HUNTINGTON — The fourth phase of West Virginia’s reopening of businesses will begin just before Memorial Day weekend, allowing dine-in restaurants to open at 50% capacity as well as outdoor recreation rentals.
Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday “Week 4” of his comeback plan will begin Thursday, May 21. Along with dine-in restaurants and outdoor recreation rentals like kayaks, large/specialty retail shops can reopen. With the exception of malls, most retail will be reopen May 21.
Campgrounds will also reopen for in-state residents only and some public restrooms will reopen. Outdoor motor and power racing can resume with no spectators. May 21 will also bring an end to Justice’s executive order that required out-of-state travelers staying in West Virginia to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The governor said youth sports like baseball and softball could possibly be resuming in early June. More contact sports like football will have to wait longer, though.
“West Virginians, you need to remain as focused as you possibly can,” Justice said during his daily press briefing Monday. “I would caution everyone, as we’re reopening, to surely wear a mask when you’re indoors and to do everything you can possibly do to wash your hands and maintain social distancing. Protect our elderly.”
Justice said the decision was made to start the new “week” on Thursday instead of Monday to give the state a little more time, but they did want to still reopen by Memorial Day weekend. Last week, Dr. Clay Marsh, state coronavirus czar, said the reopening had been slowed to be able to see the health outcomes of the initial reopenings.
Marsh said the transmission rate has remained fairly steady over the weekend, at about .80. He said that rate is one of the guiding lights as the reopenings continue.
Three new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported Monday, bringing the total to 57. The fatalities included a 70-year-old female from Jackson County, an 89-year-old male from Kanawha County and a 56-year-old female from Nicholas County.
There were only seven new positive cases of the virus reported statewide Monday, though the overall testing has gone down recently, partly due to the completion of testing at state nursing homes. As of 5 p.m. Monday, there had been 64,165 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 1,369 positive and 62,796 negative.
Total confirmed cases by county: Barbour (seven), Berkeley (191), Boone (nine), Braxton (two), Brooke (three), Cabell (53), Clay (two), Fayette (34), Gilmer (eight), Grant (three), Greenbrier (eight), Hampshire (nine), Hancock (12), Hardy (17), Harrison (34), Jackson (136), Jefferson (88), Kanawha (186), Lewis (four), Lincoln (five), Logan (13), Marion (46), Marshall (22), Mason (13), McDowell (six), Mercer (11), Mineral (22), Mingo (three), Monongalia (113), Monroe (six), Morgan (17), Nicholas (eight), Ohio (36), Pendleton (five), Pleasants (two), Pocahontas (two), Preston (14), Putnam (28), Raleigh (10), Randolph (five), Ritchie (one), Roane (eight), Summers (one), Taylor (eight), Tucker (four), Tyler (three), Upshur (five), Wayne (93), Wetzel (six), Wirt (three), Wood (43), Wyoming (one).
More than half of all positive cases have recovered.