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.

City Hall News: May 25-29, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., May 23, 2020: Elkins City Hall is closed Monday, in observance of Memorial Day. Please join us in remembering American veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms throughout this nation’s history.

There are no council or committee meetings scheduled during this week. Trash normally collected on Monday will be collected Tuesday instead. Please continue to place out items for collection by the Sanitation Department only in tied trash bags.

Tuesday begins the second week of Elkins City Hall being open to the public after its pandemic-related closure. Customers are still asked to minimize in-person visits and instead use online, phone, mail, and drop-box options for paying bills. All city offices are reachable via phone and email at the contact information available through this page of the city website:

If you must visit city hall, please help us keep you and city employees as safe as possible by ensuring that only two customers are in the lobby at one time and by calling ahead for appointments with second-floor personnel. Please also follow Governor Justice’s strong recommendations to wear masks and maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people.

Police department renovations are in their final weeks. New furniture, built by West Virginia Correctional Industries, has been delivered and officers are in the process of moving into and organizing their workspaces.

Work is also progressing on renovations to the Phil Gainer Community Center. Contractors recently removed the old ductwork and air handlers from the main activity room and rerouted sprinkler lines. A generator has been installed, enabling the building’s use as an emergency shelter if needed.

Boil-Water Advisory Lifted

May 22, 2020
Lab tests found no contamination from Tuesday’s water-main break. The boil-water advisory has been lifted, effective immediately.

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.

Boil-Water Advisory Remains in Effect for Parts of Elkins Area

May 21, 2020

A boil-water advisory is still in effect for parts of the Elkins area. This advisory cannot be updated until Friday because of the time needed to perform lab testing of water samples.

Neighborhoods under a boil-water advisory include all customers in Crystal Springs and also any customers west of Worth Avenue and south of Harrison Avenue, including Oak Grove and Tygart Valley Mall. Water customers outside of the boil-water area may still experience discolored water.

Boil-water advisories are issued out of an abundance of caution and do not necessarily indicate the presence of contaminated water. For more information about boil-water advisories, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the boil water advisory is lifted. Again, the earliest we will be able to announce any updates concerning this advisory will be Friday, May 22.

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:

Water Main Break: Boil-Water Advisory Is In Effect In Crystal Springs and Parts of Elkins

May 20, 2020

The City of Elkins has experienced a major water-main break in the vicinity of Wilson and Worth streets. This break has affected service and water quality across wide areas of the city. Crews have been working since last night to restore service. However, this work has been complicated by 18 inches of concrete road bed and the proximity of gas lines and a sewer main, all under a major truck route. We will restore service as soon as possible.

As a result of this break, many parts of the city are under a boil-water advisory. Areas under a boil-water advisory will include all customers in Crystal Springs west of Worth Avenue and south of Harrison Avenue including Oak Grove, and Tygart Valley Mall. Water customers outside of the boil-water area may still experience discolored water.

Boil-water advisories are issued out of an abundance of caution and do not necessarily indicate the presence of contaminated water. For more information about boil-water advisories, click here.

Notification will be sent out when the boil water advisory is lifted. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.

To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:

Governor’s Guidance for Week 4 Reopenings

The official “Week 4” phase of West Virginia’s statewide reopening plan starts Thursday, May 21 (with some categories of businesses allowed to open Monday, May 18).

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):

Note for lodging facilities: The executive order requiring out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine will be lifted in Week 4. In accordance with this change, additional guidance documents are available for hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, and cabins.

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.

City Hall News: May 18-22, 2020

Elkins, W. Va., May 16, 2020: Elkins City Hall reopens to the public during normal business hours (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) starting Monday, May 18. However, the public is asked to continue to use low-contact methods for interacting with city staff, including asking questions by email or phone and paying bills by mail, online, or by using the drop box behind city hall. Other safety precautions will be posted on entrance doors. For more information:

For at least the month of May, Elkins Common Council and its committees will continue to meet virtually. Login and other important meeting information will be posted on this page of the city website:

The Elkins Sanitary Board, the body in charge of the Elkins sewer system, holds its regular meeting Monday, May 18, at 3:15 p.m. Council will hold its regular meeting Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. The agenda is not yet complete but will include consideration of the Fiscal Year 2021 Water Fund budget. (Virtual meetings; login information at above link.)

Please continue to help keep our sanitation workers safe by placing items out for collection only in tied trash bags. Don’t forget to fill out your Census form—it’s absolutely crucial for federal funding and representation in Congress. And remember: Tuesday, May 19 is the deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming primary election. Because of the pandemic, all West Virginians are eligible to vote via absentee ballot. See for information about voter registration and other election information.

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