CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has announced the closure of dine-in restaurants, bars and casinos just moments after confirming the state’s first case of COVID-19. Restaurants with a carry-out or delivery option will still be able to offer those services. The governor says the decision was made as a precaution and to allow for social distancing.
The closure will take place at midnight tonight.
“We’re all in this boat together. We have to do this. The pathway to the prevention of this disease spreading,” Justice said. “Our power to combat this disease is being apart from one another. Our power is already at work in that our communities are diverse and in different spots and in our mountains and all the things that are already working for us. We have to take seriously all the hygiene recommendations. We have to take seriously the ability to stay six-foot apart from one another. We have to take seriously the ability to stay away from our crowds.”
West Virginia has already taken several steps to put social distancing measures in place such as declaring a state of emergency to allow the state to side-step normal purchasing and hiring rules to get help as soon as possible, closing prek-12 schools, issuing a state-employee travel ban on both national and international travel, encouraging nursing homes and senior care facilities to limit visitation and canceling state basketball tournaments.
Many businesses and organizations have also taken steps to close in guidance from CDC recommendations or corporate decisions for national chain businesses.
Earlier this month, Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced an information hotline to address public and medical provider questions and concerns regarding the coronavirus. Anyone with questions can call 24/7, toll-free, at 1-800-887-4304.