- Special Counsel
In the latest efforts by state officials to combat the spread of the coronavirus in West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice announced on Monday his issuance of a “Stay at Home Order” for the entire State of West Virginia. The Stay at Home order goes into effect at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, March 24th and is in place until rescinded by subsequent Executive Order.
As part of the order, the Governor has directed all West Virginia residents to stay home and limit their movement outside of the home only to those needs which are deemed “essential.” The Governor’s Office lists the following activities, amongst others, as essential for purposes of the Order:
- Going to the grocery or convenience store for needed supplies;
- Going to the pharmacy or to medical appointments;
- Going to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru food services; and,
- Providing care for or support of a friend or family member.
The Governor’s order also cautions against going to work unless you are providing essential services or you work for an essential business as defined by the Executive Order. All non-essential businesses and operations must temporarily cease operations pursuant to the Governor’s order.
Included in the list of essential business operations are the following:
- Healthcare, public health operations and health insurance companies;
- Grocery stores and pharmacies;
- Food, beverage and agriculture services;
- Essential governmental functions;
- Human service organizations and childcare providers;
- Essential infrastructure, including coal mining and coal-fired electric generation facilities;
- Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain companies;
- Gas stations and travel related businesses;
- Hardware and supply stores;
- Critical trades;
- Mailing and shipping delivery services;
- Laundry services; and,
- Hotels and motels.
In effectuating the Stay at Home order, the Governor’s Office notes that West Virginians will not be required generally to provide identification when traveling for essential needs, as the order is not a lockdown or issuance of martial law. It is not the intent of the Governor’s office to have law enforcement officials stop residents on their way to or from obtaining essential services, nor will the WV National Guard be involved in enforcing the Stay at Home Order.
However, the Governor’s Order is mandatory, and West Virginians should remain in their residences to help stem the spread of COVID-19 further, unless you are otherwise required to leave for the essential needs discussed herein and in the Governor’s order.
The Stay at Home order was issued after much deliberation, and in the wake of a number of calls for residents to shelter in place. On Monday, West Virginia’s first “community spread” case of COVID-19 was confirmed at a Morgantown nursing home, and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in West Virginia has risen to 20 as of last report.