Mayor asks residents to mask up; Classic Wheels Car Club’s Blast from the Past moved three months into the future

BUCKHANNON – Wearing is caring.

Wearing a mask or face covering, that is.

Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner on Thursday pleaded with city and county residents to wear a mask for their families, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and local business owners.

At Buckhannon City Council’s meeting Thursday, which was live-streamed via Channel 3 on the city’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel, Skinner said residents of Buckhannon and Upshur County need to adhere to Gov. Jim Justice’s executive order mandating face coverings.

“I want to implore the people of Upshur County to wear a mask,” Skinner said. “We don’t want to be Morgantown to have to say that you have to. We’ve got great people in this town, we’ve got great people in this county, and if we want our businesses to survive, and if we want our neighbors to stay healthy, this is something we’ve just got to do.”

“It’s for the love and consideration of the people around us,” Skinner added in his concluding comments. “If you’re not going to do it for yourself, do it for everybody around you; you just never know who’s got a parent that is highly susceptible, who is with hospice, or who is on dialysis. We don’t know what people are out there facing, and we just want to do it for the love and kindness of our neighbors.

“We can get through this – we can – but it’s just going to take everybody pulling together,” he said.

Earlier in the evening during the July 16 meeting, council had been set to consider a request to revisit allowing the West Virginia Classic Wheels Car Club to host its annual event, Blast from the Past, on Main Street July 25.

However, Skinner said that in light of Justice’s Monday, July 13 order that outdoor events – including festivals, fairs, concerts and other large gatherings excluding church services – be capped at 25 people, he and Jim Gifford, head of the car club, had mutually agreed the car club would attempt to move the event to October.

“In light of the governor’s new mandate this week … being that no fairs and festivals can operate at this time, and that events need to be kept to a 25-person maximum, [the car club] elected, and we agreed that it would be best if they postpone their event,” Skinner said.

Skinner said Gifford recognized that “a limit of 25 persons doesn’t make for much of a high quality event.”

“I promised him and we would be more than willing as a city to work with them to find them a good day in October possibly, but I wanted to make sure that we reiterated to the club, and we need to reiterate to any group that we really need to abide by what the governor has put in place and that includes wearing masks out and about in public indoors and in stores. We really need to follow what’s been said.”

“We all are West Virginians together, whether we live in Parkersburg or Beckley or Morgantown,” the mayor added. “We are West Virginians, and we need to follow what our governor has set forth.”

Skinner said if COVID-19 cases are still trending upward in October, the Classic Wheels Car Club will push the event to 2021.

“But if things are moving in a better direction, and some of the mandates are dropped, we would be happy to work with him and some of the car club for an event on Main Street,” Skinner said.

City recorder Randy Sanders said the city’s Consolidated Public Works Board may need to consider amended guidelines regarding large gatherings already scheduled to take place in city parks, particularly Jawbone.

“We should probably reach out and encourage rescheduling,” Sanders said. “We need to have a disclaimer that if you book a park, and the regulations change from Charleston, that has to be applied to that event. I think we just need to consider every possibility, so maybe we could have that on the Consolidated Public Works agenda.”

Skinner said the next Consolidated Public Works Board meeting is set for 4 p.m. Thursday, July 23, and an item regarding scheduling in city parks will be placed on the meeting’s agenda.

In other council news, public works director Jerry Arnold reported that an alternative emergency route to WVU Medicine St. Joseph’s Hospital is being developed after an incident several months ago involving a downed power line on Amalia Drive that made a route to St. Joseph’s temporarily inaccessible.

Arnold said city officials met with hospital representatives and residents who live near the site of a new proposed hospital access road.

“The hospital has agreed to purchase the materials and we will provide the labor to provide a single-lane stone-based access road to the hospital from Lincoln heights,” Arnold said. “The access will be gated and locked only to be used if Amalia Drive is blocked.”

During live-streamed council meetings, log on to Channel 3’s YouTube channel a few moments prior to view the meeting; members of the public may submit questions that pop up during the course of the meeting by emailing them to

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