CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Monday he is closing bars in Monongalia County for 10 days due a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
The governor made the announcement at a Monday press conference.
In addition, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise statewide, Justice said the state will also return to maximum crowd sizes of 25, previously it was at 100. Fairs, festivals and outdoor concerts will not be allowed.
The restrictions went into effect today.
In Monongalia County, the governor said the state is working with the county’s health department to monitor the rise in cases and bring the situation back under control.
“We’ve got a situation in the age group from 20 to 29 years of age, and it’s absolutely a problem,” Justice said.
West Virginia University is located in Morgantown, which is part of Monongalia County. Monday, the county has 340 active cases of COVID-19.
“It is a real hotspot,” Justice said.
Statewide, health officials reported 1,338 active cases of COVID-19 on Monday, an increase of 206 since Friday. Sixty-two people were hospitalized on Monday.
Justice has issued a mandatory order that says persons must wear face coverings in any public building.
“The order is mandatory in buildings outside of your home,” including churches, Justice said.
He displayed a photograph of a Sunday church service in northern West Virginia. No one attending the service was wearing a mask and social distancing was not being exercised.
Justice referred to a recent COVID-19 outbreak in a Greenbrier County church, where U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines were not put into practice. The outbreak led to three deaths. In all, more than 40 people in the church contracted COVID-19.
At last report, Greenbrier County had 11 active cases of COVID-19 on Friday. One person was hospitalized.
Ninety-six people in West Virginia have died of COVID-19. A 68-year-old female in Ohio County died over the weekend.