New River Valley businesses weigh in on new COVID ranking

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Travelers went in and out of Montgomery County all Labor Day weekend. Neighboring hometowns saw some of that business, and according to the Virginia Department of Health, the number of COVID cases continues to rise.

Typically regarded as a day to slow down, the New River Valley did anything but this Labor Day.

”We were really quite busy actually,” said Daniel Riley, owner of Blacksburg Tavern.

”Labor Day weekend has been pretty good, at least for myself and other business owners I’ve talked to. Normally you see a mass exodus, everyone heading to the beach, heading to the big cities, but we saw an uptick,” said Joshua Roseberry, owner and operator of Clay’s Corner Inn.

But tourism isn’t the only uptick; the number of COVID cases has also been on the rise. Specifically, in a neighboring jurisdiction, which now sits at number 46 on the New York Times Hot Spot list.

“Yeah I don’t want to see Montgomery County or Radford on those lists; that’s not good for tourism,” said Roseberry.

Roseberry says while they’ve stayed open, they’ve heeded the warnings, and according to a first-year Virginia Tech student, students have too.

”I definitely wasn’t expecting everyone to follow the rules. But for the most part, in Prichard, everyone has been wearing the masks everywhere, we can’t go anywhere without it,” said Adam Webb, a student at Virginia Tech.

It’s that mentality business owners continue to cling on to in hopes that they can stay open even with the climbing numbers.

”Local businesses need people to spend money,” said Roseberry.

”We just hope that people can stay as safe as possible and that life can carry on,” said Riley.

Both businesses we spoke with say they heavily rely on the traffic that Virginia Tech brings to Blacksburg.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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