Gathering limits to remain in the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech

New River Valley News

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — After seeing a spike in coronavirus cases after the holiday season, town officials in Blacksburg say numbers are relatively low.

“Cases are definitely better than they have been,” said Michael Sutphin, Vice Mayor for the Town of Blacksburg.

However, like many areas, the frequent challenge is consistency.

“We want to make sure that they continue to go down,” Sutphin said.

On Tuesday, March 23, despite Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) eased restrictions, councilmembers unanimously voted to maintain the town’s ordinance, which includes capping gatherings at 50 people – indoors and outdoors.

“What we did in our ordinance was extend those and continue those through mid-May,” said Sutphin.

The decision was mainly due to the town’s “unique” circumstance, considered a college town due to the close presence of Virginia Tech, and the likelihood of COVID-19 cases in the student population.

The changes won’t affect the university’s operations or commencement plans, which are expected to be announced sometime next week.

A university spokesperson says Virginia Tech is adopting similar measures.

“Although on the indoor side, we’re actually being a bit more conservative and we’re limiting our indoor gathering to 10 [people],” Mark Owczarski said.

The Blacksburg Police Department will also continue to play an important role, not only enforcing noise ordinances and alcohol violations off campus, but making referrals to Virginia Tech’s Student Conduct Office.

Some locals says it’s needed.

With the spring semester now in full bloom and for the safety of others.

“If they can just keep enforcing and keeping a presence around and reminding people to wearing them, that would be the important thing,” said Jane Aronson, resident of the Town of Blacksburg.

According to town officials, the limitations do not apply to restaurants or businesses.

The ordinance is set to expire on May 16.

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