Stay-at-home order issued in West Virginia

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 1:36 PM EDT
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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has issued a stay-at-home order effective 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Justice announced the decision Monday in a statewide address in response to COVID-19.

“From the standpoint of cases, as of last night we had 16 positive cases in our state,” Gov. Justice said. “One of those cases is a lady in a nursing home. This is the first case we’ve had of community transmission and so this is really significant.”

Justice says the order means people should not go to work unless you provide an essential service, or work for essential business.

The order does allow people to go to grocery stories, pick up carry out orders at restaurants, care for a friend or family member in need.

The governor's stay-at-home order states an activity is essential if the purpose of the activity is one of the following:

  • Obtaining food, medicine and other similar goods necessary for the individual or a family member of the individual.
  • Obtaining non-elective medical care and treatment and other similar vital services for an individual or a family member of the individual.
  • Going to and from an individual's workplace if such workplace and/or work is included in the definition of Essential Businesses and Operations.
  • Going to and from the home of a family member.
  • Going to and from the home of another individual who, under the terms of a parenting plan or similar agreement, is entitled to visitation with or the care of a child.
  • Going to and from an individual's place of worship.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided that individuals at all times and as much as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of 6 feet from one another and abide by a 10-person limitation on gathering size.

For a complete list of essential businesses and operations that can continue to operate under the governor's stay at home order click on related documents.

A stay-at-home order is different from social distancing in that it is more strict and only permits going out for essential services.

Specifically, stay at home means:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others).
  • Only go out for essential services.
  • Stay 6 feet or more away from others.
  • Don't gather in groups.

Stay at home is not considered martial law, it's not a lockdown, and it does not close West Virginia roads, bridges or borders. It doesn't prevent West Virginians from leaving the state, and it does not prevent them from returning from out of state.

Essential services include going to the grocery store or gas station, picking up a subscription or receiving non-elective medical care, attending a place of worship and getting outdoor exercise for yourself, children, and your pets. It also includes working jobs to provide essential services. Those jobs include food services (grocery stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, etc.), health care, public safety and transportation.

Other essentials include places or worship, banks, laundromats, dry cleaners and outdoor public spaces, including parks and trails not specifically closed by prior orders.

Essential jobs include manufacturing or delivering materials and products needed for essential services, including coal mining, essential government services (local, state and county), and hotlines or helplines, including for Medicaid and SNAP benefits.

Whenever possible, workers are encouraged to work from home. If you believe your job is non-essential and you're being required to report to work, you should talk with your employer.

Justice says there is no end date set for the stay-at-home order.

To view a summary of the order along with frequently asked questions and answers:

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, released the following statement:

“This afternoon Governor Justice made the decision to place West Virginia under a stay-at-home order beginning at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th. I urge every West Virginian to abide by this order. We must come together to do the difficult things required to slow the spread of COVID-19. This outbreak is serious and the only option is to fight it together. West Virginians have always taken care of one another and right now that means staying at home unless absolutely necessary."

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and Kanawha County Commissioners Kent Carper, Ben Salango and Hoppy Shores issued the following statement:

"We applaud the Governor for taking this necessary step urging citizens to stay at home and requiring non-essential businesses to cease operations. We are facing a unique and constantly-changing challenge and we must continue to evaluate the circumstances and adjust quickly to stay ahead of the curve. We will continue to work with Dr. Sherri Young of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to receive vital health recommendations and updates. Thank you Governor for taking this important necessary step today."

Keep checking the WSAZ app for more information on this developing story.