Justice considers relaxing restaurant seating requirement; opens state park stays to non-residents

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice met with members of his coronavirus task force Wednesday afternoon to discuss the possibility of relaxing the 50 percent seating threshold currently required for in-door restaurant dining in West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice

“We’re looking at broadening those horizons a little bit and making it just a little easier from the standpoint from the size of the grouping or the size of the capacities but we’re working it,” Justice said during Wednesday’s coronavirus media briefing.

Justice said he won’t make a decision until he consults with medical experts. He said he understands the financial struggles of restaurants.

“I get it. Believe me, I get it,” Justice said.

Out-of-state residents welcomed

Justice also announced Wednesday that state park lodges, cabins, campgrounds and private campgrounds could start receiving out-of-state visitors on Wednesday, June 10. Only in-state residents have been allowed to stay in those facilities since just before and after the recent Memorial Day holiday.

Justice said his decision to allow out-of-state patrons is based on the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“We wanted to see the numbers after the Memorial Day weekend and we wanted to see numbers to be able to see if we were trending the right way,” Justice said.

The state will impose a 7-day limit on state park reservations made by out-of-state residents, Justice said.

“We surely don’t want people coming here from out of state and taking up some level of permanency our state parks. That’s not what we’re looking for right now,” he said.

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