MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has extended an order closing Monongalia County bars, keeping establishments closed for another 10 days.
The extension comes as Monongalia County remains a hot spot for coronavirus cases; according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 15.9% of West Virginia’s active cases are in Monongalia County.
“We’ve seen some of our numbers across the state start to move in our favor just in the past day or so, but it’s absolutely crucial for us to see continued improvement in Monongalia County in the days ahead,” Justice said in a press release. “It is our hope to be able to get these businesses reopened as soon as safety can be ensured for all.”
Justice issued the original closure order on July 13. The extension keeps bars closed until Aug. 3. West Virginia University is scheduled to open residence halls on Aug. 8, and classes are expected to begin Aug. 19.
The new order will allow patrons to dine at bar areas in restaurants and hotels. Monongalia County Commissioner Ed Hawkins told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM that the county commission, Morgantown Mayor Ron Dulaney Jr. and Dr. Lee Smith — the Monongalia County Health Department executive director and county health officer — requested the provision.
“We don’t want economics to suffer,” Hawkins said. “Business should be able to be conducted. The more business that is being conducted, it is better for the health of the community.”
Customers are still allowed to order takeout from bars.
MetroNews’ Alex Thomas and Mike Nolting contributed to this report.