MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Limits on liquor sales are now in effect in Monongalia County, including who can who can purchase liquor and how many items can be purchased, all with the intent of limiting the spread of COVID-19 across state lines.

The order, issued on Saturday from the Monongalia County Health Department restricts sales of spirits and hard liquors to West Virginia residents only. The order also limits customers to three items per purchase.

There has been a reported increase in Pennsylvania residents crossing the state line to purchase hard liquor in Monongalia County since Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe’s order on March 16, closed all ABCA stores in the commonwealth. Health officials in were concerned the influx of Pennsylvania residents could increase community spread of COVID-19 in Monongalia County, which already is already among the counties with the highest number of reported cases.

Gov. Jim Justice has also issued measures also aimed at discouraging people outside of West Virginia from coming to the state and possibly contributing to the spread the novel coronavirus, such as shutting down state park campsites, popular overlooks at Coopers Rock and Blackwater Falls, as well as limiting private campgrounds to in-state residents only.

Monongalia County commissioners, health officials and law enforcement from the sheriff’s department and local municipalities discussed the order during a conference call Saturday morning. The order has the support of all the local law enforcement in the county.

While liquor store owners are encouraged to continue following the same social distancing and sanitizing practices that have been promoted over the last several weeks, they are also recommended to place an employee outside the premises to insure only West Virginia citizens are allowed to in to purchase liquor and spirits.

Any liquor store that fails to comply with the order could be shutdown.