CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has an update for when health experts think the state can safely ease restrictions on wearing masks.
Justice says the target goal to lift the mask mandate is June, 20, 2021, coinciding with the state’s 158th birthday.
“That’s what we project, and that’s the date we are going to go with. It just coincides perfectly,” Justice said.
According to the governor, by that day, health officials are projecting 65% of all West Virginians 12 years of age and older, pending FDA authorization to give the Pfizer vaccine to 12 to 15-year olds, will have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The projected percentages are 75% for West Virginians 50-years old and up, and 85% for West Virginians 65 years of age and older.
The governor says at that date, he thinks the state will be close enough to those percentages to remove the masks. He also says if West Virginia hits those numbers, for example, five days prior to the date, he will still leave the date as June 20.
Justice also continues his “call to arms” urging West Virginians to get vaccinated against the virus, especially encouraging younger West Virginians between the ages of 16 and 35 to get vaccinated as that age group still has the largest rate of spread.
According to the governor, this projected date does not mean West Virginians cannot continue wearing masks if they chose to do so as an additional precaution. Justice also says while the state’s mask mandate will be lifted on June 20, private businesses and organizations can continue to enforce mask-wearing on their property.