozza says. Read more

Jan. 26

Cuomo may ease 'orange zone' restrictions, but lawyers got there first: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to roll back some of the highly restrictive "orange zone" designations that have been in place in Erie County since November. But frustrated local businesses and athletic organizations haven't been waiting on Cuomo's goodwill. Read more

In the face of new Covid-19 strains, quality masks are more important than ever: The medical community is doubling down on the recommendation to wear face masks in public because the coronavirus has mutated and more strains are floating around. Read more

Buffalo Niagara jobless rate rises to 7.5% as 'orange zone' limits take a toll: The December unemployment report showed that the orange zone restrictions sent a new wave of job cuts through the local economy, effectively ending a rebound in employment that had restored about three-quarters of the jobs that had been lost during the first month of the pandemic. Read more 

Bank of America's temporary branch closings leave customers wondering: As of Tuesday, 10 of Bank of America's 21 branches in the Buffalo area were temporarily closed amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Bank of America has cited a few reasons for its temporary closings, including a dropoff in customer visits to a branch, a smaller-sized location that can't accommodate physical distancing and concerns about available staffing. Read more

The Editorial Board: Keep the tests to assess the performance of New York schools: "Students who have been learning remotely for much of this school year are clearly at a disadvantage. Their scores would likely suffer compared to what they would have achieved in a normal year. In that sense, the assessments would be unfair. And, yet, this is how children are learning this year. It is important to assess what they know and where the losses are. That’s the point, after all," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more

Another Voice: ‘Single-use’ plastics are vital for ending the pandemic: "The need for plastic products during the Covid-19 pandemic has stretched well beyond the need for syringes. Plastic tubes were needed to transport tens of millions of Covid-19 tests. Plastic bottles filled with hand sanitizer became a staple in every entryway. Plastic gloves and masks kept shoppers safe while buying groceries," writes Will Coggin.

 Read more

Jan. 25

Cuomo: Elective surgery ban lifted; other Covid-19 restrictions could be loosened this week: Lifting the ban on elective surgeries at Erie County hospitals could be just the start of a loosening of pandemic-related economic restrictions now that the region's rate of Covid-19 infections has fallen from an all-time high earlier this month. Read more

Pop-up vaccination clinic does little to divert attention from vaccine shortage: "This is a prototype of what we're going to be doing," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said of the pop-up, "particularly on that day when we finally have enough supply to meet the demand." Read more

Genesee, Orleans county 'disappointed' at lack of vaccine supply: The Genesee and Orleans County health departments on Monday notified residents that the vaccine supply it had been expecting from the state would not be arriving. Read more

Gallery: Pop-up Covid-19 vaccination site: A pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic was held Monday at St. John the Baptist Church in Buffalo, as part of New York State's Commitment to Equitable Vaccine Distribution. Around 250 shots were administered. See more

State seeking to cancel 3-8 assessments, Regents exams: New York State's Education Department plans to seek a federal waiver that would eliminate the annual assessments given to third through eighth graders and Regents exams because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

BPS, teachers to meet about reopening to try to head off lawsuit: The Buffalo Teachers Federation is threatening to take legal action to stop the school district from resuming some in-person classes Monday. Read more

Mark Poloncarz, health department make recommendations for high-risk high school sports: On Monday, Poloncarz and the Erie County Department of Health issued their rules for return to play. One guideline that stands out is that travel outside of Western New York and the Finger Lakes region is “strongly discouraged.” Read more

Southtowns Santa Claus cheered kids for decades until Covid-19 took his life: For 20 years every December, Daniel Smolinski dressed up like Santa Claus and delighted thousands of children in the Southtowns. Read more

Pandemic Lessons: How do medical pros weigh whether to get vaccinated?: Cathy Papia, a registered nurse in the Buffalo General ICU, did not hesitate to get vaccinated. "I'm still at the bedside with families sobbing and crying with their dying family members on FaceTime because they can't be there.” Read more 

Books by mail is the latest effort by libraries to reach isolated patrons: The library system is tackling a new challenge, delivering physical materials to patrons Amazon style. Read more 

'Bring your own blanket' and enjoy Buffalo-area winter outdoor dining: Restaurants lucky enough to have outdoor space have come up with inventive ways to allow for socially distanced dining with at least some level of comfort. Read more

Andrew Galarneau: Give outdoor dining a shot, support your favorite WNY spots: "With traditional tailgating banned for safety reasons and the Bills' season over, my hope is that celebrants can make the jump to restaurant patios," The News' food editor says. Read more

St. Bonaventure names acting president as DePerro battles Covid-19: The university on Monday said that Joseph Zimmer, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, will serve as acting president. President Dennis DePerro tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec. 24 and has been hospitalized since Dec. 29. Read more

Josh Allen on family's battle with Covid-19: 'It's nothing to joke around with': Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen said his father, Joel, is recovering at home from a bout with Covid-19 and pneumonia. Read more

Jan. 24

WNY's Covid-19 positive rate drops below 6%: The seven-day positive rate for Western New York – which includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties – fell to just under 6% on Saturday to 5.9%, the governor’s office said Sunday. That’s the average share of Covid-19 tests that comes back positive and is a leading indicator of the pandemic’s future course. Read more

2nd WNY hospital ordered to treat Covid-19 patient with experimental drug: State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso on Friday ordered a Rochester hospital to continue Ivermectin treatments to Glenna Dickinson, 65, of Albion. Read more

Rocky rollout: Coordination issues plague start of Covid-19 vaccine distribution in WNY: The U.S. rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has proven even slower and more disjointed than public health experts predicted. Read more

Covid-19 outbreaks in state prisons prompt calls, lawsuit for releasing vulnerable inmates: Some 3,556 inmates have been released early due to the pandemic, including 791 who had their low-level parole violations canceled and 2,753 who were within 90 days of their approved release date for non-violent, non-sex offenses. Read more

David Robinson: As Covid cases rise, Buffalo Niagara job market takes a turn for the worse: "Bars and restaurants are hurting. But the rest of the local economy is stagnating." Read more

The Editorial Board: Surge in Buffalo’s graduation rates must be judged in Covid-related context: "No one accuses the school district of cooking the books, but allowances made last spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic plus the state cancellation of Regents exams made diplomas easier to come by." Read more

Jan. 23

Erie County bars, restaurants file suit to end 10 p.m. curfew: The owners of more than 80 bars and restaurants in Erie County filed a lawsuit Friday that seeks to wipe out the state-ordered, pandemic-related 10 p.m. closing time. Read more

Pop-up Covid-19 vaccine clinic opens Monday at Buffalo church: The clinic is part of a statewide effort to expand access to the vaccine in Black and Latino communities that have been hit hard by the virus, according to governor's office. Read more

Covid-19 outbreaks in state prisons prompt calls, lawsuit for releasing vulnerable inmates: Some 3,556 inmates have been released early due to the pandemic, including 791 who had their low-level parole violations canceled and 2,753 who were within 90 days of their approved release date for non-violent, non-sex offenses. Read more

Buffalo Business Blitz prepares to award funds: Plans call for awarding about 175 grants of $2,500 each to small businesses hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Josh Allen's dad to miss AFC championship game as he recovers from Covid, pneumonia: Joel Allen is recovering from the coronavirus and a bout with pneumonia that landed him in the hospital this month, according to the Los Angeles TimesRead more

The Editorial Board: Cuomo is right to seek federal aid to ease budgetary pain caused by Covid: “A once-in-a-century global pandemic has battered our state’s economy. The federal government, under the previous administration, had an uneven – and sometimes incompetent – response to controlling Covid-19. New York, which is a yearly donor state to the federal treasury, deserves every dollar it can get in federal aid in order to rebound after a year of calamity.” Read more

Jan. 22

Cuomo acknowledges vaccine 'chaos' but says he wanted to avoid panic among seniors: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo conceded Friday that the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine created "chaos," but he sought to shift the blame to the federal government. Read more

Buffalo teachers union threatens legal action to block school reopening: Eighty members of the union’s Council of Delegates voted unanimously Thursday to call on Superintendent Kriner Cash to reconsider the decision to return special education students, high school seniors and some other high-needs students to school two days a week. Read more

2nd Buffalo area nursing home worker dies from Covid-19: Adrienne K. Johnson, 60, died Dec. 20, four days after learning that he had tested positive for the virus, according to his sister, who said she believes that he was exposed to Covid-19 through his employment. Read more

While Biden calls for talks on border crossings, Trudeau tells Canadians not to travel: The Biden administration wants to work with Canada on managing the border between the two countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated Friday that Canada has no interest in broadly reopening that border anytime soon. Read more

Rethinking grades amid the pandemic: Back to the ABCs: When school reopened in September, educators sought to strike a balance between “no harm” grading policies and the need to hold students accountable for learning. Read more

'Strong financial position' has BPO operating when few other orchestras are: As the health crisis made it plain that gathering en masse was not going to be able to happen for the foreseeable future, the extended BPO family and infrastructure kicked into high gear. Read more

State says high-risk high school sports can return Feb. 1: Just as a Buffalo area law firm was planning to file a petition on behalf of those wanting the state to reclassify seven high-risk sports so that competitions could resume, the New York State Department of Health announced Friday afternoon that those sports will be allowed to return Feb. 1. Read more

Jan. 20

New York's vaccine supply 'week to week,' Cuomo says: New York's supply of the Covid-19 vaccine remains limited, with the state having only two or three days' worth of Covid-19 vaccine supply left until it gets the next weekly allocation from the federal government, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. Read more

Erie County cancels more vaccination clinics due to supply shortages: The county is scheduling no future clinics beyond this month because there's no certainty regarding how much vaccine the county will receive in future weeks. Read more

BPS 'in a position' to reopen, medical director advises: The medical director for Buffalo Public Schools has given his support to begin reopening classrooms amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Western New York sees Covid-19 improvement, but second wave may last months: Despite signs of a return to normal, it may be months before New York’s Covid-19 case counts return to the low levels the region saw over the summer. Read more

Paycheck Protection Program returns, amid changed economic picture: Businesses can apply for PPP loans even if they received one last year, with some requirements. Read more

St. Bonaventure men's, women's basketball games rescheduled: St. Bonaventure University and the Atlantic 10 Conference announced Wednesday that a pair of men's and women's basketball games have been rescheduled due to Covid-19. Read more

Another Voice: Don’t overlook preventive care during Covid-19 pandemic: "As Covid-19 continues to surge throughout our region and nation, another concerning trend has appeared in Western New York – decreased engagement in preventive care," writes Dr. Deirdre Wheat. Read more

Jan. 19

Covid-19 vaccinations refused by one-third of nursing home workers in New York: One-third of New York State's nursing home workers have refused to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus that has killed as many as 8,400 nursing home residents. Read more


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If You Want to Make a Call, You May Need to Dial This First, as of Oct. 24


If You Want to Make a Call, You May Need to Dial This First, as of Oct. 24

How it happened: Astros unload with seven runs in ninth to win, 9-2, and tie up ALCS


How it happened: Astros unload with seven runs in ninth to win, 9-2, and tie up ALCS