To prevent COVID-19 from spreading further, numerous communities and
even entire states across the country have ordered their residents to stay
home. West Virginians should already be taking such common-sense steps
as limiting non-essential travel and maintaining social distancing. West
Virginia residents should therefore be prepared to follow the rules of
a “Stay-at-Home” order if one is issued for the state or the nation.
To ready West Virginians, it is important to know:
• A Stay-at-Home order is not martial law
• A Stay-at-Home order is not a lockdown
• A Stay-at-Home order does not close West Virginia roads, bridges or borders
• A Stay-at-Home order does not prevent West Virginians from leaving the state
• A Stay-at-Home order does not prevent West Virginians from returning from
Questions and Answers about a “Stay-at-Home” order:
Q: What would a Stay-at-Home order require me to do?
A: A Stay-at-Home order would require West Virginians to remain in their homes and
residences and leave only for essential services. It would be mandatory, and not merely
guidance or advice.
Q: When could I leave my home? What is an “essential service?”
A: Essential services include going to the grocery store or gas station; picking up a
prescription or receiving medical care; and getting outdoor exercise for yourself, your
children and your pets. They also include working jobs to provide essential services.
Q: What would remain open as an “essential service?’
A: Businesses and services that would remain open fall under several categories. For
all of these, including outdoor areas, the six-foot social distancing guideline
o Grocery stores
o Convenience stores
o Take-out and delivery restaurants
o Farmers markets
o Food bank and food pantries
o Take-out and delivery meal services, including school-based
• Health care
o Doctor’s offices and other health care provider facilities
• Public Safety
o Police stations
o Fire stations
o Ambulance services
o Gas stations
o Public transit
o Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry services
o Outdoor public spaces including parks and trails not specifically closed by
Q: What jobs would be considered essential?
A: Jobs providing the services outlined above would be considered essential. Other
essential jobs would include:
• Manufacturing or delivering materials and products needed for essential
• Essential government services (local, state, and county)
o Programs and services that support essential operations and functions
o Hotlines or helplines, including for Medicaid, SNAP benefits, etc.
• Other critical infrastructure
o Public utilities and related infrastructure, including home and commercial
electrical and plumbing systems
o Communications infrastructure and services, including media
Q: What would be closed as non-essential?
A: Businesses and workplaces that do not fall under the above categories or are
otherwise designated as essential would be closed. Those already closed by Executive
• Dine-in restaurants
• Bars and nightclubs
• Entertainment venues including casinos and performance halls
• Barber shops and hair and nail salons
• Gyms and fitness centers
Q: What about working from home?
A: Working from home would be encouraged wherever possible.
Q: What if I’m told to report to a job that is non-essential?
A: If you believe your business is nonessential but are still being asked to show up to
work, you should discuss that with your employer.
Q: How would a Stay-at-Home order be enforced?
A: Law enforcement officials would not stop residents on their way to or from work or from obtaining essential services as outlined above, including recreation. People
gathering in any size group would be asked to social distance or go home. The West Virginia National Guard would not be involved in enforcing any Stay-at-Home
Q: How would a Stay-at-Home order affect travel and transportation?
A: West Virginia should drive themselves when possible or walk. Public transportation
and ride sharing would be for essential travel only. The same goes for air travel. Roads,
bridges and borders would remain open.
Q: Would I still be allowed to visit family and friends?
A: Visits to other homes and residences would be limited to caring for the elderly,
minors, dependents, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable persons. In such
circumstances, visitors should minimize interactions as much as possible.
Q: What help would there be for residents with intellectual and developmental
A: Services for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities would be
considered essential and continue under a Stay-at-Home order. The Bureau for Medical
Services could provide additional information: (304) 558-1700.
Q: What if my home is not a safe environment?
A: Anyone who would not be safe in their residence while under a Stay-at-Home order
should consider planning now to find an alternative safe place. The West Virginia
Coalition Against Domestic Violence can help. Visit http://wvcadv.org or contact the
National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233).
Q: What about people who are homeless?
A: State, county and local government agencies and officials will partner with W.Va.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD) and other community
organizations to ensure safe shelter for our homeless population.
*courtesy of West Virginia Broadcast Association