Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that he would be reopening indoor dining restaurants next week, but they can only seat up to 50% capacity.
CHARLESTON – During his latest daily COVID-19 press briefing Monday, Gov. Jim Justice announced the next wave of businesses and activities permitted to reopen as part of the upcoming Week 4 phase of the Governor’s reopening plan - West Virginia Strong – The Comeback.
The following entities are permitted to reopen, with limitations, in Week 4:
•Indoor dining at restaurants at 50% capacity
•Large/specialty retail stores
•State park campgrounds for in-state residents only
•Outdoor recreation rentals (kayaks, bicycles, boats, rafts, canoes, ATVs and similar equipment)
•Outdoor motorsport and powersport racing with no spectators
•Hatfield McCoy Trail System
The executive order requiring out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine is also currently scheduled to be lifted during Week 4. In accordance with this scheduled change, new guidance documents are available for hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, and cabins.
In addition to the reopening of campgrounds at West Virginia state parks to in-state residents, some public restrooms will also be reopened with proper sanitization protocols in place.
Week 4 is now scheduled to commence next Thursday, May 21, 2020.
“West Virginians, you need to remain as focused as you possibly can,” Gov. Justice said. “I would caution everyone, as we’re reopening, to surely wear a mask when you’re indoors and to do everything you can possibly do to wash your hands and maintain social distancing.
“As long as you continue to do what you’ve already done, we’ll be okay,” Gov. Justice said.
Several additional types of businesses and entities will be permitted to reopen in the weeks ahead. The opening schedule will be based upon the recommendations of state medical experts and upon testing data available at that time.
Gov. Justice announced that outdoor guided fishing will be permitted to resume this Friday, May 15, 2020, under strict limitations, including that the maximum capacity for any boat be no more than two anglers and one guide.
Also Monday, Gov. Justice announced that state park cabins and lodges will be permitted to reopen to in-state residents on Tuesday, May 26.
The Governor also announced that certain outdoor youth sports activities will be permitted to resume on Monday, June 8. This applies only to low-contact sports like baseball and softball. It does not include high-contact sports like football and basketball. Additional guidance for these reopenings will be provided online when available.
During the briefing, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that the Week 3 phase of his reopening plan officially began Monday.
This phase allows for the reopening of wellness facilities (gyms and fitness centers supervised by licensed professionals) and drive-in movie theaters.
These wellness facilities and drive-in movie theaters must follow all additional guidelines that have been put in place to help keep West Virginians safe.
Businesses included in each phase of this reopening plan are not required to resume operations on any specific date. This plan provides the option for reopening, not a requirement.
The Governor’s Safer at Home order remains in effect this week as well.
Gov. Justice also announced that progress is being made toward setting guidelines and scheduling a date for the reopening of whitewater rafting operations in West Virginia. However, the Governor says that these businesses must work with the medical community to establish a system that’s as safe as possible.
“I get it. I want this industry up and going,” Gov. Justice said. “But our health experts are really concerned about putting 25 or 30 people in a bus, taking them down the river and to the rafts, and, while they’re in the rafts, you’ve got eight people and a guide jammed in together. All of that really concerns our medical people.
“I have to defer to our medical people as our experts,” Gov. Justice continued. “I’ve asked the whitewater rafting people to work with them. As soon as we can get some kind of guidelines that everyone can live with and our medical experts feel are safe, we’ll move forward as quickly as we possibly can because I want it open for sure. But I don’t want it open if we’re going to grow the problem.”
Once again, Gov. Justice provided an overview of statewide data on COVID-19, highlighting that West Virginia’s growth rate of positive tests dropped to 0.4 percent Monday.
The Governor also pointed out that the state cumulative rate of positive tests decreased, yet again, to 2.15 percent – the state’s lowest figure in that category since before the pandemic arrived in West Virginia.
“Your story, West Virginia, is totally remarkable and a blessing from God above in every way and a blessing from what you’ve been able to do, West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “Absolutely, you continue to make me so proud it’s unbelievable, to make the nation in awe of what you’ve done. But you just can’t drop the ball right now. Don’t get relaxed. Just hang tough.”