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COVID-19 Update - West Virginia Announces Plan to "Reopen" 

by Eric E. Kinder

Published: April, 2020

Submission: April, 2020

 



Governor Justice has issued his plan for the scaling back of his “stay-at-home” Executive Order, otherwise known as “reopening the state.” The plan hinges on having three consecutive days where the statewide cumulative percentage of positive COVID-19 test results stays below 3 percent.

Once that metric is met, there will be a phased reopening process that is optional to businesses – the plan stresses it is allowing entities to open, NOT requiring them to.

Week 1 – The first entities allowed to reopen will be hospitals, which will be able to conduct elective medical procedures. Also, outpatient health care providers (family or primary care physicians, dentists, physical/occupational therapists, mental health professionals, and similar medical providers) will be allowed to reopen in conjunction with the guidance of their respective state boards and associations. Finally, daycare employees will be tested in preparation for their reopening.

Week 2 – A second week of low positive test rates will permit four types of entities to open back up, so long as they adhere to proper social distancing, face coverings and sanitization:
  • Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees
  • Professional services (by appointment only and waiting in vehicle instead of inside)
    • Hair and nail salons, barbershops
    • Dog grooming
  • Outdoor dining at restaurants
  • Churches and funerals with limited gathering size (every other pew)

Weeks 3-6 – Continued low positive test rates will allow a phasing in of several types of businesses (specifically announced one week in advance):
  • Office/government buildings
  • Specialty retail stores
  • Parks and/or restrooms and facilities at parks
  • Gyms, fitness centers, recreational centers
  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Spas/massage parlors
  • Remaining small businesses

This plan still provides no timeline for the reopening of entertainment venues (theaters, concerts, and sports), visitation at nursing homes, or gatherings of more than 25 people.

All of this contingent on maintaining a low positive test rate. The Governor’s plan states it will stop or reverse the reopening if there is an unexpected increase in COVID-19 positive hospitalizations or if the cumulative positive test rate surges above 3 percent. It also recognizes the plan may narrow on a county-by-county or regional basis if there are “significant outbreaks of community-based transmission (not clusters or outbreaks in nursing homes or vulnerable communities).”

Finally, in order to keep the test rate low, the state encourages everyone to maintain social distancing and to wear face coverings in public where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The Governor also continues to encourage telework to the extent possible.

For more on this reopening plan, and to discuss best practices for reopening, please contact any Spilman COVID-19 Task Force member.
 

 



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