As part of ongoing conversations focused on preserving public health, Virginia Tech and the Town of Blacksburg will prohibit tailgating during the fall season in university and town parking lots and public spaces.

This decision applies to football games, as well as all other fall sporting events, including soccer, volleyball, and cross country.

Instead, Hokie football fans are asked to “homegate” with members of their family or pods to safely watch each 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.”

Virginia Tech will continue to monitor all parking lots on game day. Virginia Tech Police will inform anyone seeking to hold a tailgate that it is currently prohibited and are prepared to enforce this decision if individuals choose not to comply.

Town officials say that they, too, will enforce ordinances put in place in response to the pandemic that restrict gatherings of people, especially events in which participants who are not wearing a mask or physically distant from others.

“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 through the plans for the fall, guided by health guidelines; the health and safety of athletes, staff, and the broader community; as well as guidance from the NCAA, the ACC, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information on the fall sports season, visit hokiesports.com.