COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces statewide indoor face covering requirement

7/6/2020

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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.

STATEWIDE INDOOR FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT
After West Virginia experienced its highest daily total of new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, Gov. Justice announced Monday that he has issued an executive order that will establish a statewide indoor face covering requirement.

The order requires all West Virginians age 9 and older to wear a face covering at all indoor public places where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

The requirement does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is otherwise unable to remove their own face covering without assistance.

“I have told you all along we were going to watch our numbers,” Gov. Justice said. “In the last few days, our positive case numbers have now moved to a level to where if we don’t make a move right now, we’re going to be in a world of hurt.

“I know it’s an inconvenience, but it’s not going to be much of an inconvenience,” Gov. Justice continued. “If you don't decide to wear the face covering for yourself, if you don’t decide to wear it for one of your loved ones or your friends, do it for the 95 West Virginians that have died, do it for the 95 people that we’ve lost.”

 

The Governor clarified that the requirement to wear face coverings does not apply inside residents’ homes or vehicles. Also, the requirement does not apply when consuming food or beverages inside a restaurant.

The requirement does not apply anywhere outside. However, state health leaders still strongly suggest that residents wear a face covering when outside in circumstances where proper social distance is difficult to maintain.

For children ages 2 years old through 8 years old, face coverings are not required. However, it is recommended that parents or guardians use their best judgment as to when to assist their children, ages 2 through 8, with wearing a face covering.

Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance should not wear face coverings and are exempt from the face covering requirement.

Face shields are an acceptable substitute for those with physical conditions that may cause them to be unable to properly wear a face covering.

The indoor face covering requirement will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7.

Guidance documents that are a part of the Governor’s reopening plan – West Virginia Strong – The Comeback – will be revised to reflect the new requirement.

View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.gov.

 

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CLARIFICATIONS ON FACE COVERING, CONCEALED CARRY LAWS
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice’s General Counsel Brain Abraham added that, while there is a law in West Virginia that prohibits the use of face coverings in public, there is an exemption to that law for emergency situations such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Abraham went on to explain that the new face covering requirement does not restrict the right of West Virginians to carry concealed weapons.

“As far as West Virginia goes, there will be no prohibition on the wearing of a mask and the concealed carrying of a firearm at the same time,” Abraham said. “We would urge all West Virginians to check with other states before you would travel out-of-state and do the same thing, as each state’s laws might not be the same as West Virginia’s.”

 

ZERO ACTIVE CASES AMONG WEST VIRGINIA INMATES
Additionally Monday, Gov. Justice provided another update on his initiative to test all inmates and employees within the State’s network of correctional facilities for COVID-19.

The most recent testing results showed zero active COVID-19 cases among all inmates and residents across West Virginia. 

There remains one active COVID-19 case among corrections employees and contract staff.

More than 10,000 inmates and 4,000 employees were tested in total as part of the Governor's initiative.

 

GOV. JUSTICE THANKS GUARD FOR SERVICE TO STATE
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice took time out of his address to praise the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard. 

More than 60 service members, including pilots, maintainers, flight medics, and support staff recently left the state in preparation to deploy to the Middle East.

Also recently, the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston welcomed home more than 70 airmen and women who had served more than four months overseas.

“These National Guard men and women, we should always keep them in our prayers,” Gov. Justice said. “We should celebrate the ones who have returned home and we should continue to pray for the safety of those just now being deployed. We should be so appreciative and thankful that they have given us everything we have.”

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MYRTLE BEACH CASES
Once again on Monday, Gov. Justice discussed the recent surge in COVID-19 cases being seen at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, again cautioning residents who are considering traveling to the popular vacation destination that there are now cases in 23 West Virginia counties, with at least 115 cases that are tied to residents traveling to the Myrtle Beach area.

UPCOMING FREE COMMUNITY TESTING: MARSHALL, MERCER, MONONGALIA, PRESTON, AND WAYNE COUNTIES
Additionally during his briefing, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that the next round of free community COVID-19 testing will be provided later this week – Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11 – in Marshall, Mercer, Monongalia, Preston, Upshur, and Wayne counties.

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The effort is part of a plan to provide free optional testing to all residents in several counties that are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission. It targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing. However, other residents, including those who are asymptomatic are welcome to be tested.

Testing is scheduled as follows:

Marshall County
Friday, July 10
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
McMechen City Hall: 325 Logan Street, McMechen, WV 26040
Saturday, July 11
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Marshall County Health Department: 513 6th Street, Moundsville, WV 26041

Mercer County
Saturday, July 11
9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Mercer County Health Department: 978 Blue Prince Road, Bluefield, WV 24701

Monongalia County
Friday, July 10
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Morgantown Farmer’s Market (Downtown): 400 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
Saturday, July 11
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Mountainview Elementary School: 661 Green Bag Road, Morgantown, WV 26508

Preston County
Friday, July 10 & Saturday, July 11
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Kingwood Elementary School: 207 South Price Street, Kingwood, WV 26537

Upshur County
Friday, July 10 & Saturday, July 11

10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Buckhannon-Upshur High School: 270 B-U Drive, Buckhannon, WV 26201 
Friday, July 10 & Saturday, July 11
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
78 Queens Alley, Rock Cave, WV 26234 

Wayne County
Friday, July 10
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Dunlow Community Center: 1475 Left Fork Dunlow Bypass Road, Dunlow, WV 25511
Saturday, July 11
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wayne Elementary School: 80 McGinnis Drive, Wayne, WV 25570

 

 

CITIES/COUNTIES GRANT FUNDING: $29.6 MILLION HAS NOW BEEN AWARDED
Also today, Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act, reporting that more than $29.6 million has now been awarded all across the state.

A new web portal is now available for city and county government officials to apply for this grant funding, at grants.wv.gov. Interested parties can also call the helpline: 1-833-94-GRANT.

Each of the recipients of CARES Act funding, along with grant amounts, are now available to view through the COVID-19 transparency web portal provided by West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.

 

WEST VIRGINIA STRONG SUMMER FOOD ASSISTANCE MAP
Also, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginians that an interactive free-feeding location map, designed to help connect citizens in need to food resources across the state, is available online.

Click here to view the map

More than 690 free-feeding locations have now been made available through a multi-agency effort between the West Virginia National Guard, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD), and the United Way.

If food distribution locations aren't available in some communities, individuals are encouraged to call 211 for further assistance.

 

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS
Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 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: 2020census.gov.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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 Coronavirus.wv.gov.

 


Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

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

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

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