Governor’s office tries to clear up confusion about social gathering limit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The governor’s office has been flooded with calls from residents and business owners who have questions about the 25-person public gathering limit that’s been in effect as part of the state’s pandemic response.

Brian Abraham

Justice administration General Counsel Brian Abraham took time during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing at the state capitol to attempt to clarify.

Abraham said the 25-person limit has never applied to essential businesses and doesn’t apply to businesses that are reopening Thursday like restaurants. He said those will abide by their new guidelines limiting seating to 50 percent capacity.

“So obviously a restaurant that had a capacity of 100 would not be limited to 25 but rather to 50 (people),” Abraham said.

He said wedding chapels, churches also don’t fall under the 25 limit. Abraham said social distancing is encouraged at all times. If a wedding reception is at a restaurant or a bar the 50 percent capacity guideline must be followed. If the wedding or wedding reception is at a church where a large crowd can gather social distance must be enforced.

Abraham said the 25-person limit is more for random gatherings.

“Something like an ad-hoc picnic where a group of people just gather in a park or something. Those are things that we are trying to discourage that don’t have any particular purpose other than the socializing itself,” Abraham said.

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