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Live out of state and want to buy alcohol in Hancock County? You can’t

NEW CUMBERLAND — The Hancock County Health Department is banning the sale of alcohol in the county to anyone without a West Virginia issued identification.

The health department announced the decision in a press release issued early Sunday afternoon. It goes into effect at noon today.

“Our surrounding states have much higher rates of COVID-19 and we do not want it further spreading in Hancock County,” the release states.

As of Sunday night, Hancock County had six confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with a total of 324 cases in West Virginia. Three people in the state have died in connection with the virus.

In addition to the prohibition on alcohol sales to those without a West Virginia ID, the order makes changes in the way liquor stores, retail outlets or other businesses with a specifically designated area for the sale of spirits or hard liquor operate.

Those new requirements include:

¯ Having only essential employees during working hours

¯ Maintaining a distance of six feet between customers and staff at all times, using floor markings or tape at cash registers or other places where individuals congregate

¯ Limiting individuals to no more than 10 people, including staff and clintele during store hours

¯ Providing adequate handwashing stations, especially at places where paper or other items are exchanged between staff and clientele

¯ Frequently wipe down surfaces with 10 percent bleach solution or similar CDC approved cleaner anywhere any individuals’ hands may reach, including telephones, keyboards, light switches, doorknobs, handrails, etc.

¯ Placing an employee outside the premises where spirits or hard liquor are sold to ensure that only those citizens with a valid West Virginia issued ID are allowed to enter, shop and purchase alcohol

¯ Purchases are limited to three alcohol items each business day

¯ Any other common-sense measures that will limit the spread of communicable diseases.

Failure to adhere to the orders may result in the closure of a business, according to the release issued by the health department.

The order from the health department follows an emergency meeting by the Hancock County Board of Health on Thursday, where the board discussed concerns from residents over large gatherings at some liquor stores in Weirton, as well as the Shop ‘N Save store on Penco Road in the city. Officials stated many of those in the crowd were from Pennsylvania.

At the time, the board opted not to take any action following assurances from the businesses they were taking actions to better control crowds, including proper distancing between customers and having others wait in their vehicles.

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