Coronavirus in West Virginia: Gov. Justice rolls out plan to re-start the state economy


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.) held his daily COVID-19 briefing to roll out the state’s gradual re-opening.

Justice says hospitals could begin applying Monday, April 27 to resume elective surgeries. He also says the first week of his plan will allow day care centers to re-open, if they have protective gear and can test parents and staff.

The governor says other sectors of the economy will be allowed to re-open over the next three weeks, if the positive-test rate for coronavirus — which currently is just under 2.5% — stays below 3% for three consecutive days.

“We’re allowing people to open, but we are not requiring them to open. That’s really important also. If you feel uneasy, that you can’t protect your workers, or you can’t social distance, or you can’t do the things that you need to do, we’re not requiring you to open,” said Justice.

In week two of kick-starting the state’s economy, restaurants with outdoor seating could reopen, but with limited numbers of customers and employees who are properly distanced. Even salons and barber shops could open up to appointments, with customers waiting turns in their cars. While re-opening is promising, health officials warn now is not the time to let your guard down.

“We still need to protect ourselves. And by protecting your self, if you are vulnerable stay inside, and work from home if you can. If you go out, as the Governor said, stay the appropriate physical distance,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.

Churches and other places of worship may be able to open in week two, with distancing guidelines to include people sitting in every other pew, and wearing face masks.

“Whether it’s beauty salons, restaurants or barber shops, the Governor says there are not enough health inspectors in the state to check every location. He says re-opening for most businesses will depend on the honor system,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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