COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces reopening dates for swimming pools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and other places with indoor amusement

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.

Today, Gov. Justice announced that swimming pools, as well as bowling alleys, pool halls, roller rinks, and other places with indoor amusement will all be allowed to reopen on Saturday, May 30, provided that all additional guidelines are followed to help keep West Virginians as safe as possible.

Guidance documents will be provided on The Comeback page of the Governor’s Office website as soon as they become available.

Gov. Justice previously announced that limited video lottery retailers, as well as spas and massage businesses will also be able to resume operations on May 30 as part of the Governor’s Week 5 phase of business reopenings.
Also today, Gov. Justice announced that movie theaters will be permitted to reopen on Friday, June 5, provided that all additional safety guidelines are followed.

Guidance documents will be provided on The Comeback page of the Governor’s Office website as soon as they become available.

Gov. Justice previously announced that casinos will also be able to resume operations on June 5 as part of the Governor’s Week 6 phase of business reopenings.

Additionally, Gov. Justice reminded West Virginians that several additional businesses are now permitted to reopen, provided that all safety guidelines are being properly followed.

Businesses permitted to resume operations today, Thursday, May 21, include:
Indoor dining at restaurants
Large/specialty retail stores
State park campgrounds for in-state residents only (Guidance for ALL campgrounds)
Hatfield McCoy Trail System
Outdoor recreation rentals (Kayaks, bicycles, boats, rafts, canoes, ATVs, and similar equipment)
Outdoor motorsport and powersport racing with no spectators
Tanning businesses​​
Whitewater rafting
Indoor malls and similar facilities​

Also today, the executive order requiring out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine was lifted. In accordance with this change, additional guidance documents are available for hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, and cabins.

Also today, Gov. Justice announced that Berkeley and Jefferson have triggered the State’s new Heightened Alert System.

Over the past 24 hours, Jefferson County had 20 new cases, while Berkeley County had 15 new cases.

As a result, the Governor has ordered the West Virginia National Guard to travel to these two counties immediately to assess the needs of county health officials, to provide them with resources, and to work alongside state medical experts in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“The National Guard is going to report back to me in the morning,” Gov. Justice said. “It may very well be that we have got to take more stringent guidelines than what we have today there. And, if we do, we’ll do that tomorrow.

“My first and foremost responsibility is to protect you and that’s what I’m going to do. I take that responsibility very seriously,” Gov. Justice continued. “I would urge all West Virginians – especially those in Berkeley and Jefferson counties – you have got to wear a mask when you go out in public.

“We’re doing exactly what I said we were going to do; we’re running to the fire. We’re absolutely going to take care of this to the best of our ability. We can’t just step back and let it go. Because, if we just step back and let it go and do nothing, it’s going to brew into something that’s not going to be good.”

Once again today, Gov. Justice urged West Virginians who are at particular risk for COVID-19 to take advantage of the State’s new initiative to provide free testing in minority and vulnerable communities.

The DHHR and local jurisdictions, with support from the WVNG, will be conducting the next round of these testing efforts in Cabell, Kanawha, Marion, and Monongalia counties this Friday and Saturday.
Cabell County
16th Street Baptist Church (1647 9th Ave., Huntington, WV)
Friday, May 22 & Saturday, May 23 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Kanawha County
Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center (1701 5th Ave., Charleston, WV)
Friday, May 22 & Saturday, May 23 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Marion County
Windmill Park (900 Ogden Ave., Fairmont, WV)
Friday, May 22 & Saturday, May 23 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Monongalia County
Big Lots (902 Fairmont Rd, Morgantown, WV)
Friday, May 22 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
WVU Coliseum (3450 Monongahela Blvd., Morgantown, WV)
Saturday, May 23 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 23 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Click here to read more

Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that he has asked officials with the Department of Education to continue looking into options for being able to safely celebrate graduating seniors across the state.

“Let’s find a way for our graduates to be able to walk up on the stage and accept their diploma some way, even if it’s not traditional,” Gov. Justice said. “I absolutely want to be able to do that so badly.

“Our Department of Education is going to be reaching out to the counties and the superintendents and see if they can come together to find a way to be able to have some form of graduation where these kids and these families are able to come – maybe wearing masks, maybe spreading out all over the place – but they’d be able to see these kids. And our kids deserve it in every way.”

During his remarks today, Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch offered a reminder to parents who may have recently lost their insurance benefits that the State offers an option for certain children to receive free vaccines.

“Some residents are experiencing hardships and loss of insurance coverage,” Sec. Crouch said. “We want to remind residents that DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health provides free vaccines to eligible children, from birth through age 18, through the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program.

“If children fall behind on their vaccines during this pandemic, we could face a second crisis with an outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease,” Sec. Crouch continued. “Uninsured and other eligible children may receive free vaccines at more than 420 participating provider sites.”
Eligibility requirements for the VFC program (must meet one of the below criteria):
American Indian or Alaskan Native
Underinsured (children with insurance which does not cover vaccines)
More information is available at and at 1-800-642-3634.

The Governor once again offered a reminder that, on Friday, the State sent out the application for cities and counties throughout West Virginia to apply for CARES Act money.

Gov. Justice also reiterated that a new web portal is now available for city and county government officials to apply for this grant funding, at Interested parties can also call the helpline: 1-833-94-GRANT.

Gov. Justice also expressed his thanks to West Virginia State Auditor JB McCuskey and his office for their assistance in evaluating these applications.

“The job that they’re doing is, oftentimes, unheralded. These people are behind the scenes, doing stuff every day to help us,” Gov. Justice said. “But they have always done and continue to do phenomenal work and I just can’t thank them enough.”

Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

“I hope you’re getting tired of hearing from me about this,” Gov. Justice said. “You’re just going to keep hearing from me because you being counted would be a tremendous benefit to West Virginia.”

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes:

Today, Gov. Justice provided an overview of statewide data on COVID-19, again taking time to point out a recent increase in growth rate, driven by the positive cases being seen in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

Despite the recent increase in some of these Eastern Panhandle counties, West Virginia continues to excel in several metrics compared to its surrounding states and the national average. View the latest COVID-19 data at

In addition to their new mission in the Eastern Panhandle, members of the WVNG concluded COVID-19 testing today at the Huttonsville Correction Center by testing the remaining staff on night shift at the facility.

The WVNG will provide 18 personnel from Task Force CRE and Task Force Medical to test the remaining 100 individuals at the facility in Randolph County this afternoon. This team will have tested a total of more than 300 personnel during this mission.

This weekend, Task Force CRE and Task Force Medical will provide assistance for high-density population testing in Cabell, Kanawha, Marion and Monongalia counties. To date, they have conducted 2,879 COVID-19 tests for 87 lane support missions and 3,391 tests as a part of their overall response mission.

Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit



Really Really Free Market to return to Jawbone Park April 16

BUCKHANNON – The Consolidated Public Works Board approved event requests for the Really Really Free Market and Narcan Day. Heather Schneider and Missy Daugherty spoke during the March 23 CPWB to highlight the details of

Upshur Schools officials say instances of noncompliance found in WVDE review of special education services have been corrected

TENNERTON – The state Department of Education’s multi-part monitoring of Upshur County Schools’ Special Education services that unearthed some instances of noncompliance could soon be coming to an end. Upshur County Schools underwent an initial monitoring period in March 2022, […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story and thousands more. Plus you’ll wake up every morning to our email edition. Your subscription supports local news by local writers. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!


Softball Lady Bucs win fourth straight, down Fairmont Senior 8-0

TENNERTON – Jansen Kimble pitched a two-hit shutout and collected two extra-base hits to help lead the Buckhannon-Upshur softball Lady Bucs to an 8-0 Big 10 Conference victory over Fairmont Senior Thursday evening. Kimble was on top her of game […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story and thousands more. Plus you’ll wake up every morning to our email edition. Your subscription supports local news by local writers. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!


Ghana representatives visit Buckhannon ahead of WAMSB 2023

BUCKHANNON — With less than four months remaining until Buckhannon becomes a world stage, representatives with the National Cadet Corps, Ghana visited the area ahead of the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) 2023