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W.Va. to ease rules as COVID cases decline; UK variant found

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is ordering the loosening of pandemic restrictions on businesses after a decline in coronavirus deaths and cases.

He also wants the State Board of Education to return all elementary and middle school students back to in-person learning.

The governor on Friday said small businesses and grocery stores can double their reduced capacity and the limit on social gatherings will go up from 25 to 75.

Bars and restaurants can allow 75% of seating capacity, up from 50%, if social distancing is possible.

He says restrictions will return if there's a surge in cases.

Hours after his announcement, the state announced it detected one of three virus variants that researchers believe may spread more easily.

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