Whitewater Rafting and gyms to reopen in WV


Gov. Justice and state officials provide an update for media on COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

Gov. Justice asked West Virginians to remember the families of the 60 people who died from COVID-19. This includes the latest two from Jackson and Kanawha Counties.

The Governor stated they received many calls to open gyms and fitness centers. He stated on Monday, May 18, 2020 they will allow those facilities to open under strict guidelines to keep people safe. Additional guidelines will be issued on May 14.

Whitewater Rafting and Ziplining will be reopening for Week 4 on Thursday, May 21. This will limit the number of people in a raft to seven including one guide. It will also limit the number of people on bus to 18. Here are the guidelines:

  • PPE: Outfitters are encouraged to provide all patrons with masks upon arrival, if they do not already have them. Patrons should be encouraged to use cloth or disposable face coverings when safe and practical to do so.
  • Limited group size: Group size cannot exceed six (6) guests and one (1) guide per raft. Groups are limited to patrons who arrive together and /or reside together. Mixed groups of rafters who do not arrive together and/or reside together are prohibited.
  • Buses: Groups on buses must be spaces six (6) feet apart, and the maximum capacity permitted on a figty-five (55) person capacity bus is eahgteen (18) guests. Everyone on the bus must wear face coverings, and all windows must be down. Buses must be properly sanitized after each use. 15-passenger shuttles may only be used to transport one individual group (that is, a group of rafters who arrive or reside together) at a time.
  • Put-in and takeout schedule: Outfitters must coordinate to stagger the loading and unloading of rafts and launching and takeout of rafts to maintain proper social distancing. Guests must remain on the buses/rafts until their group loads or unloads.
  • Dispersed groups: Outfitters should maximize the distance between rafts while on the river.

Ziplining guidance will be posted on the Governor’s website.

Testing is being expanded in West Virginia It is optional and free. It is for people in the selected counties, including asymptomatic individuals. This will be held form 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 15 and 16 at locations in Berkeley, Mercer, Jefferson and Raleigh Counties. The following locations:

Mercer County

Bluefield State College
Harris-Jefferson Student Center Lower Parking Lot
219 Rock Street
Bluefield, WV

Raleigh County

Commission on Aging
1614 South Kanawha Street
Beckley, WV

Berkeley County

Martinsburg High School
701 South Queen Street
Martinsburg, WV

Jefferson County

Asbury United Methodist Church
110 West North Street
Charles Town, WV

The Governor and his advisors each stressed the need to follow the DHHR and CDC guidelines when people go out. Make sure you observe proper social distancing and use a mask. General Hoyer offered perspective by comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to the 2016 floods.

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