UPDATE (10/5/20 6 p.m.):
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he has signed an Executive Order 74-20, allowing outdoor live music performances and certain indoor music performances to resume, provided that all additional guidelines are followed to help keep West Virginians as safe as possible.
“We’ve been working with our medical experts on these types of performances for awhile,” Gov. Justice said. “For the time being, we are still limiting live performances to outdoors only, with capacity limitations and face coverings required. Our medical experts believe this is still the safest thing to do to keep people safe at these events.”
Under the new rules, all outdoor live music performances are permitted to resume, the release explained. However, crowd sizes must be restricted to 25% of the venue’s full capacity or 250 individuals, whichever is less. Additionally, attendees must observe proper social distancing and will also be asked to wear face coverings at all times when social distancing cannot be maintained.
According to the governor, indoor live music performances with in-person crowds remain prohibited at this time. However, indoor performances with no audience physically present, but which are broadcast to a virtual or remote audience, are allowed under the new rules.
ORIGINAL (10/5/20 12:10 p.m.):
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During Monday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said state coronavirus data is “surely trending in a way that looks like its getting better.” The state’s Rt rate is now second best in the country, Justice said.
On Monday’s WV DHHR color-coded map, Boone, Harrison and Upshur counties are “orange” and schools have gone all virtual in those counties. Additional testing will be offered in those counties this week, Justice said. The governor also encouraged residents in “gold” counties to continue to get tested.
When asked about an injunction the West Virginia Education Association filed for on Monday, which challenges the state’s school re-entry map, Justice blamed it on politics and said if a map without tweaks was used, 1/3 to 1/2 of the schools in “probably the safest state in the nation” would be closed, he said. Justice also offered a counterpoint that if it wasn’t for the state’s map, the three current “orange” counties would be in school today. The governor summed his remarks on the subject up by saying: “I could give a hoot. I’m going to continue to do the right stuff.”
There are currently 16 outbreaks in schools in the state for a total of 42 cases.
The West Virginia National Guard is helping with the response at the West Virginia Veteran’s Nursing Facility in Clarksburg where a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer said. However, according to an official with the nursing home, there are no positive cases.
The nursing home official stated that there was confusion with contact tracing, but the individual who was potentially exposed has nested negative for COVID-19.
Following calls to lift a ban on live music, Gov. Justice said state officials believe it is best to still limit live music to outdoors only. Further guidelines will be made available later on Monday, the governor said.
When asked about controversy surrounding whether or not Buckhannon-Upshur High School golf team will be able to participate in the state championship golf tournament, this week, Justice said the team members tested negative and ought to allowed to play.
The governor was also asked what could be learned from the outbreak at the White House. “Our president and his people around him should take more precautions. He’s got to do a better job in allowing us to protect him,” Justice said. “A leader cannot go upstairs in the White House and hunker down. He has to be out in front of us and he has to be leading. We can all do better,” the governor continued.