Morgantown city manager signs order implementing emergency ordinance for COVID-19

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown City Manager Emily Muzzarelli signed a written order on Tuesday that implemented a number of items from the emergency ordinance that was passed on July 21 by city council.

Morgantown City Council voted to approve Emergency Ordinance 2020-4 which suspended regular inspections of rental units, granted authority to update face covering requirements and restricted gathering sizes during the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the release, Muzzarelli’s order implemented the following measures:

  • All individuals ages 9 and up within the City of Morgantown are required to wear an adequate face covering when in confined, indoor spaces, except when in one’s residence or actively engaged in consumption of food or beverage. According to the release, the City Manager’s order includes a clarification made in Emergency Ordinance 2020-4 that masks are not required when at one’s own place of work and occupying a separate space such as an office as the only occupant. Masks are always required in public areas such as grocery or retail stores, unless a medical exception applies. Violation of this article will result in a fine of no less than $25 and no more than $500. This measure will go into effect at midnight on July 29.
  • Suspension of regular inspections of rental housing units. Although these regular inspections promote public safety by ensuring structures comply with building and fire codes, the City Council has determined that public safety is, at this time, better served by limiting interactions likely to create the risk of COVID-19 spread. This does not suspend complaint driven inspections or occupant requests for inspection. This measure will go also into effect at midnight on July 29.
  • Public and private community gatherings of 25 people or more, both indoors and outdoors, are prohibited in the city, according to the order. Whenever possible, and particularly where employees have requested accommodations, workplace gatherings should be minimized through the use of electronic meetings and remote work arrangements. Exceptions to this order can be found in the Emergency Ordinance 2020-4. Any owner or operator of a structure or space within a structure may apply to the City Manager to designate a portion of such structure as a separate confined space capable of hosting a community gathering by submitting a written request. Full details are included in the written order. This measure will go into effect August 3.

The passage of these measures follows the July 14 approval by Morgantown City Council of Emergency Ordinance 2020-3 which included a fine of $25-$500 for violation of Governor Jim Justice’s mask mandate and requirements for businesses with multiple cases of COVID-19.

The order states that all measures shall continue to be in effect until repealed or modified by order of the City Manager, or until it expires by operation of law.

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