COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice lifts face covering requirement for fully vaccinated West Virginians


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing today to update the public on the State’s latest pandemic response efforts.
During Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice outlined the CDC’s recent announcement that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

The Governor went on to announce that he would be signing an executive order to immediately modify West Virginia’s face covering requirement to follow the updated CDC guidance for fully vaccinated West Virginians.

“Our face covering requirement no longer applies to you if you are fully vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said.
The Governor emphasized that the lifting of the face covering requirement only applies to those who have been fully vaccinated; meaning that at least two weeks have elapsed since the administration of a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or that at least two weeks have elapsed since the administration of a first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement is still in effect for all West Virginians who are not yet fully vaccinated, and will remain in effect for these individuals until June 20, 2021.

Additionally, any private business or school system can still require individuals to wear a mask, regardless of the CDC’s new guidelines.

“It’s a great day, from the standpoint of us that are fully vaccinated, to be able to walk around and not worry about this crazy mask stuff, even though they have saved so many lives,” Gov. Justice said. “I don’t know if there’s a motivator out there that could possibly be any better than those for those that have not been vaccinated. For crying out loud, if you don’t like the masks, go get vaccinated as quickly as you can so you can share in this enjoyment.

“We have got to continue to work toward getting more and more folks vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going to continue to do that, and we’re on a pathway to have a whale of a celebration on June the 20th.”

As part of the Governor’s recently announced “Call to Arms” vaccine initiative, State COVID-19 pandemic response leaders have set goals of vaccinating 65% of all eligible West Virginians, 75% of West Virginians age 50 and older, and 85% of West Virginians age 65 and older with at least one dose by West Virginia’s 158th birthday on June 20, 2021; the same day that the Governor plans to lift the Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement.
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia will end its participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs, effective June 19, 2021, at midnight.

“West Virginians have access to thousands of jobs right now,” Gov. Justice said. “We need everyone back to work. Our small businesses and West Virginia’s economy depend on it.”
This change includes the additional $300 weekly payment as well as benefits for self-employed.

Any weeks filed before June 19 that are eligible under federal program requirements will continue to be processed.

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“We’ve got to have you back to work,” Gov. Justice said. “America is all about work. That’s what has made this great country. For us to not be back to work, if you’re just taking advantage of these programs, that time is over. It needs to end and we need to move forward.”
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice announced that after the U.S. FDA and the U.S. CDC both authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in children ages 12-15 earlier this week, West Virginia vaccine distribution officials have now begun administering vaccinations to children in this age range.

Boone, Brooke, and Putnam counties are holding clinics this week in schools for children ages 12-15.

“We have 15 counties that are scheduled to hold clinics next week. The Department of Education estimates that there are 78,000 kids that are eligible in our schools,” Gov. Justice said. “We will offer vaccines to all students 12-15 years of age with permission of their guardians, and all of these will also offer vaccines to all eligible West Virginians as they come in, whether they be other students, parents, educators, whomever they may be.”
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has agreed to transfer approximately 6,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the State of Delaware.  

“We’ve had them for a little bit too long and they’re set to expire in early June,” Gov. Justice said. “We want to help take care of our neighbors.”

At this time, Delaware has no federal allocations from which to order.

The transfer of these soon-to-expire doses will have no impact on vaccine distribution in West Virginia.

“We currently have on hand 33,000 doses of Pfizer, 20,000 doses of Moderna, and 20,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson, and we can immediately continue to order hundreds of thousands of doses,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re good to go.”
Gov. Justice announced Friday that the State of West Virginia has now administered 1,349,636 vaccine doses out of a total allotment of 1,608,600 doses from the federal government; an overall administration rate of 83.9%.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Factoring in federal partnerships and other vaccination programs, more than 1.48 million vaccine doses have been administered to West Virginians to date.

Out of 1,474,615 eligible West Virginians, 828,482 (56.2%) have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 691,758 (46.9%) have been fully vaccinated.

Out of the 367,011 West Virginians ages 65 and older, 295,064 (80.4%) have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 264,089 (72.0%) have been fully vaccinated.
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 12 and older.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged to visit or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 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.

West Virginia is offering a $100 incentive to all residents ages 16-35 to encourage younger residents to get vaccinated. More information on this program will be provided as it becomes available. The $100 incentive will be retroactive, meaning all West Virginians ages 16-35 who have already been vaccinated will also receive their $100 incentive.

The Governor also offered a reminder that free COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held at all West Virginia State Parks and State Forests between now and Memorial Day. Several state park and forest locations will host clinics prior to Memorial Day. Then, on Memorial Day weekend, all West Virginia State Parks and Forests will offer vaccines to employees, employees’ families, and park guests. Further details will be posted at as they become available.

West Virginia also continues to implement several new ideas to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible than ever.

In addition to clinic locations, vaccinations continue to be made available at Walgreens locations, the Med Shoppe/Leader network of pharmacies, Walmart locations, and additional independent pharmacies throughout the state as part of the federal pharmacy partnership in West Virginia.

West Virginians can go to for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) on COVID-19 vaccines continues to reach out to manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families by organizing vaccination clinics at these facilities.

Additionally, church leaders are still urged to contact the JIATF for help organizing vaccination clinics for interested members of their congregations.

Anyone interested in organizing one of these vaccination clinics is asked to contact the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
Gov. Justice reported Friday that the current number of active cases in the state is now 6,615, down from 6,716 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

There have been 297 new positive cases and five deaths reported over the past 24 hours.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 255, down from 264 on Wednesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 86 are in the ICU, down from 90 on Wednesday.

The cumulative percent of positive cases remains 5.13%.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
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: 1
Orange counties: 13
Gold counties: 8
Yellow counties: 12
Green counties: 21
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that there remain eight active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia. The active outbreaks are located in Greenbrier, Hardy, Jackson, Nicholas, and Ritchie counties and account for a total of 152 cases.

There are now 17 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, up from 14 such outbreaks as of the Governor’s previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

The Governor also reported that there are now 13 active inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from 11 such cases on Wednesday. Meanwhile, there are now seven active staff cases across the DCR system, down from nine such cases on Wednesday. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 50 counties across the state that currently 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 or 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
Following Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice noted that the Colonial Pipeline has resumed operations and is now running at full capacity again.

All gasoline supply issues in West Virginia are expected to be resolved very soon.

During his previous briefing on Wednesday, the Governor took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to urge West Virginians to avoid unnecessarily hoarding large amounts of gasoline amid recent concerns in other states regarding the pipeline, explaining that the majority of the gasoline that comes into West Virginia comes via the Plantation Pipeline, not the Colonial Pipeline.
Also following Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that, in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day, he has issued a proclamation, ordering that all United States and West Virginia flags on all State-owned facilities throughout West Virginia be displayed at half-staff from dawn to dusk tomorrow; Saturday, May 15, 2021.

Click here to read more
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
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