West Virginia businesses can now operate at full capacity

Mask mandates still in effect

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice last Friday said all state businesses can operate all their full capacity, including restaurants, bars, grocery stores, retail outlets and fitness centers.

The change went into effect over the weekend.

Business are still asked to follow Covid-19 safety guidelines, said state officials. Those include mandatory face coverings in public spaces and social distancing.

Bars can only allow capacity where they have physical seating for every customer, meaning they cannot have more customers than seats in an establishment.

The governor also set the allowed social gathering limit at 100 people. It had previously been raised to 75 people.

“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,” the governor’s order says.

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

Gov. Justice said the changes came after consulting with his pandemic response team and tracking the decline of Covid-19 cases and death rates across the state.

Youth travel sports have also been restored, except where a county is designated as “Red” on the state’s County Alert System map. That color indicates very high community transmission of the respiratory disease.