Virginia Tech, Town of Blacksburg prohibit fall tailgating

Virginia Tech quarterback Ryan Willis prepares to take a snap during the Hokies' 2019 home...
Virginia Tech quarterback Ryan Willis prepares to take a snap during the Hokies' 2019 home opener win over Old Dominion.(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 7:43 AM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Tech and the Town of Blacksburg are prohibiting tailgating this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Tech said the decision applies to football games, as well as other fall sporting events, including soccer, volleyball and cross country.

“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.”

The school is asking Hokie fans to “homegate” instead, with members of their family or pods, to safely watch events.

All parking lots will be monitored on game day, and Virginia Tech Police are prepared to enforce the rule if people choose not to comply.

Blacksburg town officials say they will also enforce ordinances put in place to restrict large gatherings.

“It’s so important for the town and the university to work together on this because we both want to protect our communities,” said Leslie Hager-Smith, mayor of the Town of Blacksburg. “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.”

“Public gatherings, especially those in which people are not wearing face coverings and not physically distant, will significantly contribute to the spread of COVID-19,” said Noelle Bissell, health director of the New River Valley Health District. “Our community has been working diligently to preserve public health, and it is making a difference. This decision, while difficult, will help maintain our progress and prevent future outbreaks.”

Virginia Tech Athletics continues to work out plans for the fall sports season. For more information, visit

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