Blacksburg Town Council looks at new ordinance with stricter coronavirus guidelines

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 8:31 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - While it wasn’t a voting matter Tuesday, proposed ordinance 1942 generated the most amount of conversation among council members, including commentary from police chief Anthony Wilson.

“COVID didn’t do what we wanted it to do. Everyone expected it to die the death of flu. And summer would be left alone for us to return to our behavior. And we saw just the opposite,” said Wilson.

Virginia Tech students will begin moving in, in two weeks, meaning the population of the town will increase by tens of thousands.

If passed, the ordinance will increase restrictions for local businesses, including closing time and number of people allowed inside at one time.

“This draft ordinance is hot off the press. Like I said, it’s very much in a draft form. The ordinance is very similar to what the city of Radford is looking at passing, as well as what Charlottesville and Albemarle County have already passed,” said Town Manager Marc Verniel.

In addition to a midnight closing hour for food establishments and 50 percent capacity inside, another part of the ordinance is stricter guidance on mask use.

”There will be no parties, in neighborhoods, there will be none. And this is what happens if you break the rules,” said Wilson.

Chief Wilson says his goal is not to write tickets, but any violation would be grounds for a class 4 misdemeanor, which carries up to a $250 fine.

After council members get to review the draft more, it will be added to the agenda for the next meeting.

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