Gov. Justice announces WV Strong: The Comeback; reopening criteria for the Mountain State


WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Gov. Justice and state officials provided an update for media on COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit

Gov. Jim Justice announced the deaths of West Virginians over the weekend. There are now 36 people who have passed away due to COVID-19.

The second round of the Paycheck Protection Program began on Monday, April 27. The Governor asked small businesses to reapply if they have not received this benefit.

Monday is the first day for hospitals to apply with the WVDHHR to reopen. As they reopen, that will get 11,000 people back to work, according to the Governor.

“At the end of the day, West Virginians will win this by running across the finish line together,” said Gov. Justice.

The Governor is asking West Virginia’s to watch the infection rate in the state which was trending at 4-percent. As nursing homes were tested, that number trended down and is now below 3-percent. The Governor said if that continues the state will start to reopen. The plan to restart the state is as follows:

‘West Virginia Strong: The Comeback.

  • Expanded Testing Capacity
  • Increased Hospital Surge Capacity
  • Ramping up Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Ramping up Contact Tracing
  • Continue Practicing Physical Distancing
  • Wear face coverings in public where social distancing is difficult
  • Follow statewide Stay at Home order
  • Follow all county Health Department regulations
  • Telework when possible

Opening Criteria

  • Three consecutive days of positive test results below 3-percent.
  • Allowing to open, NOT requiring to open

Week 1

  • Hospitals and elective medical procedures
  • Outpatient Healthcare
    • Primary Care
    • Dentistry
    • Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy
    • Pyschological/Mental Health
  • Testing of Daycare staff

Week 2

  • Small Businesses with less than 10 employees
  • Professional Services (by appointment only, waiting in vehicles)
    • Hair and Nail Salons
    • Dog Grooming
  • Outdoor dining at restaurants
  • Churches and funerals with limited gathering size (every other pew, physical distancing, face coverings)

ALL with physical distancing, sanitization, face coverings

Weeks 3-6

  • Office/Government Buildings
  • Specialty Retail Stores
  • Parks and/or restrooms and facilities at parks
  • Gyms
  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Spas
  • Remaining Small Businesses

There is no timeline for reopening visitation at nursing homes, entertainment venues (movie theaters, sporting events, concerts), gatherings larger than 25 people. If there is an unexpected increase in COVID-19 positive hospitalizations, the reopening will be slowed, stopped or reversed.

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