Pulaski County Supervisors Chairman issues statement on planned rally at RU

Since we first learned earlier this week about the rally on the Radford University campus planned for this Saturday and Dr. Hemphill’s open letter encouraging members of the university community to join him at it, I have been engaged in a number of conversations with my fellow board members, county staff, law enforcement, and constituents about it. We all share concerns about the rally.

I have reached out to Radford’s Mayor David Horton and had a productive conversation with him learning more about the rally, expressing the concerns I and members of the Board of Supervisors and many of our county residents have about it, and offering suggestions for changes. Those suggestions  include having a virtual rally rather than a large public gathering. I expressed that a primary concern we have would be with any large gathering at this time and the risks it brings of increased exposure to COVID to people at the rally and other people they interact with, including in Pulaski County, in the days and weeks that follow. I also expressed concerns we have related to security and crowd control.

I have also spoken with senior staff at Radford University in the President’s office, having much the same conversation as I did with the mayor.

I have sent a letter to both the mayor and the university President’s office on behalf of the Board of Supervisors expressing our concerns, particularly regarding public health, safety, and security. I offered suggestions to help mitigate those concerns.

We hope that the Radford City Council and Radford University leadership will take our concerns and suggestions into account in their planning processes for the event.

The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors stresses guidelines by the New River Health District and the CDC to avoid any larger public gatherings and to practice safe physical distancing.

Joseph W. Guthrie
Chair, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors