Crowds gathering at UVA dining facilities raise social distancing concerns

Crowds gathering at UVA dining facilities raise social distancing concerns
Crowds gathering at UVA dining facilities raise social distancing concerns. (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia students flocked back to Charlottesville but weekend video points to a social distancing nightmare at a hot spot on UVA grounds.

Videos started to circulate on social media raising the alarm on large gatherings and social distancing practices. As of Monday, September 7 UVA’s COVID Tracker reported 227 total cases of coronavirus. 186 of those positive cases are students.

As Student Council President Ellen Yates says the university closed all kitchens in dorms. Now students, especially first years, are depending on dining halls for all meals.

“The infrastructure that should have been put in place to ensure that you know students that need to access resources can do so in a safe manner and it appears that infrastructure has failed students,” Yates said.

In a statement to NBC29, UVA acknowledged the congestion and says “dining team members will be monitoring the lines and encouraging proper distancing throughout all meal periods.”

In addition, students are being encouraged to try other dining locations such as Newcomb Hall or Runk Dining Hall to reduce the lines at O-Hill.

For many students, these videos are frustrating to see, especially after UVA put a strict ban on gatherings of 15 or more both on and off grounds.

“Probably most of those students are trying to follow the rules and the guidelines set in place by the university and the lack of infrastructure has made it impossible and for that the university is liable,” Yates said.

In the statement, UVA also said it believes that once classes start and students develop their daily routines, the overcrowding at certain times of the day in the dining halls will resolve itself.

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