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Reopening West Virginia’s Economy: the plan for small businesses, restaurants to open again

BLUEFIELD, W.Va (WVVA) - Every day this week WVVA is helping answer viewer questions about small business loans, unemployment, and more.

Executive Director of the Mercer County Development Authority John O'Neal has answered questions all week, including ones about the plan to reopen West Virginia's Economy.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has released his plan to reopen our economy, called 'West Virginia Strong- the Comeback.'

On Thursday, hospitals resumed elective medical procedures, and other healthcare providers were permitted to resume providing services, with certain restrictions. O'Neal explained what viewers can expect in the coming days.

"This coming Monday small businesses with fewer than 10 employees will be able to resume operations. Professional service providers, such as hair and nail salons, barbershops, and pet grooming will be permitted to reopen, but by appointment only," said O'Neal.

"Outdoor dining at restaurants may begin. It is important to note that businesses are not required to open on any specific date. This plan provides the option for reopening, not a mandate," said O'Neal.

Some small business owners have indicated that some employees are reluctant to return to work, because they are receiving more from their Unemployment Compensation than they would make from their jobs. O'Neal explained the options these employers have.

West Virginia unemployment law is very clear on this issue. If an employer offers work to someone receiving unemployment compensation, that person must accept that work or they may no longer be eligible for unemployment compensation," said O'Neal. "To refuse a job offer, and continue receiving benefits is considered fraud. The employer is obligated to report this to Workforce WV," said O'Neal.

"However, if that person returns to work at reduced hours, and this results in a reduced income compared to their income prior to filing for unemployment compensation, they may be eligible for partial unemployment compensation plus the $600 Federal Pandemic Employment Compensation per week," said O'Neal.

Additional information on unemployment compensation can be found here.

Stay with WVVA for updates.

Melinda Zosh

Evening Anchor and Producer

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