CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – With the COVID-19 numbers in the state taking a more positive turn, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has increased the capacity limit in the Mountain State’s bars and restaurants from 50% to 75% of their seating capacity as of midnight Friday, Feb. 19, if social distancing can be maintained.
Justice says in the case of bars, no standing room will be allowed and the social distancing requirement is in regard to the seating available in the business.
For retail stores and small businesses, capacity will now be four people per 1,000 square feet instead of 2 people per 1,000 square feet and for grocery stores, the capacity will now go from three people to six people per 1,000 square feet.
The governor also says because educators over 50 who requested a COVID-19 vaccine will all have received their second dose within the next week, he is asking the State Board of Education to require students across the state in grades K-8 to go to in-person classes full time. When this takes effect will be up to the State BOE. He has also asked the WVSSAC to work with school boards and superintendents to ensure occupancy rules and attendance limitations in association with safety guidelines will be met.
Justice also raised the number of people per public gatherings to 75. Those in gatherings must continue to wear facemasks, social distance and follow CDC guidelines. Live indoor music performances, with the exception of those using vocals or wind instruments, will be able to resume.
Justice says that should another surge in cases occur, restrictions will be put back in place to mitigate spread. The governor’s mask mandate is still in effect.