CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials on Monday for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response, including an update on several regulations related to the pandemic.
Justice announced he signed Executive Order 12-21, clarifying which previous executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic remain in effect and which do not, while also updating certain regulations
“Throughout the past year, I have signed a total of 91 executive orders to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Justice said during his COVID-19 briefing. “These orders were absolutely necessary to keep our people safe, keep our businesses afloat, and keep us on the right track to beat this virus. As a result, we have led the nation over and over. But, it can be confusing for the public to keep track of all the different orders.
“So today, I am signing a new executive order that’s cleaning up and doing away with a great, great many of the executive orders that have been in place,” Gov. Justice continued. “There was a lot of stuff that was very valuable when we put it in that has now outlived its time, and now it’s time to move forward.”
According to a news release from the governor’s office, as part of his executive order, Justice announced he has removed the limitation on the number of people permitted to gather for purely social purposes.
The Governor also announced that his executive order adds an additional exemption to the Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement so that, if you are actively engaged in physical activity like indoor sports, you do not need to wear a face covering.
“This order will also reinstate some requirements for unemployment benefits that we waived early on during the pandemic,” Gov. Justice said. “We need to put these requirements back so we can get back to work.
“I am also leaving in place the requirement that all healthcare facilities and providers in our state remain vigilant with plans for surge capacity and PPE in case we ever need it again,” Gov. Justice continued, adding that several additional orders suspending regulations to make access to health care, business licensure, and other aspects of life easier will also remain in effect.
Also during Monday’s press briefing Department of Heath and Human Resources Secretary (DHHR) Bill Crouch took time during his remarks to remind West Virginians of the importance of mental health, with the COVID-19 pandemic now in its 14th month.
“This is a difficult time for everyone,” Sec. Crouch said. “It is crucial that we take care of our mental health and help our family and our friends with regard to mental health. Physical distancing does not mean we stop supporting each other. Reach out to family, friends, and loved ones and check in; make sure they’re all right.”
West Virginians can call or text 1-877-HELP-304 (1-877-435-7304) or chat online at www.HELP304.com to receive free help from trained crisis counselors who can listen to concerns, help sort out emotions, and provide connections to community resources.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.