Kanawha Boulevard to close to traffic this weekend

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ)-- Kanawha Boulevard will close down to cars Saturday in order to allow space for families to get outside and enjoy the weather during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Stay home. But if you are going to get out, and unless we tell people you may not go outside, people are going to go outside," said Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin.

Mayor Goodwin decided to close down the boulevard to traffic when she saw how close people were on the narrow path that lines it. She says it is not big enough for families with a stroller or bikes to be six feet apart and enjoy the outdoors safely.

"If you do not have a backyard and you need to get out for your mental health, this is a safe opportunity," said Mayor Goodwin.

Dr. Clay Marsh is West Virginia's Coronavirus Czar and he does not want people to fall into old habits that could spread the virus when the boulevard is opened.

"What I suggested to Mayor Goodwin was we should send a message that we really don't want people to be outside in groups at all," said Dr. Marsh.

Mayor Goodwin says they are still deciding on whether to open restrooms but agrees with Dr. Marsh that people should stay home if they can.

"Our bottom line was its fine to open up more space but we should be very consistent in right now to stay in our house, to stay home if you need to go out, go out but then go back in your home," said Dr. Marsh.

Mayor Goodwin says Charleston Police will keep an eye on the situation.

"If there are folks who are congregating and getting together we are going to make sure that that doesn't happen, " said Mayor Goodwin. "We are going to shut it down."