Governor limits gatherings to 25 people as COVID cases rise

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced on Monday that an Executive Order would immediately reduce the size of social gatherings statewide from 100 to 25 people.

“We want everyone to know this is not playtime stuff,” Gov. Justice said. “We now, in West Virginia, have 1,338 active cases. We have grown 206 active cases since I saw you the last time on Friday.

“We are in great shape with our hospitals. But there’s no guarantee that it’s going to stay that way,” Gov. Justice continued. “So we have got to significantly restrict the crowd size again.”

The limit applies only to “purely social” gatherings, the governor said. 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.

Exempt special events will still be expected to incorporate social distancing between attendees.

This order went into effect at midnight on Monday.

Also on Monday, Gov. Justice said he has closed all fairs, festivals, indoor and outdoor concerts statewide.

“It’s no fun to close things,” Gov. Justice said. “But we’ve got to do the things that are going to be the prudent things for all West Virginians, so we can still do many of the things that we love to do.”

Justice said he received reports of large church gatherings around the state over the past weekend –some where members were not distanced or using masks.

Gov. Justice again urged all West Virginians to wear face coverings and properly social distance from one another to help prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“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.”

A full listing of the governor’s Executive Orders can be found at https://governor.wv.gov.

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