WILLIAMSON — Several small businesses in the Williamson area have had to change the way they operate or completely close down operations during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Last Wednesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice ordered that all restaurants close their dining rooms and operate with either a drive-thru or a carry out option only.
Two popular downtown Williamson Restaurants, 34:Ate and Smokin’ Pit BBQ, have completely shut down operations for the foreseeable future.
One of Williamson’s most popular and longest standing restaurants, Starters Sports Bar and Grille, initially amended their hours and were offering curb-side services only, according to a post on their Facebook page, until a "stay at home" order was issued by Gov. Justice on Monday and they decided it was best to shut down all operations.
"We are trying to do what the governor wants and what is best for everyone," the post read. "So until further notice we are closed. We are sorry for this inconvenience and we hope and pray this pandemic does not last long. We look forward to when we can be together again safely. We love and appreciate you all."
The CBD shop West Block Herbal also announced they were closing for the foreseeable future but said orders could still be placed online and by messaging their page.
Locally owned convenience store and gas station SPORT Stop, owned by Jeff and Anita Davis and family, announced Monday they are closing their doors until at least April 6.
“We want to protect the health of not only our own family, but all of our employees and their loved ones and all the folks we serve on a daily basis,” according to the Facebook post. “We urge everyone to please practice caution and to stay indoors! We appreciate each and every one of our customers! Stay safe and God bless!”
The Davis family, along with several other small business owners in Mingo County, were also affected last Friday when Justice officially shut down the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, citing travel from out-of-state as the main factor. With the weather turning warmer, trail-riders from all over the country begin to flock to Mingo County.
Justice said 69% of all visitors to state park lodges come from outside the Mountain State and more than 80% of Hatfield-McCoy Trail riders are not West Virginia residents.
Amid the lodge closures, the governor encouraged people to get outside and enjoy the spring-like weather that has moved into the area.
“We’ve got to close the lodges. It doesn’t mean we’re closing down our parks, campsites or cabins,” Justice said.
After issuing the order, the governor encouraged residents to get outside and enjoy the space the state parks provide by hiking, biking or fishing.
“We want people to get out … and enjoy the outdoors and get away from each other,” he said.
Trout will continue to be stocked in lakes and streams throughout the state, adding that to stop stocking the fish would be the “silliest thing” he’s heard of, pointing out that there would be nowhere else to put the fish that are set to be released.