BUCKHANNON — Many pandemic restrictions placed on West Virginia businesses were further lifted by Gov. Jim Justice on Friday, as the state’s positive cases and death toll has finally started to decline.
Restaurants and bars can now resume 100% seating capacity as long as they can maintain social distancing between groups that arrive and sit together; however, no standing room will be permitted in bars.
The governor also announced capacity restrictions were being lifted on small businesses, stores, fitness centers and museums, as he moved the state’s social gathering limit up from 75 to 100.
Justice emphasized the importance of continuing to wear masks and socially distance. “We do continue to expect you to wear these masks,” Gov. Justice said. “You know, I’m not a fan of the masks either. But, at the same time, we know they’ve saved a lot of lives, and we know we’re too early in the game to let our guard down.”
Although no official changes have been implemented yet, the governor said he is working with his leadership team to hopefully find ways that will allow fairs and festivals to proceed this year, while also maintaining safety. “I know that our fairs and festivals are hurting,” said Gov. Justice. “We’re looking forward to being able to enable these events to take place, I hope you continue to plan for that to become a reality. As we get closer, we will clarify the different guidelines, but I’m very, very hopeful that our fairs and festivals will go on like they have in the past.”
Additionally, youth travel sports teams will be permitted to practice and compete in non-“red” counties, but that restriction will not apply to teams that play in defined spaces, such as within a single county or a few counties within the state.