West Virginia – Coronavirus State Actions

Governors are working closely with federal and local officials as well as private sector partners to address the threat of the novel coronavirus. This page lists select actions taken to date. It is not intended to be exhaustive but is meant to highlight key actions and resources that may inform other states and territories as they prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus. All state actions can be viewed here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for additional information and resources.


West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources coronavirus resource page.

  • March 4, 2020—Governor Justice held a meeting to discuss coordination of precautionary measures and preparations for COVID-19. Following the meeting, Governor Justice announced that he had issued a State Preparedness Plan for West Virginia.
  • March 4, 2020—Governor Justice issued a State of Preparedness Proclamation. 
  • March 9, 2020—The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of a hotline to answer questions of the public and medical providers concerning COVID-19.  
  • March 12, 2020—Governor Justice  announced a state employee travel ban on out-of-state and international travel and asked West Virginians to reconsider non-essential, personal travel.  
  • March 12, 2020—Governor Justice  issued guidance to State government office to avoid hosting large meetings, authorized emergency exemptions for the acquisition of health supplies, and asked WVSSAC to suspend both the boys and girls WV High School State School Basketball Tournaments.  
  • March 14, 2020 – The Governor announced the closure of K-12 schools in the state and issued the following updates:
    • All schools will remain closed to students through at least March 27.
    • Essential staff, as determined by each county board of education, will report March 16 through March 18 to develop continuity plans for students.
    • All teachers, staff, and school service personnel will report March 19 and March 20.
    • County boards of education will determine staff requirements for March 23 and beyond.
  • March 16, 2020 – The Governor declared a State of Emergency ordering the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, West Virginia Division of Homeland Security, and Emergency Management and the West Virginia National Guard to mobilize appropriate personnel and resources to respond to the emergency. The state of emergency orders that it is unlawful for any person, business, or other entity to sell any food items, essential consumer items, and emergency supplies in a manner that violates the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, which protects consumer from price gouging and unfair pricing practices during and shortly after a State of Emergency.​
  • March 16, 2020 – The Governor highlighted other steps the state is taking, including the West Virginia Department of Education’s successful opening of more than 500 sites around the state to ensure children who require school breakfasts and lunches will receive meals during the recently announced statewide school closure.
  • March 17, 2020  – The Governor confirmed West Virginia’s first case of COVID-19. The Governor also ordered the immediate closure of all restaurants, bars, and casinos, permitting only drive-thru operations.
  • March 18, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order closing fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, and similar recreation locations statewide.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order closing barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons, effective at midnight.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor directed the West Virginia Department of Commerce and Workforce to provide unemployment benefits to those affected by COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.
  • March 19, 2020 – The West Virginia Department of Transportation announced that Welcome Centers and Rest Areas will remain open to travelers during the state of emergency.
  • March 20, 2020 – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services announced its Vital Registration Office will close to the public until further notice.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order mandating statewide closure of all West Virginia state park lodges and closure of the Hatfield McCoy Trail to the general public.
  • March 21, 2020 – The Governor urged West Virginians to stay home as much as possible, and businesses to allow employees to telework if possible.
  • March 22, 2020 – The Governor announced The West Virginia Work Remote Connection Initiative (WV-WRC). WV-WRC is offered to any small-to-medium sized business across the state to address the lack of network capacity and bandwidth to support remote workers. The program offers secure server and connectivity to any business that needs it at no cost for 90 days.
  • March 23, 2020 – The Governor issued a “Stay at Home” order, ordering all West Virginians to stay at home except for essential needs. The order will remain in place until terminated by a subsequent Executive Order.
  • March 25, 2020 – The Governor extended the statewide school closure until April 20.
  • March 25, 2020 – The Governor announced the extension of the state income tax filing and payment deadline until July 15 and waived interest and penalties on property tax filings until May 1.
  • March 25, 2020 –The Cabinet Secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency declared that all child care not serving essential personnel should close.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Governor appointed Dr. Clay March as the State CCOVID-19 Czar.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources and the State Public Health Officer announced that testing and treatment for all uninsured individuals will be covered by WV Medicaid during the national state of emergency.
  • March 30, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order requiring out-of-state citizens to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival into West Virginia.
  • March 30, 2020- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved West Virginia’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables West Virginia to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, extend fair hearing timelines, and waive public comment and tribal consultation requirements for certain changes to the Medicaid state plan.
  • March 31, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order suspending elective medical procedures.
  • March 31, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order directing private campgrounds to prohibit new out-of-state campers.
  • March 31, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order granting discretion to the Board of Nursing to waive requirements that may hinder delivery of necessary medical procedures.
  • April 1, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order, delaying the state’s Primary Election to June 9 from May 12.
  • April 3, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order, directing:
    • Gatherings to be limited to a maximum of five (5) people;
    • All businesses to require telework to the extent possible;
    • Local health departments to establish maximum occupancy and social distancing standards in essential businesses;
    • The West Virginia National Guard to provide logistical support and services; and
    • The West Virginia State Police to assist in enforcement of local county orders.
  • April 3, 2020 – The Governor directed additional resources to Workforce WV to assist with the processing of unemployment claims.
  • April 3, 2020 – The Governor announced the approval of a federal major disaster declaration for the state of West Virginia.
  • April 4, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order, expanding his April 3 executive order to include several more counties.
  • April 8, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order, designating seven West Virginia counties as areas where local Health Department officials have broader powers to tighten restrictions to prevent further spread.
  • April 9, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order, which:
    • Mandates that all public and private golf courses follow proper cleaning protocols and take additional steps to ensure proper social distancing;
    • Allows municipalities to delay an election previously scheduled by municipal charter prior to June 1;
    • Allows a municipality to hold its election on the same date as the state primary election scheduled for June 9;
    • Suspends certain statutory regulations relating to the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling; and
    • Suspends certain statutory regulations relating to the deadlines for license renewals and fee payments to the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.
  • April 10, 2020 – The Governor announced a hero pay grant in the amount of $100,000 to each county to distribute at discretion to reward front line workers.
  • April 10, 2020 – The Governor added four counties (Cabell, Ohio, Wayne and Wood) to the Emergency Order enabling counties to further tighten social distancing measures and tighten rules surrounding essential services.
  • April 13, 2020 – The West Virginia National Guard, in collaboration with researchers from West Virginia University, academia, and business and industry leaders, announced a coordinated effort to address personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages.
  • April 15, 2020 – The Governor announced discussions with medical experts and state officials regarding Phase 2 of the state’s response.
  • April 16, 2020 – The Governor announced the receipt of $625 million in federal funding to assist the state’s COVID-19 response.
  • April 17, 2020 – The Governor directed the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to test all nursing home residents and staff members.
  • April 21, 2020 – The Governor announced that all K-12 schools will remain closed for the remiainder of the academic year.
  • April 21, 2020 – The Governor and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced a free smartphone app to reduce isolation and offer support and resources to West Virginians with Substance Use Disorder, allowing providers to stay connected and engaged with their patients.
  • April 22, 2020 – The Governor announced that the two mobile testing laboratories established by the West Virginia National Guard are activated for use.
  • April 23, 2020 – The Governor announced that staff from Workforce West Virginia, with assistance from the West Virginia National Guard, have cleared the backlog of unemployment claims that have been submitted consequent of COVID-19. 
  • April 24, 2020 – The Governor sent a letter to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, urging him to reconsider the decision to transfer out-of-state inmates to West Virginia’s Hazelton facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • April 24, 2020 – The Governor announced plans to begin testing staff members at West Virginia daycares so the facilities can begin reopening.
  • April 27, 2020 – The Governor unveiled “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback,” the state’s plan to reopen in phases over the next six weeks, provided the rate of positive COVID-19 cases remains low.
  • April 28, 2020 – The Governor provided additional guidelines to small businesses, restaurants with takeaway services, religious entities, and funeral homes as part of Week 2 operations under the “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback” plan.
  • April 28, 2020 – The Governor announced that the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) has secured access to a high-capacity decontamination system for PPE, in coordination with FEMA and the State of Virginia.
  • April 28, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order, suspending regulatory provisions to provide greater flexibility to dentists and speech-language pathologists.
  • April 29, 2020 – The Governor announced the launch of Phase 1 of West Virginia’s reopening to begin on April 30. Phase 1 permits outpatient healthcare operations to resume and daycare services to reopen. 
  • April 29, 2020 – The Governor announced that COVID-19 testing has been completed for all residents and staff at the Veterans Nursing Facility in Clarksburg. All 306 tests came back negative.
  • April 30, 2020 – The Governor announced that a “Safer at Home” order will replace the state’s current “Stay at Home” order, effective May 4.
  • May 1, 2020 – The Governor announced Week 2 reopening to begin on May 4, permitting small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, restaurants with takeaway service or outdoor dining options, as well as religious entities and funeral homes to reopen.
  • May 3, 2020 – The Governor removed three counties from the list of West Virginia “hot spots” for COVID-19.
  • May 4, 2020 – The Governor announced Week 3 of West Virginia’s Comeback, to begin on May 11. The phase will include reopening of wellness centers operated by or with West Virginia Licensed Health Care providers and drive-in movie theaters.
  • May 5, 2020 – The Governor announced that West Virginians who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits are eligible for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – a 13-week extension on unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act.
  • May 6, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order directing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to test all daycare employees, as well as residents and staff members of assisted living facilities and residential care communities.
  • May 6, 2020 – The Governor’s newly established COVID-19 Advisory Commission on African American Disparities announced an enhanced testing initiative focused on African American communities.
  • May 8, 2020 – The Governor announced the limited reopening of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System as part of the “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback” plan.
  • May 11, 2020 – The Governor announced the next wave of businesses and activities permitted as part of Week 4 of the “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback” plan. In Week 4, the following services are permitted to reopen, with limitations:
    • Indoor restaurant dining at 50% capacity;
    • Large and specialty retail stores;
    • State park campgrounds for in-state residents only;
    • Outdoor recreation rentals;
    • Outdoor motorsport and powersport racing with no spectators; and
    • Hatfield McCoy Trail System.
  • May 13, 2020 – The Governor added tanning businesses to the list of entities permitted to reopen, with limitations, as part of Week 4 of the state’s reopening plan.
  • May 14, 2020 – The Governor announced that fitness centers, gymnasiums, and recreation centers have been added to the list of entities that will be allowed to resume operations under the next phase of the reopening plan.
    • The Governor also announced that whitewater rafting and ziplining businesses as well as rock climbing businesses will be permitted to reopen, with restrictions, beginning May 21 and May 15, respectively.
  • May 14, 2020 – The Governor and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced a plan to increase testing opportunities for minorities and other vulnerable populations in medically underserved communities.
  • May 15, 2020 – The Governor added gymnastics, dance, cheerleading, and martial arts to the list of recreational activities allowed to resume operations on May 18.
    • The Governor also issued an Executive Order, formalizing the May 18 reopening.
  • May 18, 2020 – The Governor added several businesses and entities to the list of May 26 reopenings including shopping malls, indoor and outdoor bars, museums and visitor centers, and zoos.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order, allowing Week 4 businesses to begin reopening on May 21.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor issued additional guidance documents for businesses and entities that are part of Week 5 reopening under the state’s Comeback plan.
  • May 20, 2020 – The Governor announced that West Virginia State Parks will offer historic discounts on lodging for West Virginia residents between June 1 and Aug 31.
  • May 20, 2020 – The Governor announced continued efforts to test susceptible populations across West Virginia, providing free, optional testing to all residents in several counties experiencing higher rates of COVID-19.
  • May 21, 2020 – The Governor announced that swimming pools, bowling alleys, pool halls, roller rinks, and other indoor amusement locations will be permitted to reopen on May 30, under additional guidelines.
    • The Governor also added movie theaters to the list of establishments reopening under Week 6 of the state’s comeback plan.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor provided an update on the increased monitoring efforts in two Eastern Panhandle counties that triggered the state’s Heightened Alert System.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order to formally allow businesses scheduled to reopen on May 26 to resume operations on that date. Businesses permitted to reopen, with restrictions, include:
    • State Park cabins and lodges to in-state residents;
    • Indoor bars at 50% capacity and outdoor bars;
    • Museums and visitor centers; and
    • Zoos.
  • May 26, 2020 – The Governor announced the launch of Week 5 of the state’s “Comeback” plan. The Governor also announced that beginning on May 30, the following businesses may resume operations:
    • Spas and massage businesses;
    • Limited video lottery retailers;
    • Swimming pools; and
    • Bowling Alleys, pool halls, roller rinks, and other places with indoor amusement.
  • May 26, 2020 – The Governor announced the completion of all testing for inmates and staff at Huttonsville Correctional Center and Jail.
  • May 26, 2020 – The Governor announced the continuation of efforts to test susceptible populations across the state, with testing in Fayette County continuing through May 28.
  • May 27, 2020 – The Governor and Maj. General of the West Virginia National Guard discussed several products recently developed in the state in response to COVID-19, including 3D-printer testing swabs, reusable medical gowns, nationally regarded protective masks, and hydrogen peroxide disinfecting systems.
  • May 28, 2020 – The Governor announced that he has ordered all inmates and employees at every corrections facility across West Virginia to be tested, as a precautionary measure in efforts to curtail the spread of the virus.
  • May 29, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order, formally allowing scheduled businesses to reopen, with limitations, on May 30. Businesses permitted to reopen include:
    • Spas and massages businesses;
    • Limited video lottery retailers;
    • Swimming pools; and
    • Bowling alleys, pool halls, roller rinks, and other indoor amusement.
  • May 29, 2020 – The Governor announced that WVSSAC-sanctioned high school and middle school athletic programs and bands will be allowed to resume their summer training programs beginning June 8. The Governor also announced that low-contact outdoor youth sports and little league organizations will be permitted to resume practices on June 8.
  • May 29, 2020 – The Governor released guidance to movie theaters, scheduled to reopen on June 5.
  • June 1, 2020 – The Governor announced the beginning of Week 6 of the state’s Comeback plan. Week 6 will begin on June 5, and permit casinos and movie theaters to resume operations.
  • June 2, 2020 – The Governor reminded West Virginias of free testing opportunities for minorities and other vulnerable populations. 
  • June 3, 2020 – The Governor announced that private and state park campgrounds, along with state park lodges and cabins, will be allowed to reopen to out-of-state guests beginning on June 10.
  • June 3, 2020 – The Governor released new guidance for resuming low-contact sports for participants of all ages.
    • The Governor also announced new guidance for bingo halls.
  • June 5, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order formally allowing week 7 reopenings to begin on June 8.
  • June 8, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order formally permitting entities scheduled to reopen on June 10, to do so.
  • June 8, 2020 – The Governor announced that summer youth camps may resume operations on June 22, provided that additional guidelines are followed. The Governor also announced that outdoor, open-air concerts at fairs and festivals will be allowed to resume, along with the reopening of fairs and festivals, on July 1.
  • June 10, 2020 – The Governor announced a multi-phased plan to resume visitation at West Virginia nursing homes. The plan stipulates that, beginning June 17, if a nursing home has had no active COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days, visitations will be permitted to resume, with certain restrictions in place.
  • June 10, 2020 – The Governor announced that the West Virginia Board of Education and State Superintendent of Schools have released guidance for counties to begin hosting in-person graduation ceremonies beginning June 22.
  • June 10, 2020 – The Governor announced that all outdoor, open-air concerts will be permitted to resume, following strict safety guidelines, beginning July 1.
  • June 12, 2020 – The Governor announced that all inmates and employees at each of the state’s correctional facilities have been tested for COVID-19.
  • June 15, 2020 – The Governor announced that $6.3 million in CARES Act grant funding has been distributed across the state.
  • June 15, 2020 – The Governor announced the beginning of Week 8 of the state’s Comeback plan.
  • June 19, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order formally allowing scheduled Week 9 reopenings to begin on June 22. Approved reopenings include:
    • Youth sports games with spectators;
    • Outdoor sporting events with spectators;
    • Outdoor equestrian events with spectators; and
    • Summer Youth Camps.
  • June 24, 2020 – The Governor announced that the DHHR’s Bureau for Children and Families will issue a one-time payment to foster care families, child placing agencies, and residential and emergency shelters to support costs related to the COVID-19.
  • June 26, 2020 – The Governor announced a proposed distribution of $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act funding to local governments, small businesses, Fairmont hospital, and other COVID-19 public projects.
  • June 30, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order suspending the regulatory statute requiring that racetrack table game licensees pay the West Virginia Lottery Commission as part of their application for renewal by July 1, 2020, extending the due date until October 1, 2020.
  • July 1, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order formally permitting the reopening of fairs, festivals, amusement parks, rides, and outdoor open-air concerts.
  • July 6, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order to establish a statewide indoor face covering requirement.
  • July 8, 2020 – The Governor and State education leaders announced that they are tentatively targeting September 8 to resume student instruction in school buildings across the state.  
  • July 13, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order, reducing the statewide social gathering limit from 100 to 25 individuals. The executive order also closes all fairs, festivals, and similar events, and prohibits both indoor and outdoor concerts statewide.
  • July 13, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order, closing all bars in Monongalia County for 10 days, in response to a significant spike in cases.
  • July 15, 2020 – The Governor announced that applications for small businesses seeking to receive funding through the Governor’s West Virginia CARES Act Small Business Grant Program, are now live online. 
  • July 17, 2020 – The Governor reminded West Virginians of several new regulations in effect across the state, including reducing the limit for social gatherings to 25 individuals.
  • July 20, 2020 – The Governor announced that he will hold a virtual meeting with all public and private college and university presidents to discuss reopening plans for the fall semester and how to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and communities.
  • July 23, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order, extending the closure of all bars in Monongalia County for an additional 10 days.
  • July 24, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order, formally allowing all of West Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities to reopen for the fall semester.
  • July 27, 2020 – The Governor announced $1.3 million awarded to the state’s 392 fairs and festivals, after all fairs, festivals, and similar events were closed two weeks ago for safety purposes.