BLACKSBURG, Va. – Thanks to coronavirus, fans won’t be able to cheer on the Hokies from a tailgate in Blacksburg this season.
The university is asking fans to “homegate” with family members or a small group of friends and safely watch the game.
“Football weekends and tailgate gatherings are cherished traditions for Virginia Tech and our community,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “I appreciate the input and support of athletic director Whit Babcock and community leaders as we came to this difficult conclusion. Though it is disappointing for all of us as we look forward to fall football, protecting public health remains our primary goal, and the foundation of the decisions we make.”
According to a statement, the university and the town will monitor parking lots and other tailgating spots on game days.
“Game days are special to our community, too, and we look forward to the time when we can come together again and enjoy Hokie football together. However, the pandemic requires us to make different, difficult decisions to preserve public health.”
Banning tailgating is just the latest restriction on Hokie football. Capacity inside Lane Stadium will be capped at 1,000 fans, with most of those being family members of athletes and coaches.
“It kind of stinks not going to lie but it’s what we have to do,” Virginia Tech student Sarah Davison said. “It is what it is. I’m just hoping we can get everything back to normal soon.”
“I think it’s something that we all just have to go through together and something that needs to happen,” Virginia Tech student Brandon Wells said. “We just need to get through it to make things better.”
The new limitation is a disappointing decision not just for fans, but for businesses too.
“We’re not surprised but we do agree it’s the right move,” said Casey Jenkins, executive director of Downtown Blacksburg Inc.
A 2015 Virginia Tech study found out-of-town fans injected $69 million into the local economy in a single season.
Despite that, Jenkins supports this move, telling 10 News he’s not worried.
“It hurts but at the same time I think we just need to continue to pivot and find other ways to make our business community remain solvent,” Jenkins said.