On April 3, 2020, Governor Justice issued Executive Order 20-20 imposing additional restrictive measures on movement and the operation of businesses in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle counties in response to developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, April 4, 2020, the Governor followed up by issuing Executive Order 21-20, adding Kanawha, Harrison, and Monongalia Counties to the list of counties where the additional restrictions are in effect.
In addition to limiting group gatherings to five people and imposing other movement restrictions on individuals, Executive Order 21-20 orders Essential Businesses and Operations (as defined in Section 3 of Executive Order 9-20), that are permitted to continue to operate during the COVID-19 crisis, to cause workers to work remotely or from home to the maximum extent possible. Executive Order 21-20 further empowers local health departments in the named counties to establish and enforce protocols to limit or regulate the operations Essential Businesses. Executive Orders 20-20 and 21-20 also authorize the West Virginia State Police to enforce the Orders and the orders of local health departments issued under the authority of the Executive Orders of the Governor.
On April 5, 2020, under the auspices of the Governor’s Executive Order 21-20, the Kanawha Charleston Health Department issued an Order Establishing additional measures and regulations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public from further spread of the COVID-19 virus. With respect to essential businesses and operations, the Order of the Kanawha Charleston Health Department requires that all essential businesses still operating in Kanawha County:
- To require workers to work from home to the maximum extent possible;
- To implement a plan to limit staff to essential personnel only;
- To implement social distancing practices in the workplace where possible, including remaining six feet away from others;
- To supply adequate disinfecting and hygienic supplies (e.g. wipes, spray, hand sanitizer, soap and water) to employees;
In addition to the foregoing requirements on Essential Businesses, those that remain open to the public must also:
- Limit access to not more than two individuals per 1,000 square feet of public space in the business and must keep track of the number of people who enter and leave the business and must limit access to the maximum permitted occupancy on a one in / one out basis;
- Take actions to establish social distancing for the public to the greatest extent possible, including but not limited to marking distances six feet apart at any area where people are likely to stand in line, creating one-way aisles or other restrictions to limit close contact, and encouraging people to place orders ahead; and
- Display prominently the regulations in force and the maximum occupancy of their locations in no less than (5) locations including at the entrance of the business, and posting the same on the businesses website and social media platforms as applicable).
Citing the Governor’s Executive Order, the Kanawha Charleston Health Department’s order makes provisions to coordinate the enforcement of the order by the West Virginia State Police and local law enforcement; confirms that any person violating a lawful directive from law enforcement is subject to misdemeanor penalties; and declares any person not complying with the order to be a nuisance affecting public health with law enforcement authorized to seek injunctions against such violators.
It is important to note that these restrictions apply even to essential businesses (as defined in Section 3 of the Governor’s Executive Order 9-20).
If you are operating an Essential Business in Kanawha County we recommend that you carefully review the order of the Kanawha Charleston Health Department and make arrangements to comply. If you have employees traveling around the County or the State for essential business purposes or operations, consider requiring employees who are traveling to carry proper photo identification, work orders or other evidence of the essential nature of their travel, and the contact information of a Company leader who can verify their identity and their assignment for essential operations.
Please contact Lewis Glasser if you have any additional questions regarding compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders or specific orders issued by local health departments.
Matthew R. Bowles
Lewis Glasser PLLC
(O) 304.345.2000 (Ext. 1039) / (D) 304.414.9001
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