Cape Region prepared as Delaware reopens
As protests erupted in cities across the nation this past week, the Cape Region quietly prepared to reopen for business after more than two months of sheltering at home, better known as lockdown.
The ban on short-term rentals and 14-day quarantine on out-of-state visitors were officially lifted June 1, but many families and groups of young people returned to the beaches over the weekend to enjoy the sea, surf and sand – and our shops and restaurants.
Leading the way toward reopening were our region’s farmers markets, with Rehoboth and Nassau Valley Vineyards among the first, followed by Lewes and Milton. The markets have quickly pivoted to establish high standards of safety during the pandemic, requiring social distancing and masks, providing plenty of hand sanitizing options, requiring one-way travel through the market and encouraging curbside pickup. It’s the new normal, and the markets have stepped up to show they are prepared to meet the challenge.
Similarly, as soon as the governor announced the ban on short-term rentals would be lifted, Rehoboth Beach officials posted up-to-date signage to educate everyone on using the Boardwalk and beaches safely, outlining mask and social distancing policies. Officials also moved decisively to allow city businesses to use sidewalk space on Rehoboth Avenue and First Street for restaurant seating and retail display, expanding the number of customers who can be served. In Dewey, officials are similarly working out plans to allow businesses to expand.
Our local officials have demonstrated they will do their part to respond to COVID-19, but it’s not enough to set policies and boost business. These policies will work only if we all step up when we are out in public. Wearing a mask is not comfortable, and many disagree it’s necessary. It may not even prevent the wearer from contracting the virus.
Still, if we all adapt to the new normal – social distancing, and wearing masks when that’s not possible in public settings – the rate of the virus’s spread will be reduced.
And that is the key to getting all of us through to the other side of this pandemic.