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BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech announced Tuesday a ban on all tailgating this fall on university property or on any public lot in the town of Blacksburg.

This decision applies to all fall sports, not just football.

“Football weekends and tailgate gatherings are cherished traditions for Virginia Tech and our community,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said in a statement. “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.”

University officials instead encouraged fans to "homegate" with family and friends, watching the games in small groups on private property.

Both the university and the town of Blacksburg have teamed up to ensure tailgating will be prohibited on or off campus.

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

Whether or not fans will be allowed to games at all, and if so, in what numbers, is yet to be announced.

Virginia Tech's opener was already delayed due to a reported COVID-19 outbreak at North Carolina State, their original debut-day rival.

Current regulations in the commonwealth call for a maximum of 1,000 attendees at outdoor events. Lane Stadium has a capacity of 66,233.

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