CHARLESTON — The Huntington Mall will reopen Thursday after Gov. Jim Justice on Monday gave the green light by adding indoor malls to Week 4 of his Comeback plan.
The mall will resume normal operating hours Thursday, May 21, though individual stores may operate under different hours. According to a release, throughout the mall, best practices will be used regarding social distancing and there will be an emphasis on cleaning, especially in high-traffic areas. Physical barriers and signage will be placed throughout to encourage physical distancing.
Many of the mall’s retailers will also soon be offering “Mall To Go” curbside pickup at designated mall entrances by calling a store in advance to place orders.
Malls join large retailers, indoor seating at restaurants and outdoor recreation rentals among those reopening just before Memorial Day weekend.
Justice announced "Week 5" of his comeback plan will begin Tuesday, May 26. State park cabins and lodges can reopen only to state residents. Bars can reopen at 50% capacity like restaurants. Zoos, museums and welcome centers can reopen as well.
Spas and massage businesses can reopen Saturday, May 30, as well as limited video lottery establishments. Casinos will reopen Friday, June 5.
"Just be super careful in all that you do and we will be fine," Justice said, later requesting people please wear a mask when in public.
Dr. Clay Marsh, state coronavirus czar, said the reopenings, especially of activities that make a "pleasurable life," have potential to bring about a second wave of COVID-19 cases. He said it was important to continue to take physical distancing seriously and to wear a mask or facing covering when in public.
"If we all wear a mask, we protect each other, and if other people are wearing them they protect us," he said. "...I want West Virginia to take note of that."
Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch provided an update on testing at assisted-living facilities and day care facilities, as well as the targeted, free testing that took place in four counties over the weekend.
As of 9 a.m. Monday, 69 of the 94 assisted living and care community facilities in the state had reported their testing effort. Of those, 52 facilities (75%) have reported that they starting testing, with 15 more noting their testing would begin by Friday. Thirty-eight (55%) reported completing testing and 16 facilities reported receiving all results.
Four assisted living facilities reported cases of COVID-19 in staff (5 cases) or residents (1 case):
- In two facilities, a single staff member tested positive.
- In one facility, a single resident tested positive.
- In a previously identified outbreak, a facility reported three staff who tested positive, with only one staff member still in isolation.
Thirty-eight percent of the 37 child care facilities operating in the state have completed testing of 587 staff members. Three have been found positive.
Crouch said free testing in Berkeley, Jefferson, Mercer and Raleigh counties resulted in 2,388 tests taken. Though the testing is open to all, it is part of a plan developed by a task force focused on COVID-19 disproportionately effecting the black and other minority populations in the state. The free testing will take place in Cabell and Kanawha counties this Friday and Saturday at locations that will be announced in the coming days.
Justice said outreach and messaging about the testing needs to be increased to continue to increase turnout. Crouch said the task force will be increasingly helpful in getting the message to the vulnerable communities going forward.
The 68th death, a 86-year-old female from Kanawha County, was reported Monday.
Twelve new positive cases were reported Monday, bringing the total to 1,502, and there were 2,270 new lab results for COVID-19 received by the state. A little more than 4% of the population has been tested and 61% of all cases have recovered.
Total confirmed cases by county: Barbour (seven), Berkeley (215), Boone (nine), Braxton (two), Brooke (three), Cabell (56), Calhoun (two), Clay (two), Fayette (38), Gilmer (eight), Grant (six), Greenbrier (nine), Hampshire (12), Hancock (12), Hardy (31), Harrison (35), Jackson (135), Jefferson (101), Kanawha (203), Lewis (five), Lincoln (five), Logan (15), Marion (48), Marshall (25), Mason (15), McDowell (six), Mercer (13), Mineral (29), Mingo (three), Monongalia (116), Monroe (six), Morgan (17), Nicholas (nine), Ohio (37), Pendleton (five), Pleasants (two), Pocahontas (eight), Preston (15), Putnam (29), Raleigh (12), Randolph (seven), Ritchie (one), Roane (nine), Summers (one), Taylor (eight), Tucker (four), Tyler (three), Upshur (six), Wayne (96), Wetzel (seven), Wirt (three), Wood (48), Wyoming (three).