COVID-19 UPDATE Gov. Justice lessens restrictions on several types of businesses, schools, social gatherings, and more

2/19/2021

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.

GOV. JUSTICE LESSENS RESTRICTIONS ON SEVERAL TYPES OF BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, SOCIAL GATHERINGS, AND MORE
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that, after numerous discussions with members of the West Virginia pandemic response leadership team and other state leaders regarding the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases and the increasing number of vaccinated West Virginians, he has decided to issue a series of executive orders, lessening restrictions on several types of businesses, as well as schools, social gatherings, and more.

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Restaurants and Bars
Gov. Justice has signed Executive Order 6-21, increasing the capacity limit for all restaurants and bars from 50 percent of their seating capacity to 75 percent seating capacity.

This change applies only if social distancing can be maintained between groups that arrive and sit together.

Bars may only increase capacity to the extent that they have physical seating for every patron. No standing room for people to congregate will be allowed.

This change will be effective at midnight tonight.

These businesses must still continue to follow all applicable safety guidelines, including, but not limited to, mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

Click here to view updated guidance for restaurants and bars
Click here to view all guidance documents

Small Businesses and Retail Stores
At the direction of Gov. Justice, the DHHR has amended its rules on capacity limitations for small businesses, retail stores, and grocery stores.

For small businesses and retail stores, capacity will be permitted to increase from 2 people per 1,000 square feet to 4 people per 1,000 square feet.

For grocery stores, capacity will be permitted to increase from 3 people per 1,000 square feet to 6 people per 1,000 square feet.

These businesses must still continue to follow all applicable safety guidelines, including, but not limited to, mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

Click here to view all guidance documents

Social Gathering Limit
Executive Order 6-21 also raises the social gathering limit from 25 people to 75 people.

This limitation applies only for any gathering of people for purely social purposes. The limitation does not apply to any activity, business, or entity that has been deemed essential, such as religious services, weddings, or group meetings, conferences, or other special events held for essential businesses and operations, as defined by Executive Order 9-20, as amended.

Those partaking in such purely social gatherings must continue to social distance, wear face coverings, and follow all other applicable safety guidelines.

Click here to view all guidance documents

Schools and Sports
Gov. Justice went on to note that, by next week, all teachers and school service personnel over 50 years of age, who requested to be vaccinated, will be complete with their second dose.

As such, the Governor announced today that he is calling on the West Virginia Board of Education to make it mandatory that all counties send their students in grades Pre-K-8 back full-time. Gov. Justice also signed Executive Order 7-21, clarifying that all Pre-K-8 students in all counties statewide should be in school.

The Governor went on to add that he has been working with the WVSSAC regarding the upcoming winter sports season, which is currently set to commence on the spring sports calendar. The Governor announced that he has asked WVSSAC officials to work with all county school boards to ensure they have occupancy rules or attendance limitations that meet all social distancing requirements and all other guidelines.

Click here to view all guidance documents

Live Music
The Governor also issued a reminder that, following his briefing on Wednesday, he issued Executive Order 5-21, clarifying the existing prohibition on live indoor music performances.

Live music performances, except for those incorporating vocals or using wind instruments, may take place indoors, so long as the event is held in accordance with all applicable safety guidelines.

Live music incorporating vocals or using wind instruments may be performed indoors only for simulcast or other broadcast to remote audiences where no audience is physically present.

Click here to view updated guidance on hosting live performances
Click here to view all guidance documents

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia remains among the national leaders in the rate of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

To date, West Virginia has administered 258,451 first doses and 154,798 second doses, totaling 413,249 doses administered overall statewide out of a total allotment of 424,200 doses from the federal government; an overall administration rate of 97.4 percent.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
West Virginia boasts a first dose administration rate of 99.3 percent and a second dose administration rate of 94.4 percent.
  • First doses: 258,451 administered / 260,200 allotted
  • Second doses: 154,798 administered / 164,000 allotted
As of Friday morning, 8.3 percent of West Virginia's entire population has received both doses of the vaccines. West Virginia’s percentage remains among the highest such rates of fully vaccinated residents of any state in the nation.
The Governor also offered a reminder that free COVID-19 vaccination clinics either have been or will be held in all 55 counties across West Virginia by the end of this week through operation “Save Our Wisdom.”

The clinics are currently available for West Virginians who are 65 years of age and older. To date, 141,186 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated, including 69,709 who are now fully vaccinated.
Each clinic location has its own, unique schedule. Names are being pulled from the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System to fill out appointments after waitlists are exhausted. All clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted.

West Virginia was the first state in the nation to put a statewide vaccination pre-registration system in place. The new digital tool allows West Virginians to add themselves to a list of people who are interested in being vaccinated, and will notify those who sign up about the availability of vaccine doses to help streamline vaccination efforts.

To date, more than 269,000 West Virginians have signed up to be added to the pre-registration list.

All West Virginians over the age of 16 are encouraged to pre-register at vaccinate.wv.gov.
Vaccine supplies are limited, so pre-registration does not mean immediate access to vaccination. Pre-registration offers West Virginians the opportunity to receive real-time updates on vaccine availability and schedule an appointment when available as vaccine supplies allow. The vaccine registration system allows people to select their preferences for communication through text, email, or voicemail over regular phone lines.

West Virginians who need assistance with registration for any reason should call the COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line for help at 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Governor went on to say that increased emphasis on pre-registrations is needed in a handful of counties across the state, including Berkeley, Jackson, Jefferson, Mason, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Morgan, and Wayne counties. The Governor urged West Virginians in these counties with friends and family age 65 and older to help these individuals get pre-registered.

COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS UPDATE
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 9,624, down from 10,522 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday. This marks the first time West Virginia has fallen below 10,000 active cases since Nov. 15, 2020.

The number of daily active cases in West Virginia has now decreased for 34 straight days.

Additionally, over the first six weeks of 2021, West Virginia has experienced a 72 percent reduction in deaths.

The number of active hospitalizations is now 293, down from 320 on Wednesday, and the state’s first time under 300 hospitalizations since Nov. 10, 2020. Of those currently hospitalized, 68 patients are in the ICU, down from 74 such patients as of Wednesday.

The cumulative percent of positive cases has decreased to 5.52 percent, down from 5.54 percent on Wednesday.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data

FRIDAY MAP UPDATE
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab) throughout the week.

Red counties: 0
Orange counties: 9
Gold counties: 10
Yellow counties: 11
Green counties: 25

OUTBREAK REPORT
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that there remains just one church-related outbreak in all of West Virginia. The outbreak is in Fayette County and accounts for a total of 10 cases.

There are now 21 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, down from 25 such outbreaks as of the Governor’s previous briefing on Wednesday.

The Governor also reported that there are now 21 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up slightly from 20 on Wednesday. Meanwhile, there are now 11 active staff cases across the DCR system, up from three on Wednesday. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.

AGGRESSIVE TESTING CONTINUES ACROSS STATE
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 51 counties across the state that have free testing events scheduled through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.
This testing is available to all residents, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available online. Users can filter the map by type of testing site, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, as well as Walgreens and Fruth Pharmacy testing locations. Users can also filter by county. Each location is marked on the map with a pin. After finding a testing location nearby, users are able to click on the pin for more information about that particular testing site, including the specific location and timeframe during which testing will be held.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times, and more details

GOVERNOR DISCUSSES EXPANSION AT WEST VIRGINIA TOYOTA PLANT TO ADD 100 NEW JOBS TO REGION
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to discuss yesterday’s announcement by Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia’s (TMMWV) that, due to increased customer demand, the company will invest $210 million to upgrade its facility in Buffalo, WV, which will result in an additional 100 new jobs being added at this location.

Click here to read the Governor’s full statement on TMMWV’s announcement Thursday.

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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Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

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