CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice laid out more details of a plan Wednesday to stem the possible spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Those include closing all gyms, health clubs and recreation centers as well as urging all employers to allow anyone who can do their jobs from home to do so.

“The pathway is simple,” he said of how to stop the virus. “If we absolutely don’t congregate in crowds and absolutely try to work at home as much as possible (we can be up to the challenge).”

Justice said the issue is real and it’s “very, very serious.”

“We are going to basically volunteer in lots of ways to attack this terrible issue,” he said. “We have got to stay home, we’ve got to work from home, not panic, and stay apart…”

Justice also reassured everyone that the food supplies and other needs are flowing.

“Our grocery stores, our drug stores … gas … all the things we have to have, they are going to be open,” he said. “We don’t need to panic, or panic buy. Stay calm, stay apart…”

Justice said staying home if at all possible is the “key to everything. We have to get away from each other.”

He also reminded everyone to be mindful of the elderly and help them if they need help.

Justice also said a spike is being seen in unemployment claims, with over 1,200 filed in one day.

At that pace, with a total of 5,300 filed during the entire month of February, the total could rise to 25,000 to 30,000 during the course of a month.

“This is a very serious moment,” he said. “We can beat it (the coronavirus pandemic).”

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com.

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