Carney closes fitness centers, movie theaters, more

Alcohol sales allowed at take-out or delivery eating establishments
March 18, 2020

Gov. John Carney has modified his emergency declaration for a second time, allowing alcohol sales at restaurants and other businesses, while closing fitness centers, movie theaters and other businesses in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The change in alcohol sales goes into effect 8 p.m., March 18, and will last until the State of Emergency is rescinded. With his latest change, businesses that have a valid on-premise license to sell alcoholic beverages may do so as part of a transaction for take-out food or drive-thru service. The sales cannot exceed 40 percent of the total sales and cannot be consumed at the restaurant, brewpub, tavern or taproom where purchased. Containers must be securely closed, officials said.

“This is an evolving situation, and we need everyone’s cooperation in order to protect the health and safety of Delawareans, especially our most vulnerable neighbors,” Carney said. “These are difficult decisions, and we will constantly reevaluate the guidance. We know our small business and restaurant communities are among those most seriously impacted by the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and we’re looking at ways to assist them. But our priority is the health and safety of Delawareans, and limiting the number of Delawareans who come in contact with this virus.”

The second update to the emergency declaration closes bowling alleys, movie theaters, fitness centers and health spas in a continued effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Any business that remains open is strongly encouraged to have hand sanitizers or hand washing stations available for its employees and patrons, officials said.

These updates went into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 19, and will last until the State of Emergency is rescinded.

Carney also temporarily lifted regulations to expand access to telemedicine. Under the modified declaration:

  • Patients do not need to present in person before telemedicine services may be provided.
  • Delaware residents do not need to be present in Delaware at the time the telemedicine services are provided.
  • Any out-of-state healthcare provider who would be permitted to provide telemedicine services in Delaware if they were licensed under Title 24 may provide telemedicine services to a Delaware resident if they hold an active license in another jurisdiction.

On March 16 Carney made his first change to the emergency declaration that included:

  • Restaurants, bars and taverns shall only provide food and beverage service through takeout, drive-through, hotel room service, and off-premises delivery to help prevent spread of COVID-19.
  • Bans public gatherings of 50 or more people for eight weeks or until the State of Emergency is rescinded.
  • Closes gaming activity at Delaware casinos.
  • Authorizes Delaware’s Secretary of Labor to develop emergency rules to protect Delaware workers and ensure that unemployment benefits are available for Delawareans whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Restricts senior center, nursing home/retirement facility, assisted-living facility, etc. to permit a gathering of more than 10 persons that includes any person age 60 or over, or any person with an underlying health condition that puts any person in attendance at increased risk if exposed to COVID-19.
  • Authorizes Delaware Emergency Management Agency and Delaware Division of Public Health to cancel gatherings for public health reasons.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.govFor the latest on Delaware’s response, go to

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