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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced he’s rolling back some of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions to allow 100% seating capacity at bars, an increase on the public gathering limits but said the mask mandate will remain.
Justice announced Friday the latest changes will begin Saturday at 12 a.m and will lift capacity restrictions for restaurants and other businesses, raise the limit on public gathering sizes, and allow youth travel sports to resume, WVNews reports.
“Today we’re going to move our restaurants and our bars to 100% of their seating capacity that they can use, provided we maintain social distancing,” Justice said. “We’ll have no standing room for people to congregate, like in the bars, this is 100% of their seating capacity.”
Small businesses and retail stores also will see their capacity limits lifted. This includes gyms, fitness centers, museums, and other types of businesses — they can open at 100% with proper social distancing measures.
“We don’t see in our small businesses and retail stores a crowding or an issue there that causes us a problem right now,” he said. “We absolutely expect you to continue to wear your mask and everything. We are not backing off of our mask mandate at this time.”
Public gathering limits are now raised to 100, and youth travel sports will be allowed to take place as long as the county where they were scheduled to occur is not classified as red on the County Alert System map put out by the state Department of Health and Human Resources, WVNews reports.
He plans to make decisions about guidelines for fairs and festivals at a later date and anticipates making further adjustments to guidelines and restrictions in response to the latest developments with the pandemic.