Governor loosens restrictions on businesses, social gatherings and more

During last Friday’s briefing, Governor Jim Justice announced that, after con- tinued discussions with members of the West Virginia pandemic response leadership team regarding the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases and the increasing number of vaccinated West Virginians, he is lifting capacity restrictions on several types of West Virginia businesses, increasing the social gathering limit, and permitting more youth travel sports to take place.

Restaurants and Bars
On Friday, Gov. Justice signed Executive Order 8-21, which increases the capacity limit for all restaurants and bars to 100% of their seating capacity; up from 75% previously.

This change applies only if social distancing can be maintained between groups that arrive and sit together.

Bars may only increase capacity to the extent that they have physical seating for every patron. No standing room for people to congregate will be allowed.

This change became effective at midnight Friday, March 5.

These businesses must still continue to follow all applicable safety guidelines, including, but not limited to, mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

Small Businesses, Retail Stores and Grocery Stores

At the direction of Governor Justice, the DHHR has amended its rules to lift all capacity limitations for small businesses, retail stores and grocery stores, provided that all such businesses continue to follow all applicable safety guidelines, including, but not limited to, mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

Other Venues

The Governor also announced that he will be increasing the capacity limit for other businesses that still had capacity restrictions, such as gyms, fitness centers and museums, to 100% of their capacity.

These businesses must also continue to follow all applicable safety guidelines, including, but not limited to, mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

Social Gathering Limit

Executive Order 8-21 also increases the social gathering limit to 100 people; up from 75 previously.

This limitation applies only for any gathering of people for purely social purposes. The limitation does not apply to any activity, business or entity that has been deemed essential, such as religious services, weddings, group meetings, conferences or other special events held for essential businesses and operations.

This change became effective at midnight Friday, March 5.

Those partaking in such purely social gatherings must continue to social distance, wear face coverings, and follow all other applicable safety guidelines.

Youth Travel Sports

Executive Order 8-21 also allows all youth travel sports to take place, except for games, practices or any other types of competition within counties designated as “Red” in the DHHR’s County Alert System map (Click “County Alert System” tab).

This restriction on Red counties does not apply to teams that play in defined, relatively small geographic areas, such as within a single county or a few counties in the state of West Virginia.

This change went into effect at midnight Friday, March 5.

Those participating in such youth travel sports must continue to follow all applicable safety guidelines.

more recommended stories