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Restaurants, Bars, Casinos Mandated to Close After Positive COVID-19 Test Found in Eastern Panhandle

CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice held a COVID-19 update conference at 6:00 p.m. today, confirming the first positive test in the Eastern Panhandle of the State. In response, Justice mandated the closure of restaurant and bar dining areas as well as casinos across West Virginia. 

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working with all our health superstars they’ve been funneling me information as well as General Hoyer of the National Guard,” said Justice. “We developed a plan of preparedness and from that a plan of action, a plan to be ready as this terrible virus got closer to our shores.”

Just moments before the press conference, Justice said he was informed of the first positive test for COVID-19 in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. 

“We knew it was coming, we’ve prepared for this and we shouldn’t panic. We should be cautious, we should be concerned but we should not panic. We should go ahead and try to live our lives as best we can, but again we should not panic. We should not be fearful, we should be smart at this time. We should absolutely not be weak and we ought to be West Virginia mountaineer strong, always,” said Justice.

“I know there’s been all kinds of inconvenience,” said Justice, referencing closures of schools, sports events and nursing home visitor access. “There’s also the economic part of this. Our nation and our state is going to have to step up and keep you whole the best we can.”

Justice also took the time to assure President Trump and staff were all on board trying to deal with this and that State Officials were doing the same, but the health concern could not be understated.

“If by chance, I left a stone unturned and at the end of the day by trying to cure an inconvenience or an economic issue, I exposed others to a situation to where you lost a loved one,” said Justice. “How do we over come that or replace that? It just can’t be done.”

“Tonight I’m going to give you a pathway to solving this problem,” said Justice. “I am mandating that we close restaurants, bars, and we close our casinos. With that, we’ll be able to have carry out at our bars and restaurants, but we have to close the (dining rooms) where people gather and potentially transmitting this disease.”

“I said I was going to give you a pathway and tonight I’m going to ask you something really special. The pathway to the prevention of this disease spreading, a once in a lifetime experience, a pandemic, is our power to combat this disease is being apart from one another. Our power is already at work in that our communities are diverse, different spots and all our mountains that are already working for us,” said Justice. 

‘We have to take seriously all the hygiene recommendations, the ability to stay six feet apart from one another, we have to take seriously the ability to stay away from crowds, help our elderly, maybe go to the grocery store for our elderly. IF the grocery store is full of people, don’t go at that time. We have to be smart, we have to use our power, that we feel is inconveniencing, hurting us is our power to destroy this terrible disease. West Virginia is absolutely the greatest place on Earth. I couldn’t be more proud to be in this position as your Governor at this time.’

At the end of the day, Justice felt the worst thing to possibility do is ‘fall asleep at the wheel’ and let the virus get out of control. 

“Our power is be apart, be smart look after each and try in every shape and fashion to move ourselves forward,” said Justice. “We will try in every way to make our businesses whole, and all of employees whole that they will not be out dollars from paychecks and have a financial burden on top of them.”

In closing, Justice said, “By the grace of God, shepherding us in every way, shape, form or fashion, we’ll get through this. We’ll win and we’ll protect all of our people in every way, shape, form or fashion. We’re going to beat this bad, bad disease.”