West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice had voiced his displeasure in recent press conferences with travel sports tournaments being played in counties with a high rate of COVID-19 transmission. He signed an executive order Tuesday night curtailing the practice.
The order states that any county in red, orange or gold on the state’s COVID-19 map cannot allow travel sports teams and travel sports leagues to bring players and spectators together, nor can they hold practices, or other competitions.
The order defines travel teams as “teams that typically travel long distances and/or out of state to games, competitions and/or tournaments,” and defines travel leagues as “leagues that typically encourage or involve teams and players, often long distance and/or out of state to games, competitions and/or other tournaments.”
The order doesn’t affect teams or leagues that play in defined, relatively small geographic areas like one county or an area comprising a few counties within West Virginia.
According to the map released Tuesday morning with the new gold designation for counties, the counties affected would be Kanawha, Monongalia, Monroe, Putnam, Fayette, Boone, Logan and Mingo.
Travel tournaments entered Justice’s radar after he found out about a tournament in Kanawha County held over Labor Day weekend. During his press conference the Tuesday after Labor Day, he said that the optics of holding a tournament in a county that was turning orange were “terrible, and I don’t know that we ought to be doing that.”