The Legal Brief
West Virginia Re-Open Plan
April 27, 2020
By: Kelley M. Goes
Governor Justice announced his plan for a partial re-opening of West Virginia. The “West Virginia Strong: The Comeback” plan requires that the state maintain a statewide cumulative percentage of positive COVID-19 test results below three percent for three consecutive days. The current cumulative percentage of positive coronavirus test results is 2.47%.
The plan permits businesses to reopen – but does not mandate reopening – and keeps current recommendations in place, including: encouraging West Virginians to continue to practice social distancing, to wear face coverings in public, to follow the Stay at Home Order until lifted; to follow all county health department guidelines, and to telework when possible. There is no timeline for reopening of nursing home visitation, movie theaters, sporting events, concerts, or any gatherings with more than 25 attendees. Reopening could slow, stop or reverse if there is an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, significant outbreaks of community transmission, or the cumulative percent of positive test results surges above 3%.
The rollout of businesses that can reopen with the current testing percentage is:
Hospitals may restart elective procedures.
Outpatient health care services, including primary care, dentistry, physical and occupational therapy, psychological services, etc., may resume.
Daycare staff may be tested.
Week Two: (all openings require physical distancing, sanitization, and face coverings)
Small business with fewer than 10 employees may open.
Professional services, like hair and nail salons, barbershops, and dog groomers may take customers by appointment only and no waiting inside.
Restaurants can offer outdoor dining.
Church services and funerals may resume with limited size, physical distancing and face coverings.
Weeks Three through Six: (with announcements at least one week prior to reopening)
The following establishments can reopen:
- Office/government buildings,
- Special retail stores,
- Parks and associated facilities, gyms,
- Dine-in restaurants,
- Spas, and
- Remaining small businesses.
The Governor indicated that plans will be announced a week in advance of each phase and that several things could slow, stop or even reverse the reopening. Slides from today’s update by the Governor can be viewed here.