Last Updated on March 18, 2020
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice called for an end to the recent panic surrounding coronavirus, telling his constituents to continue to live their lives normally by going to the grocery store and going out to eat.
As hysteria continues to grip the nation, and the government recommends increased social distancing measures, Justice went on television and appeared to call for normalcy.
In one viral clip, Justice told constituents to “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.”
Justice also called for rational thinking and calm, telling constituents it is important not to panic due to the virus.
“The bottom line is our president is urging all of us, as I am urging all West Virginians, stay calm. Be smart. Use great hygiene,” Justice continued. “Take care of people that are the elderly that you can help. For crying out loud, go to the grocery store for them.”
“Wash your hands. Stay at a distance, use smart, good sense.”
“Today we are telling everybody to stay away from crowds as much as you possibly can, don’t go gatherings that have in excess of 50 people,” Justice continued, before joking about the number of media present for his addressed.
“But all of that being said, the things that we don’t need to do right at this point in time is make a mad rush on the grocery store.”
Justice previously made headlines in 2017 when he switched his part affiliation from Democrat to Republican and spoke one of President Donald Trump’s rallies in West Virginia.
Politico reported in 2017:
“Today, I will tell you, with lots of prayers and lots of thinking, I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor,” Justice said. “So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
Justice’s flip is further confirmation of his state’s sharp rightward turn, and reflects Trump’s widespread popularity in a state the president won by a landslide in 2016.
Trump, who has promised to restore lost coal industry jobs, has lavished attention on West Virginia since taking office.
Justice’s calls for calm have been mocked by left wing reporter Timothy Burke on Twitter, who captured the 9 second clip of Justice’s hour long address, and captioned it “West Virginia’s governor went on TV this afternoon to tell residents to go out to eat at Bob Evans.”
West Virginia's governor went on TV this afternoon to tell residents to go out to eat at Bob Evans pic.twitter.com/pamh0rE41B
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 16, 2020