West Virginia Begins the Reopening Process
West Virginia Begins the Reopening Process

While adventures have always been plentiful in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia, much of that changed during the COVID-19 pandemic as social distancing and stay at home orders have kept out-of-state tourists and West Virginians close to home and inside. That’s about to change, at least in part, as West Virginia slowly and carefully begins the reopening process and lifts restrictions on many of the state’s outdoor and adventure industries.

Starting today (May 21), limited indoor dining, the Hatfield-McCoy trails, whiter water rafting, ziplining, outdoor recreation rentals, and camping at our state park campgrounds for in-state residents will all begin to reopen with guidance and regulations from the state. Businesses looking for reopening guidance can find those documents on Governor Justice’s website.

As West Virginia looks to reopen, employers are starting to bring back many of the employees that were laid off or furloughed during business closures.  River Riders Resort and the Clarion in Harpers Ferry began hiring back about 100 furloughed employees to get ready for this week’s reopening. These two businesses also started to prepare new check-in systems to allow for guests to socially distance.

River Riders and their guests won’t be the only ones out on the waters. Adventures on the Gorge and River Expeditions are also gearing up to host guests for rafting, ziplining, fishing, dining, and more. These two businesses are ready to host trips this week while following the carefully thought out safety guidelines from the state, which include limitations on group sizes, facial coverings and appropriate spacing between groups. 

West Virginians will begin to see an expansion of restaurant services as well. During the height of the pandemic, restaurants were allowed to continue takeout and delivery food options, and in recent weeks began some limited outdoor dining.  Starting this week, restaurants will be open for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity limits. Many restaurants are filling up with reservations this Memorial Day weekend, so check with your favorite local restaurant before you go. Steven Keith, the WV Food Guy for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, gave diners some good tips when considering return trips to their favorite eateries.  Steven’s tips include:

  • Call Ahead
  • Be Patient
  • Speak Up
  • Don’t Forget to Tip
  • Share the Good

Finally, ATV enthusiasts will also get their first crack at riding the Hatfield-McCoy trails this weekend. The trails and ATV related businesses welcomed the reopening, as this marks the busiest time of year for welcoming guests and selling trail permits. West Virginians looking for outdoor adventures can also explore the state parks at a discount thanks to a recent announcement from the Governor’s Office. West Virginia residents can receive a 30 percent discount for stays at all state park lodging from June 1 through August 31, 2020.  Just use the promo code WVSTRONG at checkout to receive your discount.

While the last few months have brought an unprecedented level of change to everyone’s lives, one thing has not changed. West Virginia still offers many wonderful outdoor adventures that people can participate in while socially distancing. When the time is right, consider taking advantage of these and many other reopening opportunities throughout the state.