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State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305
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reduces social gathering limit; closes fairs, festivals, and
concerts statewide due to rise in COVID-19 cases
daily number of new COVID-19 cases continuing to climb across West
Virginia, Gov. Justice announced Monday that he has issued an executive order reducing
the statewide social gathering limit from 100 to 25 individuals.
The 25-person limitation applies only to purely social gatherings.
It 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.
Such meetings, conferences, or other special events will need to plan
for social distancing between attendees based on CDC
Additionally, on Monday, Gov. Justice announced that the same executive order also
closes all fairs, festivals, and similar events, and prohibits both
indoor and outdoor concerts statewide.
This order went into effect Tuesday, July 14.
makes applications available for West Virginia CARES Act Small
Business Grant Program
his briefing Wednesday, Gov. Justice made
applications available online for small
businesses seeking to receive funding through the Governor’s West
Virginia CARES Act Small Business Grant Program. The initiative
will provide $150 million of West Virginia’s CARES Act funding to
qualifying businesses across the state. Any West Virginia-based
small business, in existence on February 29, 2020, with 1-35
employees, will be able to apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding.
Businesses planning to apply must first register as a vendor with
the State. Guidelines for the grants and instructions on how to
apply are available at Grants.wv.gov.
orders bars closed in Monongalia County for 10 days
Gov. Justice announced that he has issued another executive order,
closing all bars in Monongalia County for 10 days, after seeing a
significant spike in positive cases in the area in recent days.
“This is a real hotspot,” Gov. Justice said. “Their rise in active
cases and the number of community-based outbreaks is extremely
concerning. With their current active cases at 340, we must act
right now to stop this from getting any worse.
“Students are coming back to school and a huge threat is the
students congregating at the bars,” Gov. Justice continued. “During
that 10-day period, I am very hopeful that what’s going to happen
is that we’re going to begin to see a correction in the numbers.”
Justice pointed out that, according to recent information from the
Texas Medical Association, going to bars ranks among the riskiest
activities possible when it comes to furthering the spread of
COVID-19. Monongalia County restaurants that also include bars
will have their bars closed, but will be permitted to continue
restaurant service, including the sale of alcoholic beverages to
dine-in customers. This order went into effect on Tuesday, July 14.
again sets national example in COVID-19 response
Wednesday, Gov. Justice pointed out that one of the nation’s
leading governmental health agencies has once again followed West
Virginia’s lead in its COVID-19 response.
“When we saw our numbers really start to spike, we made it
mandatory for everybody in our state to wear a face covering,” Gov.
Justice said. “Yesterday, the CDC followed our lead and is now
officially calling for all Americans to wear face coverings to
prevent the spread of COVID-19. Other states like Ohio and Kentucky
have followed suit.
“This has happened over and over in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice
continued. “We were the first state in the nation to test every
resident and employee at all of our nursing homes and assisted
living facilities. Once again, the CDC followed us there too and
asked all states to do the same.”
again urges churchgoers to follow safety guidelines
Gov. Justice announced that several new church-related outbreaks of
COVID-19 have been identified at places of worship in Boone,
Kanawha, Raleigh, and Taylor counties. The Governor urged all West
Virginians in church settings to follow the State’s safety
guidelines, including using every other pew, maintaining social
distancing, and wearing face coverings.
And on Monday after receiving reports of large church gatherings in
various places across the state last weekend, Gov. Justice again
urged all West Virginians to wear face coverings and properly
social distance from one another to help prevent further spread of
“It is absolutely mandatory that you wear a mask to church and it
is only the smart thing to do,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going the
wrong way here. We’ve got to get this thing turned around and going
the way we want it to go.
“I’m a Christian and I’m really proud of it,” Gov. Justice
continued. “I truly understand the importance of church and I
understand that it is the highest priority in our lives and I get
it. But then I see a photo of one of our church settings and
there’s no one anywhere in the congregation that’s got a mask on.
There’s no pews in-between people. We’re just asking for it."
Coronavirus Czar address COVID-19 misconceptions
Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice and West Virginia Coronavirus Czar,
Dr. Clay Marsh, took time to discuss common misconceptions about
the dangers associated with COVID-19, particularly when it comes to
its fatality rate.
“It’s really, really important that we get the most accurate data,”
Gov. Justice said. “I’ve had people call me and claim, incorrectly,
that 99.93 percent of the people who get this disease don’t die.
“That is a total error,” Gov. Justice said.
Dr. Marsh elaborated that the worldwide mortality rate associated
with COVID-19 is approximately 4 percent.
“Also, I’m getting people that are incorrectly saying that COVID-19
is just like the flu,” Gov. Justice said.
“That is untrue,” Dr. Marsh said. “The flu has a mortality rate, at
the most, of 0.1 percent.
“With COVID-19, the long-term manifestations that we’re seeing with
brain functioning and other problems, even from people who get
better, are substantial,” Dr. Marsh continued. “It’s much, much
worse than the flu.”
“West Virginia, you’ve got to understand that you are among the
oldest states, the most chronically ill, and you’re located right
in the middle of several hotspots across the region,” Gov. Justice
said. “I’ve asked you to wear a mask. I don’t like the masks. But
I’m telling you they’re the only thing we have right now to protect
announces July income tax collections far exceeding estimates
Gov. Justice announced that so far in Fiscal Year 2021, which began
on July 1, 2020, personal income tax collections of $192.6 million
were more than $51.1 million above estimates. Additionally,
corporate net income tax collections came in more than $50.1
million ahead of estimates. The filing deadline was extended from
the traditional date of April 15, 2020, by three months to July 15,
2020, in response to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
and to align with the federal government’s income tax filing
extension to the same date.
Gov. Justice noted that the early boost for FY2021 comes just a few
weeks after general revenue collections for FY2020 finished at a
surplus, outpacing budget estimates that were made based on the
record-setting revenue growth seen in West Virginia during FY2019,
all without collecting income tax for the year.
announces additional free COVID-19 testing sites
free community COVID-19 testing continued this week at various
dates and times in Barbour, Berkeley, Harrison, Mercer, and
Monongalia counties. 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 available TODAY, Saturday, July 18, at the following
7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Patriot Antique Center and Flea Market: 615 King Street,
7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Ranson Civic Center: 432 W. 2nd Avenue, Ranson, WV
8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
WVU Coliseum: 3450 Monongahela Boulevard, Morgantown, WV
More than 13
million meals provided to West Virginia children since March
Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that from March through July 13,
more than 13.5 million meals have been provided to West Virginia
children through the variety of feeding programs underway across
the state. Department of Education leaders anticipate that a total
of more than 17 million meals will be provided to children by the
end of the summer through the State’s feeding programs.
announces drop in unemployment continues
Justice has announced that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted
unemployment rate dropped more than two percentage points in June
to 10.4 percent.
“The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 21,400
people,” Gov. Justice said. “And we’re doing slightly better than
the national unemployment rate of 11.1 percent in June."
announces more than $44 million awarded in CARES Act grant funding
Gov. Justice provided an update on cities and counties throughout
West Virginia applying for funds through the federal CARES Act,
reporting that more than $44.5 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.
announces $2.1 million in Child Advocacy Center grant awards for
Justice announced Wednesday that he has awarded $2,118,677 in Child
Advocacy Center grant program funds to 22 projects. These funds are
awarded to local nonprofit Child Advocacy Centers throughout the
state to address the growing problem of child abuse and neglect.
Gov. Justice's awards are focused on a multidisciplinary response
to investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases
by providing such services as advocacy, education, forensic
interviews, evaluations, and referrals. The West Virginia
Legislature reappropriated funding to implement a system of child
advocacy centers throughout the state. This funding is intended to
provide grant relief to be passed through the Justice and Community
Services section of the West Virginia Division of Administrative
Services to those child advocacy centers in need of
supplemental financial assistance.
offers condolences following death of former state legislator
Justice took time out of his briefing Friday to offer his
condolences and prayers following the death of former West Virginia
Senator and Delegate Shirley Love. Love, who was 87 years old,
represented the Oak Hill area of Fayette County in the West
Virginia Legislature as a Senator from 1994-2008 and later as a
member of the House of Delegates from 2016-2018. His death was not
Justice issued a proclamation, ordering all United States and West
Virginia flags at the Capitol Complex and all state-owned
facilities in Fayette County be displayed at half-staff, from dawn
to dusk on Monday, July 20, 2020, in commemoration of Love. He was
also well-known as a television and radio broadcaster in West
Virginia for more than 40 years.
Clothing Allowance Application Period Delayed Due to COVID-19
Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau
for Children and Families, has delayed the application period for
the School Clothing Allowance (SCA) program due to COVID-19. The
program will be moving to an electronic format to allow SCA
recipients to make online purchases to reduce health risks.
Previously, purchases were limited to in-store transactions. SCA
provides funds for eligible West Virginia children to purchase
clothing and shoes for back to school. Funds may also be used for
the purchase of piece goods to sew clothing. Revised dates for
the SCA application period as well as new guidance related to
online shopping will be announced in the coming weeks. In 2019,
more than 42,000 West Virginia families received a school clothing
finalists announced for 2021 West Virginia Teacher of the Year
Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has selected five educators
as finalists for the prestigious West Virginia Teacher of the Year
Award. All finalists serve their counties as the 2020 County
Teacher of the Year and include elementary, middle, high school,
and career technical education educators from across the state.
This year’s finalists are Erin Anderson, Tennerton Elementary
School, Upshur County; Michael Knepper, Mussleman High School,
Berkeley County; Jessica Markwood, Moorefield High School, Hardy
County; Meghan Salter, Martha Elementary School, Cabell County; and
Lisa Smith, Blennerhassett Elementary School, Wood County. The
announcement was made during the July meeting of the West Virginia
Board of Education.
Kanawha River Cleanup canceled due to COVID-19
The 31st annual
Great Kanawha River Cleanup, sponsored by the West Virginia
Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) Rehabilitation
Environmental Action Plan (REAP), has been canceled due to the
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event, which normally takes place
the first Saturday in September, helps clean up sites along the
Kanawha River such as Winfield Beach, the South Charleston boat
ramp, and Kanawha Falls at Glen Ferris. Last year’s cleanup saw 133
volunteers spend a total of 290 hours to help remove 3.5 tons of
litter and 361 tires from six sites along the Kanawha River and its
tributaries. The event is expected to resume in 2021.
applications for West Virginia Emerging Artists Juried Exhibition
Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History is currently
accepting submissions for the 2020 West Virginia Emerging Artists
Juried Exhibition through July 31, 2020. The exhibit will open
Sept. 20 at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in
Charleston. Eligible artists may submit two pieces for the
exhibit jurying in painting, print/drawing, mixed media, craft/wall
hangings, photography, digital art, and sculpture. The pieces that
are entered must have been created between 2018 and 2020. Digital
images, not original pieces, are submitted for the jurying process.
To be eligible to enter the exhibition, artists must be 18 years of
age or older and maintain a permanent domicile in West Virginia.
Exceptions to this requirement are made for students and military
personnel who have West Virginia resident status and a home address
in the state. The Department will present three awards for the
exhibition. The Best of Show/Purchase Award will by $1,000. Second
place will receive $500 and third place will receive $250.
Virginians urged to participate in the 2020 Census
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.
Gov. Justice issues executive order extending
the deadline for Municipal Home Rule Program payments
WVDEP extending comment period on restoration
plan for Upper Guyandotte River Watershed
WVDNR highlights construction progress at new
Wildlife Education Center
WVDNR details geese banding project done in
Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce