Attorney General Patrick Morrisey this week encouraged West Virginians to do what they can to help local business owners and employees who were forced to close their stores or prevented from working due to the water crisis that left 300,000 residents without water.
“The past few days have been incredibly hard for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who have been forced to live without access to clean water for drinking or to accomplish things we took for granted, such as take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “But in true West Virginia style, we have come together as neighbors and helped each other out. Now that water is coming back on in certain areas, we need to continue our teamwork to support our neighborhood business owners and employees who were prohibited from working through no fault of their own.”
The “do not use” order issued on Jan. 9 caused restaurants, hair salons, car washes, and any other business that uses water to close their doors or deeply limit what they could sell. “Many business owners do not anticipate having to close for several days in a row, and as a result, may face severe economic hardships,” Morrisey said. “Small businesses, and restaurants in particular, typically work with very little margins; having to go days without customers could put these people in a make-or-break scenario.”
Morrisey said the closures have had a devastating impact on employees of shuttered businesses who may have gone without pay due to the crisis.
“Now that the immediate crisis appears to be over for some and almost over for others, I hope we will continue to work together to help our neighbors,” Morrisey said. “We have endured a very trying time, and many people, agencies and companies have stepped forward to help strangers with no expectation of getting anything in return. I hope those acts continue and don’t stop as soon as the water faucets turn on.”