OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – The stay at home order is forcing businesses everywhere to close and encouraging people to stay in their homes.
This dramatic shift in social norms can be alarming to many, but Oak Hill City Manager Bill Hannabass says that although these are confusing and uncertain times, he thinks we are all still on the same page.
“I think most people are going to take it to heart and understand that this is a crisis, it is a national emergency, a state of emergency and we need to stay home,” Hannabass said.
And although technically the executive order has no defined penalties for not complying, police officers still have an obligation to break up crowds of people.
“There’s not a penalty to go along with the executive order but if a police officer sees folks congregating, non-essential folks, he can ask them to cease. And if they don’t, at that point they are obstructing justice.”
The act of not complying with the order can essentially be treated as a threat to public health, and Hannabass is hopeful that there isn’t anyone in Oak Hill willing to go that route.
“I don’t predict that to happen in Oak Hill. I think we all want to get over this, we all want to cooperate. I don’t see a problem with it other than economic concerns and realities that this is gonna bring.”
The economic concerns are valid. Businesses everywhere are closing and many of them may never reopen. But the danger to public health is still looming and Hannabass encourages people to come together in this trying time.
“This is not political. The coronavirus does not care if you are democrat or republican. We need to come together at times like this.”
The stay-at-home order has been in effect since Monday, and non-essential businesses will be forced to cease operations on Tuesday. Although many organizations won’t be open, citizens are encouraged to contact the city hall if they have certain needs that can’t be met during this time.