Brittany Patterson Published

Justice Says State Park Lodges To Close, Farmers Markets Stay Open, Coronavirus Cases Climb To 8

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This story was updated at 5 p.m. EST with the latest positive case count.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced new tourism-related restrictions Friday, March 20. By Friday afternoon, the state Department of Health and Human Resources reported eight positive cases of the coronavirus in the Mountain State. 

During a televised press conference, Justice said all lodges in state parks will close to help prevent spread of the virus. Campsites, cabins and access to state parks will not be affected. 

“We want you to enjoy the parks. We want you to get outside,” he reiterated. “We want you to bike, and hike, and fish and get outside and stay away from people.” 

Justice also said effective at midnight on March 20, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails would close. The 700-plus miles of ATV trails, located in southern West Virginia, are a popular destination for out-of-state visitors.

The governor also confirmed there are now seven positive cases of the virus reported in West Virginia. Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said there are two cases in both Jefferson and Tucker counties, and one each in Mercer, Monongalia and Jackson counties.

Later Friday, the DHHR website reported an eighth confirmed case in Kanawha County.

Justice said he would also sign a series of measures aimed at extending licensing and other regulatory requirements. That includes expanding access to telehealth and extending renewals for driver’s licenses. Farmers markets and livestock markets are to remain open at this time. 

“The net of it is, we’ve got to keep our food channels open,” Justice said. 

The West Virginia Red Cross is also urging healthy residents to donate blood.