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Blacksburg leaders pass ordinance preventing large gatherings, among other restrictions

Measures meant to prevent spike in COVID-19 cases as Virginia Tech students return to Blacksburg

Blacksburg considers new coronavirus restrictions
Blacksburg considers new coronavirus restrictions

BLACKSBURG, VaLATEST

Blacksburg Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to approve Ordinance 1942.

This emergency ordinance:

  • Limits occupancy in restaurants, bars and breweries to 50%
  • Limits gatherings of more than 50 people
  • Requires face masks to be worn in public places
  • Requires restaurants and bars to close at midnight

This ordinance is effective starting at 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday. It expires at 11:59 p.m. on the 91st day afterwards, unless amended or reenacted by the Blacksburg Town Council.

To read Ordinance 1942 in its entirety, click here.

ORIGINAL STORY

The town of Blacksburg is considering major steps to prevent a potential spike in cases in COVID-19.

The move comes as thousands of students start to return to Virginia Tech’s campus.

Proposed Ordinance 1942 would reduce restaurant, bar and brewery capacity to 50%. Those food establishments would also have to close at midnight and could face a potential fine of up to $500 for any violations.

“We don’t think find our success in writing tickets and collecting fees that’s not the point, the point is to support people to a successful outcome,” Blacksburg Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith said.

Smith said she has been working with landlords throughout the town to help with enforcement when it comes to large gatherings. Students or tenants who break the guidelines could lose their lease if the ordinance passes.

“A student who finds it impossible to comply with these commonsense regulations could risk their lease, they could be expelled from Virginia Tech, and they could face the fine the municipality could bring to it,” Hager-Smith said.

Smith said the ordinance would address concerns brought up by people who live in Blacksburg. She hopes to have these measures in place before classes start August 24.

“We don’t have time for a long learning curve. These are people bright enough to get into college. They should be able to understand 2-3 simple rules,” Hager-Smith said.

Hager-Smith said she has been working with the other universities, localities and health districts to ensure the safety of everyone in the New River Valley.

“Everybody regardless of what school you are going to or what health care system you’re in, we will all be working together to get out the message,” Hager-Smith said.

The town council meeting gets underway at the municipal building at 6:30 Tuesday night.


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