The Hatfield-McCoy Trails will reopen prior to the Memorial Day holiday, according to Gov. Jim Justice during his daily press briefing earlier today.

“I have gotten a lot of feedback from a lot of people including people from our tourism office and from medical experts,” Justice said. “I am recommending we reopen the Hatfield-McCoy Trails as of Thursday, May 21.”

Also during the briefing, the governor stipulated several guidelines that will be placed upon trail riders including:

Wearing face masks or shields while stopped;

Performing self-screenings for symptoms of COVID-19;

Taking temperature checks before arriving at the trails – anyone with a temperature great than 100 degrees will not be permitted on the trails;

Congregating on the trails will be prohibited;

Social distancing must be practiced;

Sharing of vehicles with anyone outside of a rider’s group or party is discouraged and sharing of safety equipment or masks with anyone is discouraged.

“The bottom line is that we expect (riders) to respect us and to respect our people,” Justice said.

He justified the decision saying trail riding is an outdoor activity yet he understands it will draw people from out of state.

“We cannot stay closed forever,” Justice said. “We’ve got to try to reopen. Someway, somehow, we’ve got to learn to live with this disease, with this pandemic.”

The governor said if West Virginia and the nation do not began moving forward with reopening plans that it very well good lead to a depression.

“We cannot as a nation draw in and stay in our houses for months,” he said. “If we do, we will slip into the awfulest depression we’ve ever seen.”

He said during this time people have to be responsible, to be smart and protect themselves.

“There are two sides to this coin. It is a difficult decision,” Justice said. “On the left hand, you have risks. On the right hand, you have the possibility of an all-out depression.”

Justice admitted to having mixed emotions about reopening the trails. While he said he was happy to reopen them, he said he was also concerned. He added that this action is open for change or reversal if adverse results occur.

See next week’s edition of the Mingo Messenger for additional information has details develop.

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