EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.Va. (WDVM) — The Eastern Panhandle counties of West Virginia are getting additional restrictions from the governor as a response to COVID-19.
Governor Jim Justice issued an executive order on April 3 which only applies to Berkeley County, Jefferson County and Morgan County. This comes after the Martinsburg area was found to have West Virginia’s first community cluster outbreak of COVID-19.
Berkeley County, with 37 confirmed cases, has the second-highest number of cases in the state, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services April 3 data. Kanawha County, located in a southwest region of the state, has the highest at 40 cases.
Jefferson has 12 cases and Morgan has one case.
“The reality is that we anticipated this with the Martinsburg area being so close to a major city, right at the backdoor to Washington, D.C.,” Justice said. “Be assured that we are dealing with this issue and we are working to do the things necessary to take care of addressing any hot spots in our state. People don’t need to be alarmed or scared, we just need to remember the power each one of us holds by staying home.”
The executive order enacts the following provisions:
- Limiting groups to a maximum of five people.
- Directing ALL businesses to require employees to work from home to the maximum extent possible.
- Directing the local health departments to establish the maximum occupancy of and proper social distance within essential businesses and taking action to enforce these health regulations.
- Directing the West Virginia National Guard to provide logistical support and services to assist county agencies.
- Directing West Virginia State Police to assist with enforcement of local county orders.
Justice has previously issued an executive stay-at-home order statewide on March 23, and since then has issued more restrictions across the state such as extending school closures to at least April 20, suspending elective medical procedures and restricting out-of-state visitors.