1CHARLESTON — Monday marked the second week of Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to push West Virginia’s economy forward.

The governor’s plan includes the reopening of small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, restaurants with outdoor seating, barber shops and dog groomers. Physical distancing will be required.

Last week, hospitals were allowed to resume elective medical procedures, while other services were allowed to reopen, including primary care physician and dental offices and physical and psychological therapy.

Starting May 11, other businesses may be allowed to reopen based on available testing data. Those businesses include office and government buildings, specialty retail stores, dine-in restaurants, parks, casinos, gyms, and fitness and recreation centers.

State cautions

laid-off workers about benefits

2CHARLESTON — West Virginia workers who are collecting unemployment checks are being warned that they must return to work if offered the chance or else risk losing those benefits.

Small businesses in the state, including hair salons and barbershops, and restaurants with outdoor seating reopened this week under guidance from Gov. Jim Justice. Hospital elective surgeries, dentist offices, physical therapists and other patient services resumed this week.

Acting WorkForce West Virginia Commissioner Scott Adkins said in a news release that unemployment recipients must be aware of federal requirements that they be available to work and actively seek jobs.

Laid-off employees who refuse to return to work and continue to file unemployment claims are considered to be committing fraud and potentially may be disqualified from receiving benefits, the statement said. Benefits obtained through fraud must be repaid.

In addition, workers become ineligible for unemployment benefits if they quit a job without good cause or refuse an offer for a job comparable to their previous one.

Returning employees who have reduced work hours may still qualify for unemployment benefits and should continue to file weekly claims and report their earnings, the statement said.

“Unemployment benefits are intended for people who are unemployed or working reduced hours due to no fault of their own,’’ Adkins said.

More than 164,000 unemployment claims have been filed with WorkForce West Virginia since March 1, including about 14,000 in the past week.

“We used to get 3,000 to 5,000 claims a month,’’ state Department of Commerce spokesman Andy Malinoski said.

And more than 13,600 claims have been filed by self-employed residents, independent contractors, ride-sharing drivers and others who typically aren’t eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits. The state began offering this pandemic unemployment assistance on April 24.

WVU expects

in-person classes

in fall, no tuition


3MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University’s board of governors expects its three campuses to return to in-person classes this fall and said Friday that base tuition and fees will be kept the same for the academic year.

“While the university is facing financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the interest of our students and their families during these difficult times our board has chosen not to increase tuition for the 20-21 school year,’’ board Chairman David Alvarez said in a news release.

Resident tuition and fees will stay at $8,976 per year, with no change in nonresident tuition and fees at $25,320.

“We have every hope and expectation of safely resuming in-person education in Morgantown, Beckley and Keyser for the fall semester,’’ President Gordon Gee said in the release.

The pandemic’s effect on enrollment isn’t as significant as officials feared, Provost Maryanne Reed said.

“The number of fall registrations is down just slightly from last year, which is not surprising given that we start fall registration two weeks later than usual,” she said.

  Despite go-ahead, some eateries to stay shut

4CHARLESTON — Some West Virginia restaurants are balking at the chance to reopen as Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to get the state economy moving again in response to the coronavirus enters its second week.

Despite the chance to recoup lost revenues, Super Weenie hot dog shop owner Jason Myer told news sources that he won’t reopen “until it makes sense.’’

Myer closed his Charleston shop in March. The shop caters to lunchtime crowds.

Starting Monday, Justice’s reopening plan includes small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, restaurants with outdoor seating, barber shops and dog groomers.

The risk of reopening during the pandemic isn’t worth a potential boost in sales, said Keeley Steele, who operates three businesses on Charleston’s East End, including the Tricky Fish restaurant and Starlings Coffee & Provisions.

Steele said she’s not convinced reopening would be profitable due to limited seating and buying personal protective equipment for employees.

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