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Entities weigh pandemic response

Access to WesBanco lobbies is limited but drive-throughs, like this one at Gihon Village in Parkersburg Thursday, remain open. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — While restaurants and facilities like gyms in West Virginia and Ohio have been ordered to close, other establishments continue to assess the best way to do business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For the Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley ReStore in Vienna, that means not doing business at all right now.

ReStore Director Ben Bradley said they’d been monitoring the situation and decided to close Wednesday based on the latest guidance from Habitat for Humanity International. He’s hoping it will only last for the 15-day period recently discussed by President Donald Trump but said it’s too early to set a date to open again.

“It’s just so difficult to plan from one day to the next when the information is changing so rapidly,” Bradley said.

The decision was made after weighing factors that include the health and safety of employees and the community, as well as the economic health of those groups, Bradley said. ReStore’s 12 employees will be paid through the current pay period, which ends a week from today, he said. After that, the situation will be re-evaluated.

The Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley ReStore in Vienna is closed indefinitely as the coronavirus pandemic continues. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Donations will not be accepted during the closure, but Bradley said they’ll need them once the ReStore is able to reopen.

“We’re kind of hoping people spend some of this time at home doing some spring cleaning they would have gotten to eventually anyway,” he said. “We hope that we’ll have an outpouring of support.”

Bradley said he’s been encouraged by the way residents have come together to support other businesses, such as restaurants that are limited to pickup, carryout and delivery.

The Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley started a Facebook group, “MOV Restaurant Updates and Options,” this week to allow local eateries to post updated hours, delivery options, menu changes and more “so the community can continue to support them during this challenging time.”

WesBanco has limited most of its locations to drive-through and ATM services, with some appointments taken for people who need to come inside, said Joe Campbell, market president for the Parkersburg region.

“Our drive-throughs are open and very busy,” Campbell said. “I don’t think anybody wants to get out and come in right now.”

Sam’s Club has shifted its hours to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday in an effort to give employees plenty of time to restock shelves and sanitize the store. Sunday hours remain 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Parkersburg and Vienna Utility Boards are suspending service terminations in light of the current financial uncertainty.

“Until this state of emergency’s over … we are not terminating anyone’s service during this time,” said Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp, chairman of Vienna’s utility board.

The PUB Facebook page says residential and commercial customers affected by the health crisis can request deferred payment plans.

“These temporary measures should in no way be considered as authorization to stop paying for utility services, but (are) an effort to help those financially impacted by the virus and to maintain public health and safety during a unique health crisis,” the post says.

The PUB encourages customers to pay online or via mail, rather than bringing payments to the billing office.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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