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.
The Governor began his conference by stressing the importance of following the guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated people need to be smart not “macho.”
There were 206 new cases of the virus confirmed since the Governor spoke to West Virginians on Friday afternoon. Most of those cases were reported in Monongalia County. They are also in the age category of 20-29.
As a result of the numbers, the Governor stated he will do the prudent thing to help the people of West Virginia even if those are not popular. The Governor’s staff is watching Mon County closely and speaking with the local health department to work hand in hand with them.
All bars in Mon County were closed for 10 days by executive order. The concern is over students returning to local colleges and universities. Citing a fact sheet from Texas, the Governor shared information stating that going to bars is the highest risk factor for getting COVID-19.
Restaurants in Mon County may remain open, but if they have a bar, the bar section will be closed. Alcohol may be served to patrons who are eating in the restaurant.
The Governor also reduced crowd sizes from 100 to 25. Additionally, Gov. Justice announced he is closing fairs, festivals and outdoor concerts. These actions are being done to help reduce community spread, which has surged in recent days. If a fair or festival can be conducted with a crowd size of 25 people or less where social distancing can be done, then they may be held. However the Governor stressed for all intents and purposes, fairs, festivals and outdoor concerts in the state are effectively done.
This does not apply to little league or swimming pools or the WVSSAC, provided that social distancing can be maintained. It also does not apply to church functions, but all other guidelines (i.e. every other pew, etc.) should be followed. These guidelines are available online.
Speaking on churches, the Governor stated his mandatory mask order applies to all public buildings not your home. He stressed he wants West Virginians to be able to worship, but masks should be worn.
Any worker who has exhausted state and pandemic emergency benefits, may now apply for extended benefits. This was announced by WorkForce West Virginia and people should seek further information on that organization’s website.
The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) extended expiration dates for many items to Sept. 30, 2020. More information is available on the DMV website.