- West Virginia Governor Jim Justice was a stiff coronavirus sceptic earlier this week.
- “Go to the grocery stores. For crying out loud, go to the grocery stores. If you want to go to Bob Evans and eat, go to Bob Evans and eat,” he said on Monday, before anyone in his state tested positive for COVID-19.
- Late Tuesday, Justice called on all restaurants to close their doors by midnight after West Virginia saw its first confirmed case of the coronavirus.
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Just before West Virgina became the last state to see a positive test result for COVID-19 – even earning the praise of President Donald Trump for not having any by the beginning of this week – the Mountain State’s governor had no qualms telling constituents to go about life as normal.
“Go to the grocery stores. For crying out loud, go to the grocery stores,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said during a press conference on Monday.
“If you want to go to Bob Evans and eat, go to Bob Evans and eat,” he added.
But after Justice confirmed his state’s first case of coronavirus on Tuesday evening, he pulled a 180, closing all dine-in restaurants, bars and casinos by midnight.
“We’re all in this boat together. We have to do this. The pathway to the prevention of this disease spreading,” Justice said Tuesday, according to WOWK. “Our power to combat this disease is being apart from one another. Our power is already at work in that our communities are diverse and in different spots and in our mountains and all the things that are already working for us. We have to take seriously all the hygiene recommendations. We have to take seriously the ability to stay six-foot apart from one another. We have to take seriously the ability to stay away from our crowds.”
Justice, an ardent supporter of President Trump, changed his party registration from Democrat to Republican in 2017 shortly after taking office. That announcment took place at a Trump rally.
On Tuesday morning, hours before West Virginia would see its first confirmed case of COVID-19, Trump gave Justice a shoutout during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference.
“I just see West Virginia is the only one without reported cases,” Trump said. “Big Jim, the governor there, he must be doing a good job.”
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