CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Fresh off of announcing that West Virginia’s reopening plan is under way, Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice made another major announcement during his Thursday virtual news briefing.
On Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m., Gov. Justice will lift his stay at home order and replace it with a safer at home order, which will strongly encourage, but no longer order that residents stay at home, he announced. It will include special guidelines for five hotspot counties, Justice said. The five counties were not named.
“‘Safer At Home’ still strongly encourages all West Virginians to stay at home when not performing essential tasks, but no longer mandates them to stay at home,” Gov. Justice said. “Our people have been knocking it out of the park, but we need to keep it that way. You should still stay home if you have any symptoms or have come in contact with someone who has the virus.”
When asked if the restriction on gatherings of 25 or more people applies to churches, Gov. Justice said that it does not and referred everyone to guidelines for churches that are posted online.
The new order will be modified each week throughout the duration of “The Comeback” reopening plan, Justice said.
The governor also announced that horse racing, in the state, can begin again, without spectators, on May 14.
WV DHHR officials announced that 97% of nursing homes in the state have been tested for COVID-19 and that they have received results for 96% of the facilities.
The governor and other state officials at the briefing were asked if they wear masks in public. Justice said that he has two masks in his vehicle, would wear one if he were to go into a store and that he has worn a mask at a recent small gathering. WV National Guard Maj. Gen. James Hoyer said that he and his wife are wearing them. WV DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said that while he does not get out much, he did wear a mask at a gas station.