CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice followed up on his decision Friday to drop the state’s mask mandate for fully-vaccinated residents, per new CDC guidelines.
The governor said he has received a lot of thanks for ending the mask mandate. Justice also said that it is based on the honor system, in terms of unvaccinated residents still needing to wear masks. Justice also reminded everyone that any private business has “every right” to require masks on their property, regardless of state orders.
No matter what, the state’s mandate will be fully lifted on June 20, Justice said.
West Virginia coronavirus “czar” Dr. Clay Marsh asked people to be kind to fellow residents who still choose to wear a mask.
WV VACCINE UPDATE:
The governor also went over the state’s vaccine statistics, which now include all residents 12 and older.
On the topic of state COVID-19 data, Justice announced that the DHHR dashboard will now be updated on weekdays only.
Justice reiterated that everyone who wants to be vaccinated does not need to wait, as there is plenty of supply available. Mentioning the 2,762 COVID-19 deaths in the state, Justice asked people who have not been vaccinated: “How many [of those who died] would’ve run to have taken the vaccine [if given the opportunity]?” If they had been vaccinated, a very small number would’ve died, Justice surmised. “How can you deny those numbers?” he asked. “You need to get the vaccine,” the governor concluded.
Marsh reminded residents of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
The governor also went over several other topics:
- Justice announced that the state has received $670 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding. The governor said he will work with state legislative leadership to figure out how to spend it.
- Following Friday’s announcement that the state will end the $300/week unemployment supplement, Justice renewed his call for people to “get back to work.” He continued: “the good Lord above expects us to work.” Officials are still looking to come up with a matching incentive bonus for people who return to work, Justice said.
- All 55 West Virginia counties will again be participating in a summer meal program for school children.
- Justice spent several minutes touting his personal income tax plan, which failed at the end of the state legislative session.
- Justice reassured workers at the soon-to-close Viatris plant in Morgantown that state officials are working to help, but they have “not found a solution yet.”
- The governor shared his excitement about the Marshall University men’s soccer team’s NCAA championship match-up with Indiana, Monday night.