City Hall News: June 8-12, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., June 6, 2020: Elkins City Hall is closed Tuesday, in observance of Primary Election Day in West Virginia. If you haven’t already, please exercise your most powerful tool as a citizen of a representative democracy – vote!

A Suddenlink outage this past Thursday night, affecting both direct internet and phone services as well as local cellular service, created technical difficulties resulting in the cancellation of the meeting of the Elkins Common Council. The mayor has called for a special call meeting this Thursday upcoming to take up council business.

Also next week, the Public Safety Committee will meet virtually on Monday at 10:00 a.m. to hear updates from the city’s public safety officials. The Elkins Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. via Zoom to review what is nearing a final draft of the updated zoning ordinance. Later that same day, the Elkins Tree Board will hold an in-person meeting (while observing CDC recommendations) at the Darden House at 5:30 p.m. All council, committee, board and commission meetings are open to the public. Login information and instructions for submitting public comments for those meetings being held virtually can be found here:

Those needing to conduct business at city hall are still asked to minimize in-person visits and instead use online, phone, mail, and dropbox options. Contact information for all city offices is available through this page of the city website: If you must visit city hall, please adhere to all posted notices and CDC recommendations.

There is no change in trash service next week. Street paving will continue in various locations throughout the city.

Governor’s Guidance for Week 7 Reopenings

The “Week 7” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Monday, June 8.

Below is an excerpt from the governor’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback web page showing the business categories that may reopen this week (with links to guidance documents showing safety precautions they should, and in some cases must, take):

Monday, June 8, 2020

​Wednesday, June 10, 2020

  • Private campgrounds and State Park campgrounds, cabins, and lodges to out-of-state guests (Stays may last no longer than seven days)

Click here for information about keeping up with the latest news and updates concerning the governor’s reopening plan.

Governor’s Guidance for Week 6 Reopenings

The “Week 6” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Friday, June 5.

Below is an excerpt from the governor’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback web page showing the business categories that may reopen this week (with links to guidance documents showing safety precautions they should, and in some cases must, take):

Friday, June 5, 2020

Click here for information about keeping up with the latest news and updates concerning the governor’s reopening plan.

Elkins Municipal Court Announces COVID-19 Precautions

Elkins, W. Va., June 1, 2020: Elkins Municipal Court announced COVID-19 precautions that are effective immediately at all hearings, city officials said today. These precautions, which are based on an order issued by the West Virginia Supreme Court (WVSC), include requiring all parties in the courtroom to wear masks, sanitize their hands, and maintain distancing.

Under these precautions, the only persons allowed in the courtroom at the beginning of any hearing will be the judge, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the defendant. Witnesses will be required to wait outside until called and leave the courtroom after testifying.

All persons entering the courtroom must bring and wear their own masks, removing them only if directed by the judge. Medical or N95 masks are not required.

“Any type of face covering sufficient to catch droplets leaving the nose and mouth, including homemade fabric masks or bandanas, is appropriate,” according to the WVSC order.

Persons arriving without masks will be considered not to have appeared, and the hearing will proceed without them. All persons entering the courtroom must also sanitize their hands and remain at least six feet from other people present.

Anyone who is COVID-19 positive, who has been in contact with anyone who is COVID-19 positive, or who is experiencing a fever or cough should contact their attorney and the court for guidance. Please contact Elkins Municipal Court Clerk Michelle Metheny, at (304) 636-7142 or, with any questions.

Governor’s Guidance for Week 5 Reopenings

The “Week 5” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Tuesday, May 26 (with some categories of businesses opening Saturday, May 30).

Below is an excerpt from the governor’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback web page showing the business categories that may reopen this week (with links to guidance documents showing safety precautions they should, and in some cases must, take):

Click here for information about keeping up with the latest news and updates concerning the governor’s reopening plan.

COVID-19 Testing Saturday in Elkins and Mill Creek

Covid Testing is Saturday, May 30

Elkins, WV – There will be a community Covid-19 testing this Saturday, May 30 at locations in Mill Creek and Elkins.  The tests are free to the public and will not be subject to pre-screening guidelines.

According to Elkins-Randolph County Health Department Director of Threat Preparedness Bonnie Woodrum, the testing will help state officials determine the amount of community coronavirus spread in the county.

Testing at both locations will be available from 10 am until 4 pm, or while supplies last.

In Elkins, the public may visit the Davis Medical Center (DMC) Covid Testing Drive-Thru Site located on the campus of DMC.  Valley HealthCare will provide testing at their site in Mill Creek, 6 Town Center Plaza, Suite A.

At the sites, medical staff will administer the test while motorists remain in their cars.  The screening involves a quick nasal swab, which will be sent to a state-designated laboratory for processing.  Testing will be by request, which means no criteria will have to be met, and no age restrictions apply.

Woodrum is coordinating the testing event with assistance from local groups including Davis Medical Center, The Office of Emergency Management, Randolph County Sherriff’s Department, Valley HealthCare, and the Randolph County Emergency Squad.  The West Virginia Army National Guard is providing 500 test kits for each site, required forms, PPE and coolers, and will pick up and deliver specimens. The Randolph County Sheriff’s Department will provide for support by law enforcement.

“Because our county has had a rapid increase in positive cases, including ones resulting from community spread, we need a better understanding of the magnitude.  This testing event will provide a good sampling from which to draw valuable data,” said Woodrum.

Residents should continue to practice coronavirus safety measures including hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing face coverings while in public.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Education (CDC), these practices can help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Questions about the May 30, 2020 community testing should be directed to the Elkins-Randolph County Health Department at 304.636.0396.

May 28, 2020

Contact: Tracy Fath, 304.637.3467

Reopening Update for City Parks and Rec Facilities

No announced date for reopening Phil Gainer Recreation Center and Riverbend Park

Elkins, W. Va., May 27, 2020: At a meeting last week, the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission announced reopening steps being taken at city parks and recreation facilities. As reopening proceeds, the commission advises all park users to observe recommended precautions for reducing COVID-19 risk, including distancing from other people, frequent handwashing or sanitization, and the use of masks where distancing may not be practicable.

Playgrounds at city parks are now reopened. Use of playgrounds is at patrons’ own risk. The use of pavilions is discouraged but not prohibited; no reservations are being accepted.

The 2020 summer day camp program has been cancelled.

There is not yet an announced date for reopening either the Phil Gainer Community Center or Riverbend Park.

Please visit for more information about these updates (including copies of relevant orders and guidelines), as well as an overview of COVID-19 response in Elkins and West Virginia.

Justice Calls Masks Crucial to Reducing Infections

 May 21, 2020

Masks are crucial to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Governor Jim Justice emphasized at yesterday’s press briefing.

He used the country of Japan as a comparison with the United States.

Japan has lost less than 800 people to coronavirus so far—that is, 800 cumulative coronavirus deaths.

The United States has lost an average of about 1,000 people a day since February 15. Our cumulative virus death toll is more than 93,000 people, as of May 21.

What’s the difference between the two countries?

Masks, Justice explained.

“In the nation of Japan… they’ve all got masks on when they’re outside,” he said. “They’re just trying to look out for themselves.”

Justice urged West Virginia to bring this lesson home to the Mountain State.

“West Virginia, please: wear your mask if you’re going to be out in a group of people,” he said. “Protect yourself and protect others. That’s all there is to it.”

A recent study found that, if 80 percent of people would wear masks, there would be almost no need for continued shutdowns: (This study has not yet been peer reviewed.)

Note on comparing the U.S. and Japan: Japan’s population is 38 percent of the United State’s population. To make an apples to apples comparison, multiply Japan’s deaths by about 2.6. Correcting for population difference this way, Japan’s cumulative coronavirus death toll is the equivalent of about 2,500 deaths in the United States—still considerably less than the United States’s cumulative death toll of more than 93,000.

How to Stay Current on the Governor’s Reopening Plan

May 19, 2020

Since April 30, West Virginia has been in the process of reducing pandemic-related restrictions in weekly phases laid out in Governor Jim Justice’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback “reopening” plan.

With the frequent announcements of tweaks to this plan (e.g., the official “Week 4” phase didn’t start Monday, it starts Thursday, etc.), it can be easy to lose track of what categories of businesses are allowed to open when.

For a handy reference, check out this page on the governor’s website. The page lists, week by week, the various categories of businesses that are allowed to open and provides links to state-issued guidance documents to enable safer operations for many of them.

The governor also provides a daily press briefing Monday-Friday. You can find the live streams here. They are not always at the same time every day. However, the times are announced various places, including on the Governor’s Twitter stream. If you join late, you can rewind to the beginning while it is still being broadcast and, later, you can view an archived recording–all on this page.

Even More Week 4 Reopenings: Low-Contact Sport Training Facilities

May 18, 2020

At his daily press conference Friday, May 15, Governor Jim Justice announced additional categories of businesses that will be allowed but not required to reopen during the week of May 18, or “Week 4” of his reopening plan.

The newly announced categories of businesses that will be permitted to reopen May 18 are those operating “low-contact sport training facilities.” These include gymnastics, dance, cheerleading, and martial arts centers. (Guidelines are available here.)

These Week 4 changes are only the latest. You can read about other changes here and here.

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