COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces date for limited reopening of Hatfield-McCoy Trail System



​CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.

On Friday, Gov. Justice announced that as part of his statewide reopening plan, West Virginia Strong – The Comeback, the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System will be permitted to open, with limitations, on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

“I’ve gotten an awful lot of feedback from a lot of different people, from our tourism people, to medical experts, to people from other states,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve weighed a lot of different factors.

“We know how important the Hatfield-McCoy Trails to us, economically, in the southern part of the state,” Gov. Justice continued. “I am happy about reopening the trails but I am also concerned. There’s going to be limitations and we’re going to enforce the limitations as best as we possibly can.”

All public buildings and public restrooms along the trail system will remain closed until further notice.

The trails themselves will be open for riding, provided that riders follow the following safety guidelines:

  • PPE: Riders are encouraged to wear face masks or face shields while stopped. All riders, by law, must wear a helmet while riding.
  • Self screening: Riders are encouraged to self screen for COVID-19 symptoms by CDC guidelines.
  • Temperature checks: Riders are encouraged to take their temperature prior to arriving at the trails. If their temperature measures over 100 degrees, the riders are not permitted to enter the trails. 
  • Sick rider: Any rider or visitor who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must leave the trails immediately and seek medical care and/or COVID-19 testing, per CDC guidelines.
  • Limit groups: Riders are prohibited from congregating on the trails.
  • Physical distancing: Practice proper social distancing, including a minimum of six feet of distance where practical and safe to do so.
  • Shared vehicles: Riders are discouraged from sharing a UTV, ATV, or off-road dirt bike with anyone outside their immediate group or party.
  • Shared equipment: Riders are discouraged from sharing safety equipment or masks.

Additional safety guidance available on

“Anyone who’s coming to our trails from out-of-state, we expect you to respect us,” Gov. Justice said. “We want you to protect yourself but we need to protect ourselves. We will watch this like a hawk.

“We cannot stay closed forever. We’ve got to try to reopen. We’ve got to someway, somehow try to live with this disease. We’re going to be ready to take over if things take a turn for the worse. But we’ve got to recognize that we’ve got to move forward.”


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Today, Gov. Justice officially signed and filed the Executive Order that will allow businesses in the “Week 3” phase of the Governor’s reopening plan to resume operations if they so choose.

Businesses that are part of the Week 3 reopenings include drive-in movie theaters and wellness centers operated by or with West Virginia Licensed Health Care providers.

Click here to view the Executive Order


Also today, the Governor offered a reminder about the current reopening schedule for The Comeback plan:

  • Week 1 – Thursday, April 30 (underway)
  • Week 2 – Monday, May 4 (underway)
  • Week 3 – Monday, May 11
  • Week 4 – Monday, May 18
  • Week 5 – Monday, May 25
  • Week 6 – Monday, June 1

This schedule may be altered if changes to the timeline are deemed necessary for the safety of West Virginians.

The Governor also provided a reminder that on this coming Monday, May 11, businesses included in the Week 4 phase of reopenings will be announced so they have adequate time to prepare to resume operations while following all additional guidelines.

Gov. Justice’s Safer At Home order also remains in effect at this time.

Once again Friday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of statewide data on COVID-19, highlighting that West Virginia’s growth rate of positive tests dropped to 1.8 percent today. 

The Governor also pointed out that the state cumulative rate of positive tests decreased, yet again, to 2.20 percent – the state’s lowest figure in that category since before the pandemic arrived in West Virginia.

View the latest COVID-19 data at


After announcing earlier this week that the newly-established COVID-19 Advisory Commission on African American Disparities would begin targeted testing in several African American communities across the state, today State Health Officer and Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Cathy Slemp announced that additional data has come in on the effects of COVID-19 among the state’s African American population.

“We actually have several counties that have a higher percent of cases among African Americans than their population of African Americans is,” Dr. Slemp said. “Those counties include Berkeley, Jefferson, Marion, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia, and Putnam.

“We think it’s important to explore this data further and work with these populations,” Dr. Slemp continued.

Dr. Slemp announced that additional data on the impact of COVID-19 in the state’s African American communities will be posted on as soon as it becomes available.


Additionally, the Governor announced that he hopes to be able to provide guidance for cities and counties to use to apply for funding from the CARES Act by next Friday.

“We have been in constant communication with all of our cities and counties and the associations that represent them, “I know they need our help.” Gov. Justice said, pointing out that more clarity may become available once the United States House of Representatives returns to session. 


Once again today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

“Every day, I encourage you more and more and more about the Census, to make sure everybody’s counted” Gov. Justice said. “That's a pretty simple thing to get more dollars to the state of West Virginia.”

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next ten years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes:


Click here to read more about all the WVNG’s response efforts


Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit


Contact Information

Jordan Damron,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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