UPDATE (OCT 7, 2020 5:30 p.m.):
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During his virtual COVID-19 briefing Friday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that bars in Monongalia County will be able to reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
The governor also said that the state will be sending more ABCA agents and West Virginia State Troopers to Monongalia County to monitor the bars, which will be shut down again if they don’t follow the guidelines. Shutdowns will be immediate, if necessary and could affect a business’s license, Justice said.
“Please — I don’t like anything that becomes threatening, but you’ve got to listen to us,” Justice said. “You’ve got to do everything in your power that we don’t slip back into where we were before, so please all the bar owners and everything try as hard as you possibly can. We’ll work with you, if you’ll give it everything you’ve got, we’ll give it everything we’ve got, we’ll succeed.”
More than 220 veterans and staff have been tested at the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility, in Clarksburg, with two employees testing positive and all residents coming back negative, Justice said. The facility has stopped all activities, is not allowing visitors, and has cancelled outside appointments, according to the governor.
Gov. Justice reported 20 outbreaks in state schools for a total of 59 cases, along with 15 outbreaks in churches in 11 counties.
The governor pointed to southern West Virginia as being a hotspot. Five counties: Cabell, Doddridge, Harrison, Logan and Mingo, are now in “orange” on the state’s map.
The governor continued to urge residents to get tested. A list of free testing opportunities can be found here. Justice also announced that the state has partnered with Walgreens to offer free testing in Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, Monongalia, Putnam and Raleigh counties. An appointment is required. The WV DHHR is working to get more pharmacies in the state involved in the program, officials said.
After previously saying that he would offer guidance on trick or treating in the state, Justice said Friday that it will be left up to local health departments and officials to decide what’s best for their areas.
Gov. Justice also talked about Thursday’s announcement that Virgin is going to locate its Hyperloop Certification Center in West Virginia. The center will include a more than seven-mile-long track, to test speeds up to 670 mph, which Justice said is the equivalent of going from Charleston to Washington, D.C. in 17 minutes.
During the pandemic, “we continue to do work,” Justice said about reaching the agreement with Virgin. “We landed a monster, monster fish yesterday. An announcement like none other of all time,” Justice said. Following the announcement, Boeing and Tesla have reached out to the state, according to Justice.