W.Va. fitness centers closed for two weeks; restaurants allowed carry out only

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 6:07 PM EDT
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Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday has confirmed a case of the novel coronavirus in West Virginia.

He the case involves a person in the Eastern Panhandle. State health officials say the man did not need to be hospitalized, and the case is being handled on an out-patient basis.

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, West Virginia, through its public health lab, has tested 137 residents for COVID-19, with 122 results coming back negative and 14 tests pending.

"The last days and the last weeks have been tough," Gov. Justice said.

The governor says he is also closing restaurants, bars and casinos. WSAZ has confirmed the closures will happen at midnight. These businesses will be closed for two weeks. At that time, the state will reevaluate the situation, according to state officials.

State leaders say restaurants are allowed to keep offering drive thru and carry out service.

"None of us have ever gone through a pandemic," said Gov. Justice.

Customers will still be able to get takeout.

On Wednesday, Gov. Justice added gyms and fitness centers to the closure list for at least two weeks .

"West Virginia is absolutely the greatest place on Earth, the greatest people," said Gov. Justice.

In a statement, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said, "I support Governor Justice’s decision to close restaurants, bars, and casinos because we must do everything we can to slow this virus down. We must also support our small businesses and their employees during this difficult time while they make sacrifices for the health of our state and our nation. I hope that the announcement of the first case in West Virginia will encourage every individual to take this virus seriously and follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves and our communities."

West Virginia residents whose driver's licenses or vehicle registrations are expiring soon will get an automatic extension in response to the new coronavirus.

The Division of Motor Vehicles is closing to the public starting Thursday to reduce possible exposure to both customers and employees.

The Department of Transportation says the DMV's Charleston headquarters will remain operational with a smaller staff to process online and mail-in business transactions.

The DMV is extending the expiration date by three months for any driver's license, instructional permit or vehicle registration expiring in March or April.

These transactions can still be done online or by mail and do not require a trip to a regional office.