Business continues in Dewey Beach

Police using drones to patrol beach, town
April 8, 2020

The beach and town hall may be closed to the public, but official business doesn’t stop in Dewey Beach.

The March 27 commissioners meeting was livestreamed as usual; before the meeting, residents were given an email address and call-in number to provide public comments.

Commissioner Dale Cooke said Dewey is ahead of other towns in this respect, as some municipalities don’t have livestream capabilities.

“It was quite an interesting way to run a meeting,” Cooke said. “There were some glitches with the 15-second audio delays on all three services, but we got it done.”

Town Manager Scott Koenig said meeting formats will continue to evolve with more options, in compliance with Freedom of Information Act and coronavirus orders. The next meeting date is set for 9 a.m., Saturday, April 11.

While Town Hall is closed to the public, building permits and license approvals are still being processed; Koenig said applications may be placed in the free library drop-off box adjacent to the front entrance door. 

The Lifesaving Station is being used only to broadcast meetings and by the beach patrol captain, Koenig said, and Town Hall Annex staff are working offsite.

Koenig said he is unaware of any issues related to the stay-at-home order.

“Route 1 runs through the middle of town, and there are plenty of out-of-state tags that travel Route 1; however, given the amount of construction activities in this area of the Cape Region, a number of vehicles have workers in them,” Koenig said.  

Koenig said the police department is in regular communication with other municipal departments and DEMA for the latest information and techniques recommended for working with the public.  

“Staff is testing and getting familiar with the use of drones to monitor the beach and other parts of town,” Koenig said. “Given our limited amount of manpower, this technology will allow us to see a lot of things from a distance to determine if follow up actions are necessary.”  

Cooke reiterated the beach is completely closed, with no exercising or dog walking permitted. The issue will be revisited as the weather warms, he said. 

Cooke said many Dewey restaurants are open for carry out and delivery, with limited hours. 

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