City Council approves continuation of large group restriction

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Heather Bell

 

RADFORD – Radford City Council unanimously voted to extend the restriction on gatherings of more than 50 people until Nov. 1 at its Monday meeting.

The restriction has been put into place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and council members said although the forecast is improving for new cases of the virus in Radford, the city “is not out of the woods yet.”

The restriction was originally put into place Aug. 6 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was set to expire on Aug. 31. At the end of August, council members opted to extend the ordinance limiting gathering size to 50 people, until Sept. 18. Radford University has also placed a restriction on on-campus gatherings to no more than 10 students. Monday, council unanimously voted to extend its ordinance until Nov.1.

“Our cases [of COVID-19] are more than 600 now, and we have two additional hospitalizations,” said Mayor David Horton. “COVID has not changed except in that more people have gotten it. We’re not out of the woods yet and it will be some time before we are. Large gatherings are simply not a good idea at this time.”

All five council members were in agreement that the extension should be in effect until Nov. 1 and said the ordinance will be discussed at each council meeting until then to see if it is still necessary or needs to be extended.

“I think the extension is merited,” said Council Member Jessie Foster. “We will certainly back of of it as soon as we can.”

“We’ve had a very significant local spike here,”said Council Member Forrest Hite. “We are still seeing daily cases. I am still very leery of having the ordinance extend indefinitely or appear to be indefinite,but these are strange and trying times.”

Council member Onassis Burress also gave kudos to the community for wearing masks and abiding by the gathering restriction

“ commend the actions of the citizens,university and the students,” he said. “I think we should give credit where credit is due.”

The restriction is in place until the day after Halloween but Horton said trick-or-treating is not necessarily banned.

“Halloween is not regulated by the government,”said Horton. “We will work with our community partners to find safe ways to celebrate.”