Justice urges vaccinations, updates rules related to COVID

West Virginia Gov. Justice is urging all West Virginians who are age 16 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help curb the spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the recent increase in variant strains being seen across the state.

“You may be sitting there thinking, ‘Now that there have been a bunch of people that have gotten vaccinated, I can slide by and not get vaccinated,’” Gov. Justice said.

“Oh, what an incredible chance you’re taking,” he continued. “Not only do we still have the original COVID-19 situation to deal with, but now we’ve got all the variants that increase the chances of infection or death.”

At the Governor’s direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has established three fixed-location vaccination clinics in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.

All West Virginians age 65 and older are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting or calling the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Updated orders

The governor this week has lifted several restrictions put in place during the last year in response to the pandemic.

On Monday, he lifted limits on purely social gatherings and refined mask rules for those engaged in sports.

People who are actively engaged in sports, including gym workouts, no longer have to wear a mask at businesses and venues around the state. The new rules say those in gyms should wear face coverings when they aren’t engaged in activities.

Gov. Justice made it clear that masks and face coverings are still required indoors in businesses and facilities.

“We’ve got to stay on guard. We’ve still got to wear our masks,” the governor has said.

“There will be a point in time when we will be able to get rid of these masks. Nobody dislikes them any more than I do,” Gov. Justice said in previous press conferences about state rules. “But at the same time, for all that we know, they are a lifesaver.”

Other changes to the past year’s Executive Orders related to COVID can be reviewed on the governor’s website.