Campgrounds reopening to out-of-state residents

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 4:51 PM EDT
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Governor Jim Justice says West Virginia-and privately-owned campgrounds will be open again next week to out-of-state tourists.

The governor issued an order at the beginning of the pandemic closing the sites to visitors from outside the state, out of concern about the spread of the COVID-19 virus in other states. He specifically mentioned eastern states like New York and New Jersey at the time.

Those facilities had already been open for the most part to in-state residents just in time for the recent Memorial Day holiday.

They'll reopen to everyone June 10.

"We wanted to see the numbers after Memorial Day weekend. We wanted to see numbers to see if we were trending the right way," Justice said at his daily press briefing Wednesday. "Just opening the floodgates to out-of-state people to come to our campgrounds and lodges and all was not the right move, and we wanted to do that as gradually as we possibly can."

The governor announced all but one of the employees-and 21 of the inmates-at the Huttonsville Correctional Center who tested positive for the virus have recovered.

One of those employees, the governor said, is back at work.

Testing continues at other state prisons and jails until June 12.

Justice later issued a statement regarding a comment he made at his briefing.

In discussing a phone conversation he had with President Donald Trump, Gov. Justice made a remark in jest that all presidents were welcome in West Virginia, except for “maybe not Barack Obama.”

He later said he was referring to Obama's policies during his administration, some of which were seen as economically detrimental to West Virginia.

“I want to love everybody, and by that, I mean everybody, including President Obama,” Gov. Justice said. “But, at the end of the day, what happened to West Virginia during his time in the Oval Office will take us decades and decades to recover from, if ever.”