By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor
CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice held another press conference today, announcing the closure of State Park lodge facilities as well as the Hatfield Mc-Coy Trail System as of midnight tonight as the total number of COVID-19 cases reaches 7.
“To our employers, we know its tough but we thank you for allowing people to work from home,” said Justice. “To the ones who had no recourse but to shut down, our nation as well as our State, you will be made whole as economically feasible in every way.”
Justice asked everyone in the State to dial into one mission during this time: the safety of yourself, your family, neighbors, friends and everyone across the State of West Virginia.
“Today, we’re going to have to close all lodges at our State Parks,” said Justice. “Our lodges are occupied by 69% of guests from out of State. All of our positive tests have been from people traveling to other states, so we’ve got to close the lodges.”
Justice assured that the Parks would continue to operate, with campsites and cabins open for booking.
“We want you to enjoy the park, get outside, hike, bike and fish,” said Justice. “This wonderful clean air in our parks will you all the calming effects you need.”
Justice then turned his attention to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System.
“85% of those riding our Hatfield-McCoy Trails are from out of state,” said Justice. “They were flooding the small communities the trails run through so, effective at midnight, we are closing the trails.”
Trout stocking will continue, with the Governor encourage residents again to spend time fishing or outside during this time of social isolation.
State Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt also requested the Governor announce that farmer’s and livestock markets would continue operation with public health safety precautions in place. Feed stores would also continue to operate.
“We’ve got to keep our food channels open,” said Justice.
Justice also signed an Executive Order, highlighted briefly in the press conference, allowing:
– cutting “red tape” to get Healthcare workers to work
– extending deadlines of driver’s license renewals
– Changing requirements and deadlines for Continuing Education
– Vehicle inspection deadlines were extended
– expansion of telemedicine services