Frequently Asked Questions:  Safer at Home West Virginia


West Virginia’s success at slowing the spread of COVID-19 means the “Stay at Home” order issued March 23 is being replaced with a new Executive Order from Gov. Justice, “Safer at Home.”


What does this mean?

  1. West Virginians are still strongly encouraged to leave home only for essential activities.
  2. Staying at home remains critically important for seniors, people with compromised immune systems, and other vulnerable populations.
  3. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has come into contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay at home as well.
  4. Businesses defined as non-essential can start re-opening by category, according to the schedule set by West Virginia Strong-The Comeback.
  5. Gatherings are still limited to 24 people, with certain exceptions such as religious services.
  6. Social distancing is strongly encouraged, and required in certain settings.
  7. Wearing a CDC-recommended mask or face covering is strongly encouraged, and required in certain settings.


Gov. Justice’s order is effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 4. It amends, ends or replaces several earlier executive orders including the March 23 “Stay at Home” order.  This new order replaces the “Stay at Home” mandate. It allows West Virginians to leave their homes, but strongly encourages them to stay at home unless:

  1. Obtaining food, medicine or other essential goods
  2. Obtaining medical care
  3. Going to a job already defined as essential or covered by this new order (see below)
  4. Visiting family or abiding by a child visitation agreement
  5. Going to a place of worship
  6. Engaging in outdoor activities that adhere to social distancing and crowd size rules.

Individuals strongly encouraged to stay at home include:

  1. Seniors
  2. Those with compromised immune systems
  3. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19
  4. Anyone exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  5. Any other populations considered vulnerable to COVID-19


This order takes effect at the same time that Week 2 of the state’s re-opening plan, West Virginia Strong-The Comeback, begins. Special rules or guidance apply for some of those businesses or activities covered by this phase.  During Week 2, these establishments or activities are allowed (but not required) to open:

  1. Restaurants with outdoor diningor takeaway service available
  2. Barbershops, and hair and nail salons
    1. “Safer at Home” endsthe March 19 order that closed these businesses
    2. By appointment only
    3. Appointments must be scheduled to allow cleaning in between
    4. Customers must wait in vehicles or otherwise not in the establishment
    5. All staff and employees must wear masks
  3. Pet groomers and other professional services
    1. By appointment only
    2. Appointments must be scheduled to allow cleaning in between
    3. Customers or clients must wait in vehicles or otherwise not inside
  4. In-person services at funeral homes and places of worship
    1. Seating should be spaced to ensure social distancing
    2. The wearing of face coverings is strongly encouraged
  5. Small retail businesses (10 or fewer employees; 50 or fewer customers per day); examples include:
    1. Jewelry and flower shops
    2. Sporting goods, uniform and equipment stores
    3. Clothing, shoe and furniture stores
    4. Eligible small businesses must ensure proper hygiene practices and social distancing, including limiting any customer occupancy to two individuals for every 1,000 square feet of interior space
    5. If located in a mall, such businesses must have a direct outdoor entrance and exit
  6. Home-based businesses can continue to operate, with any employees working from their own residences.
  7. All businesses can continue to conduct the minimum necessary activitiesto:
    1. Maintain inventory
    2. Preserve working condition of physical plant and equipment
    3. Process payroll and employee benefits
    4. Secure buildings, grounds and other property

Indoor and outdoor entertainment and social venues remain closed under the Safer at Home order, given the risk to proper social distancing. Businesses and establishments that are still closed include:

  1. Social clubs, pool halls, bingo halls, adult entertainment venues
  2. Arcades, playgrounds, children’s play centers
  3. Movies and other theaters, concert halls
  4. Museums, zoos, carnivals, fairs, amusement parks and venues
  5. Bowling alleys, casinos and racetracks (except for simulcast horse racing without spectators no sooner than May 14)
  6. Shopping malls
    1. Small businesses in such places that are eligible to re-open in such places must have a direct outdoor entrance and exit.




WV Safer at Home