Gov. Justice pleads with West Virginians to follow mask order, threatens another shut down

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 7:49 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - “This is the only bullet I’ve got right now. The next bullet that is available is shut our state back down,” said Governor Jim Justice, holding up a mask.

Governor Justice reiterated to the Mountain State today that masks are mandatory in indoor, public settings, where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. He says the mask order is the only weapon he has to combat the growing virus numbers without completely shutting the state down.

Friday the state reached its highest active case count ever, well over one thousand. And West Virginia’s Rt number is the highest in the nation. The Rt number tracks how many people on average an infected person spreads the virus to.

“I need you, I need you West Virginia, and I need you right now,” said Justice.

Justice expressed that he doesn’t want to shut the state down, but due to its growing case count, he is already looking in to closing dining rooms and bars in Monongalia County.

“All of us know, that there could be a hot spot anywhere and today that hot spot is no question in Mon. County,” said Justice.

Business owners have concerns. Das Rookhaus owner, Sherry Dugan, says she can fall back on pick up and delivery services, but not all business people can. Some were already close to complete closure the last time the state shut down.

Another problem for business owners; Justice hasn’t defined any consequences for not wearing a mask in a public place. That’s putting business owners in awkward spot. Serve the customer or risk losing valuable business.

“It’s kind of a catch 22,” said Dugan. “I don’t have a problem with it, but I don’t think the managers or business owners should be the ones enforcing, because you’re trying to run a business and you don’t want to throw anyone out.”

The governor also revealed during his Friday address that the state has a new health officer, Dr. Dr. Ayne Amjad. She was officially appointed by Justice on Friday.

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