NEWS RELEASE: Out of an abundance of caution for public health, Montgomery County and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg are continuing to urge residents to educate themselves regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and follow best practices when it comes to preventing the illness and avoiding exposure. As previously announced, officials from the three localities and local health, public safety and education agencies have proactively convened the Montgomery County Public Health Task Force in an effort to approach concerns related to COVID-19 in our community collaboratively and comprehensively. The Montgomery County Public Health Task Force is taking this time to plan and make decisions that may help decrease the chances of the virus spreading, as well as prepare the facilities in the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg to serve any community needs that may arise. The Blacksburg Recreation Center, Blacksburg Aquatic Center, Christiansburg Recreation Center and Christiansburg Aquatic Center will be closed to the public beginning March 15 through March 29, at a minimum. * All Montgomery County Parks and Recreation, Blacksburg Parks and Recreation and Christiansburg Parks and Recreation community programs, fitness classes, senior programs, events, and youth and adult athletics will be canceled during this time. * All swim meets, swim lessons, events and fitness programs at the Blacksburg Aquatic Center and Christiansburg Aquatic Center will be canceled during this time. * All rentals at Montgomery County, Town of Blacksburg or Town of Christiansburg facilities, athletic fields and shelters are canceled. We will not be accepting rental requests during this time. * Parks and trails in all three localities will remain open, but we encourage residents to recreate at their own risk and to practice social distancing and good hygiene. * Citizens who planned on attending events and programs hosted by the three localities that required pre-registration or participation fees will be notified of the cancellation and will receive either a credit to their household account or a refund if the event or program will not be rescheduled. The decision to close these facilities is two-fold; it helps limit public gatherings and also provides time to sanitize and ready these critical buildings for other community needs. This time period is also consistent with Gov. Ralph Northam’s order that all K-12 schools in Virginia will be closed. Please continue to follow these tips to keep yourself and your family members safe: *Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In instances when soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. * Stay home when you are sick. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of( respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider or the Health Department immediately. Do not go to the emergency room until you have been advised to do so. The New River Valley Health District has activated a local public health hotline at 540-267-8240. The Montgomery County Public Health Task Force will provide updates as they become available via social media and online at www.montva.com/coronavirus.