MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s current plan is for students to return to campus in the fall, however, that raises some concerns as there has been a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Monongalia County.
Students returning directly affects local businesses like the Greene Turtle, a sports bar and restaurant, because it is frequented by WVU upperclassmen and graduate students. Kitchen Manager Joe Campbell said the safety of customers and staff is something management and owners think about every single day, but he added that if the restaurant can continue to remain diligent in their efforts to follow safety guidelines, then they should fair well.
“We can control what happens here at the Greene Turtle, you need a mask, we won’t seat more than five, we have no seating at our bar area,” Campbell said. “We have an outdoor patio area, but it’s still separated. On account, our concern is the obvious, but we hope that the right decisions are made by the authorities to provide safeness outside the realms of whether it be the Greene Turtle or other bars, restaurants and establishments.”
Campbell admits that while there are many elements the Greene Turtle can control within its establishment, they do not have full control. He said it’s because people take off their masks to eat, drink, or when they go to the bathroom, so there are still some risks.
That’s why he said he and other local business owners are reliant on the authorities and WVU administration to help enforce and provide guidelines for students and businesses. He said it is especially important because a lot of students aren’t from the area.
“Obviously from out of state and other countries, different hotspots,” Campbell said. “At this point, all we can do is trust our elected officials and the WVU president and his staff to hopefully make the right moves and contain it.”
In the meantime, Campbell said, the Greene Turtle will continue to follow its regiment of temperature checking employees once a day, enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing, sanitizing tables and door handles, as well as bringing in a company to do a deep cleaning once a week.
Campbell said he said he just wants what’s best for Monongalia County.
“I definitely want ourselves and our friends that own small businesses, bars, restaurants, to be able to succeed and thrive,” Campbell said. “And I think the biggest thing now is some of us are shut down for 10 days after 10 days are we going to be open and be shut down two months later? I have a concern about the students, my children went to WVU. Is it going to be school for two months, is it going to be online for the rest of the year? A lot of financial difficulty for them, so as I said, there’s a lot of concern as a manager of the Greene Turtle and as a resident of Mon County.”