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Gov. Justice says more vaccinations needed to remove mask mandate

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 11:53 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A day after the CDC made changes to its mask guidelines, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said the state will not be changing its mask mandate at this time.

Justice said the mask mandate will remain in place until at least 70 percent of West Virginians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, 41 percent of people are fully vaccinated and 52 percent have received at least one dose of vaccine.

The governor added that the new CDC guidelines mainly allow fully vaccinated people to take their masks off when outside, and West Virginia does not currently require people wear a mask while outside in public.

“We are absolutely getting closer and closer and closer,” Justice said about eliminating the mask mandate. “We do not have to sit around and think about wearing this mask forever and a day. We do not have to do that. Just absolutely bear with all the facts that all the folks that have passed away, so this mask did help us.”

“It’s a pain in the butt,” Justice said. “I want rid of it so bad it’s unbelievable. We’ve just got to cling to it a bit longer. Not, not, not forever by any stretch of the imagination. Not necessarily in any way until we get to 70 percent of our people, but all of the medical team that I have to listen to, I have to listen to the experts. I don’t just winging it on my own. I am not a doctor.”

Justice urged younger people to get vaccinated to get the state to the 70 percent vaccination figure. He said 85 percent of people over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, but very few people from ages 16 to 35 have signed up. He is hopeful a new savings bond program giving $100 to people who have been vaccinated will help improve those numbers and allow the mask mandate to go away.

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