Monongalia County bars will remain closed another 10 days, until Aug. 3.
Gov. Jim Justice announced the extension of his previous bar closure order – via a new executive order – on Thursday afternoon. Under the previous order, bars were set to reopen on Friday.
Mon County Commission requested that Justice extend the order, he said, to protect public health.
Justice said in a release, “Monongalia County remains a hot spot and going to a bar is among the riskiest things that we can do at a time where we’re trying to contain this terrible virus. We’ve seen some of our numbers across the state start to move in our favor just in the past day or so, but it’s absolutely crucial for us to see continued improvement in Monongalia County in the days ahead. It is our hope to be able to get these businesses reopened as soon as safety can be ensured for all.”
As of Thursday morning, July 23, Justice said, more than 17.9 percent of West Virginia’s active cases were located in Mon County. Its 289 active cases are the highest total for any county statewide.
“At the end of the day, we need a little more time to see where our numbers are headed,” Justice said. “We cannot afford to make a wrong move and end up right back where we started or worse.”
The order keeps all Mon County bars closed for the on-premises consumption of food or drinks or occupancy by the general public. However, customers will still be permitted to pick up food or drinks to be taken away.
The new order also allows patrons to be seated, for dining, at tables and bar tops within “bar areas” of restaurants, hotels, and other similar facilities, subject to the same limitations that are in place for restaurants.
The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration will soon issue further guidance regarding this limitation to these facilities.