Health Care e-Alert

Bowles Rice Health Care e-Alert
Governor Announces Closure
of all but “Essential” Businesses

Like you, Bowles Rice LLP is constantly monitoring the latest developments with respect to the impact of COVID-19 upon the health care industry. During his address on the afternoon of March 23, 2020, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced the release of Executive Order No. 9-20. The Executive Order includes instructions for residents to "Stay at Home" and orders the closure of all non-essential businesses in an effort to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, to disrupt the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”), and to mitigate the impact of the virus. The Executive Order goes into effect at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

While the Executive Order furthers efforts geared at initiating and supporting recommended social distancing practices – by closing those locations where people tend to congregate unnecessarily – the Executive Order also makes clear that it is intended to support those health care providers serving on the front lines.

In ordering West Virginians to stay at home, the Governor stated that his Executive Order is essential for the purposes of preserving public health and safety and ensuring the health care system in West Virginia is capable of serving all citizens in need. For now, West Virginians are permitted to leave their homes for a limited number of essential purposes, including but not limited to:

  1. Obtaining food, medicine, and other similar goods necessary for the individual or a family member of the individual;

  2. Obtaining non-elective medical care and treatment and other similar vital services for an individual or a family member of the individual; and

  3. Going to and from an individual’s workplace if such workplace and/or work is included in the definition of Essential Businesses and Operations as outlined in the Executive Order.

While “non-essential” businesses and operations must temporarily cease operations, “Essential Businesses and Operations” shall continue to operate. To no one’s surprise, the first of the listed Essential Businesses and Operations is “healthcare, public health operations, and health insurance companies.” Pursuant to Governor Justice’s Executive Order, the category of health care operations must be construed “very broadly” to avoid any impacts to the delivery of essential health care services. However, it also makes clear that the health care category does not include fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, and similar facilities previously limited or closed.

For more information:
Are you looking for guidance on issues related to COVID-19? We can help. Bowles Rice has a dedicated team of attorneys advising businesses on this fast-breaking issue. For more information, visit our COVID-19 Response Team web page or contact:

Tyler Mayhew
Bowles Rice
Human Resources Chair
Admitted in WV & VA

Jennifer B. Hagedorn
Labor & Employment
Group Leader
Admitted in OH, PA & WV

Brock Malcolm
Health Care
Group Leader
Admitted in WV

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