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Commission asks Justice to mandate masks in Mon County from May 1-17

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Commission  has asked Gov. Jim Justice to issue an executive order for Monongalia County making masks mandatory in public places for 17 days, beginning Friday.

That timeline not only covers the influx of upwards of 12,000 WVU students, friends and family members to Morgantown and Monongalia County as WVU students move out of off-campus housing, but also a portion of Justice’s recently announced schedule for loosening COVID-19 restrictions on business.

The request is being made in conjunction with Dr. Lee Smith, executive director of the Monongalia County Health Department, who earlier this week issued recommendations regarding the turnover of thousands of rental units.

The letter, in part, reads, “Given the success that Monongalia County has achieved in managing this crisis, we as commissioners are concerned that all of our good work could be reversed if we did not take maximum precautions.”

Smith would work with the county commission on creating penalties for its enforcement of the order, if approved, according to Commissioner Tom Bloom.

Bloom said those penalties would likely be fines, but that the county would look to places like Pennsylvania, where such orders are already in place, for guidance.

The letter explains that, like Pennsylvania, this request would include employees on the work site and anyone else in public places.

“We believe during these two weeks it is imperative to maintaining your statewide goal of less than 3% rate of infection per individual tested and we hope that you will consider our request.”

In other county news, additional COVID-19 measures have been implemented at the Monongalia County Justice Center after  a prisoner indicated he had recently been in contact with the illness.

Magistrate Tim Pocius self-quarantined after the April 25 contact. The prisoner later tested negative and will be tested again in the coming days.

In response to this event, and in addition to the measures already in place:

  • The building will be cleaned with a fog disinfectant regularly
  • Anyone entering the building must wear appropriate protective equipment
  • Individuals brought to court for arraignments will be taken through the command center elevator only, avoiding common areas of the building.
  •  Video capabilities will be utilized when possible
  • A call-tree system has been put in place for any information that could impact the safety of those in the justice center.

Lastly, the commission approved an additional $8,000 for the Feed Mon Kids feeding program.
  This is in addition to $5,000 approved for the program by the commission on April 1.