As more opens, Justice advises West Virginians to take individual precautions

Gov. Jim Justice is advising West Virginians to take coronavirus precautions as the state opens up more and more.

“You — you — regulate your exposure on this disease,” Justice said while advising individuals to take precautions such as wearing masks.

“So absolutely, manage yourself.”

Several activities are set to resume in West Virginia just ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend.

Resuming Thursday are indoor dining at restaurants at 50 percent capacity, plus shopping at large retail stores and indoor shopping malls.

Outdoor activities with a go-ahead to resume Thursday include off-roading on the Hatfield McCoy Trails, whitewater rafting, ziplining and rentals for outdoor recreation such as kayaks, bicycles and boats.

Justice is also canceling an executive order calling for people traveling to West Virginia from out-of-state hotspots to quarantine for 14 days.

Clay Marsh

“As we open back up again, we do understand that people coming into West Virginia create a risk,” said Clay Marsh, the coronavirus response coordinator for West Virginia.

That’s particularly true in the Eastern Panhandle, he said, because of its proximity to hotspots in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

“As we open back up,” he said, “it’s really important that people pay a lot of attention to protecting themselves.”

Marsh, too, advised wearing masks to help prevent the spread of virus.

“It’s really on each one of us to protect ourselves, our communities, our healthcare workers,” he said.

But West Virginia also will keep opening up more and more activities.

When the governor was asked about, for example, swimming pools, bowling alleys, movie theaters and fairs and festivals, Justice said he had hoped to make an announcement today.

But, he said, “We’re trying to buy some time, to tell the truth.”

That is necessary to determine how the initial openings are affecting the spread of virus in West Virginia, he said.

“We’ve got some more hard work ahead of us to see how things are going to go,” he said.

In response to another question, Justice acknowledged that some of the attractions that are opening in West Virginia will attract residents of states with significantly higher virus rates.

“There’s all kinds of things that you’re trying to weigh out and balance,” he said.

And the governor said he expects instances of virus outbreaks in West Virginia over the next weeks and months.

“We have got to have in place the ability to deal with an outbreak,” he said. “There’s going to be fires. That’s all there is to it. It’s just as simple as that.”

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