Gyms, fitness centers and drive-in movie theatres will be allowed to reopen next week as the state enters into Week Three of West Virginia Strong: The Comeback.

Gov. Jim Justice made this announcement this Tuesday afternoon, May 5, during his daily press briefing. He said specific guidelines for these businesses can be found on the state’s websites.

Justice also said that unemployment benefits will be extended for another 13 weeks. Workers who have exhausted their benefits may apply for the extension beginning Wednesday.

The governor said the state’s mortality rate still holds at 50 deaths, with no new deaths being reported since Saturday. Monday’s daily growth rate for positive coronavirus test results increased to 2.7 percent, however, the cumulative rate of positive case decreased slightly to 2.26 percent from Monday’s 2.27 percent. The R-Naught (disease transmission) rate remained at 0.76 percent.

Justice added that the lines between active COVID-19 cases and recovered cases intersected around April 27. To date, recovered cases are more than 150 cases (667) higher than the active positive cases (510).

However, he and his advisors constantly warn West Virginians not to become complacent as the statistics continue on a downward trend and reduce precautions that have been set in place.

“The virus is still there and we need to be more thoughtful as we start to go back out,” said West Virginia COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh. “We should not think we are finished with COVID yet.”

He used Georgia and Texas as examples. Both states began their respective reopenings in advance of West Virginia and each has seen dramatic statistical increases. 

Recommended for you