Precautions Need to be Taken as Businesses Begin to Reopen

By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

According to a recent announcement made by Governor Jim Justice, as of April 30 a six week plan will tentatively kick off in attempt to reopen businesses across the state. James Snyder with the Tucker County Health Department provided detailed information regarding what this would mean for the weeks to come.

The first week will include elective hospital procedures, primary care facilities, therapy services, and testing of daycare centers. On May 4, week two will begin with the reopening of small businesses with less than 10 employees, professional services by appointment, hair and nail salons as well as barbershops, dog grooming, outdoor dining facilities, and churches and funeral homes with limited gatherings. “Masks are highly encouraged,” stated Snyder.

“We’re saying to wear a mask any time you’re out in public,” he added. It is suggested that, if a church or funeral home chooses to reconvene, to continue practicing social distancing, only families should sit together with a pew between groups, and it is encouraged for those age 65 and over to remain home. “The elderly and vulnerable still need to stay home,” Snyder stated. Essential activities are the only reasons individuals should be leaving home to continue monitoring the situation.

Weeks three through six will begin the ability to open government buildings and offices, specialty retail stores, parks, gyms, dining rooms at restaurants, hotels, casinos, and spas and massage parlors. At least a one week notice will be given prior to reopening.

As the reopening begins, these entities will be provided a detailed list of stipulations that they must follow. “Reopening definitely does not mean things are back in order,” said Snyder. “I feel we have to be more cautious as we open up more.”

Unfortunately, there are still no timeframes to reopen nursing homes for visitations, cinemas, sporting events, entertainment functions such as concerts, or gatherings larger than 25 attendees. Per Governor Justice’s order, all staff and residents of Cortland Acres were tested for the Coronavirus. Of the 167 staff and 77 residents, everyone tested negative. As of Friday, May 1, 72 Tucker County residents have been tested for the virus with only four positives, all of which have recovered, and 65 negatives and three tests still outstanding.

“COVID is still out there,” Snyder confirmed. “We still need to be careful or we will go backwards,” he added. As formerly mentioned, face coverings are still highly recommended as well as social distancing. Even though the Stay at Home Order has been condensed to a Safer at Home Order, those over age 65 or immune-compromised are encouraged to remain at home. The new order states that leaving home should be for essential activities which include obtaining necessary goods such as food and medicine, seeking medical care, going to work, home, the home of a family member or place of worship, and engaging in outdoor activities with less than 25 individuals.

As always, for more information regarding COVID-19, you can visit www.CDC.gov or contact the Tucker county Health Department at 304-478-3572.

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