Gov. John Carney is expected to announce a decision Tuesday, May 26, on whether to lift the state’s ban on short-term rentals and the requirement that out-of state renters quarantine for 14 days.
Carney traveled to Sussex County May 25, visiting the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach and Fort Miles in Lewes before making brief remarks at the Lewes boat launch at the end of Pilottown Road.
“This is unlike any Memorial Day I can remember in my last 20 years as an elected official in our state,” he said, noting his usual routine would include a solemn ceremony at the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Carney spent several hours in Rehoboth, assessing compliance with current restrictions.
“I was incredibly impressed by what Rehoboth is doing to protect people who are vacationing and coming to the Boardwalk and beaches,” he said. “I just can’t be more complimentary of Mayor [Paul] Kuhns and his team in Rehoboth and all the coastal town mayors.”
In Rehoboth, he said, he saw business owners are very attentive to the protections they need to make. He also spoke to Rehoboth Beach Patrol members, and he saw adequate public education signage throughout the city.
“I was very impressed with what I saw today,” he said. “I feel much more comfortable about moving forward. I think we’re ready.”
Delaware is slated to enter Phase 1 of reopening Monday, June 1. Several Republican legislators have pushed Carney to reopen earlier.
Carney said he wants to slowly roll back restrictions in June, so Delaware’s beach towns are not inundated with visitors.
“We want to use June to gradually reopen so that July 4 weekend isn’t this switch that turns on, and we create this big flood,” he said. “Folks are going to want to come, and we want them to come safely. We just need to warm up, if you will, to the protections that businesses need to take and the tourists need to take so that everybody is safe, and it doesn’t create a wider spread of the invisible enemy that is still among us.”
Carney was asked about the scene in Ocean City, Md., where photographs from Memorial Day weekend showed a very busy beach and boardwalk.
“That looks like the way not to do things, frankly,” he said. “What I’ve heard was the situation along the Delaware coast is the way to do it – to gradually reopen things so you don’t have this rush, this onslaught of folks that are going wild and risking all the progress we’ve made over the last three months.”