Gov. John Carney liked what he saw when he visited Rehoboth Beach on Memorial Day, so much that the next day he announced he would end his ban on short-term rentals and his mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers beginning Monday, June 1
“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.”
During a press conference May 26, Carney also lifted his stay-at-home order for Delaware residents - in place since March 24 as part of the state's COVID-19 shutdown - because of precautions he saw residents taking at the beach. “Delawareans who visited our beaches this past weekend acted responsibly, taking basic precautions to protect their families and their neighbors,” he said. “We are where we are because Delawareans listened and stayed home. While we are slowly reopening our economy, it’s critical that Delawareans not rush out and undo all the hard work they’ve done to get us to this point. Let’s continue to be cautious and responsible as we ease our way into this new normal.”
June 1 reopening
On Monday, June 1, short-term rentals open up and out-of-state visitors can return to the Delaware beaches. Large gatherings outdoors of up to 250 people – including weddings and graduation ceremonies – will be allowed resume, as long as social distancing is practiced and face coverings worn. Planned public events of more than 250 will be allowed with prior approval. Organizers of planned outdoor large gatherings and events may apply to host a large gathering or event by submitting a plan to the Delaware Division of Small Business at least seven days prior to the event.
Carney laid out his first phase of reopening on May 15 with a 24-page document detailing which businesses can reopen with limitations. While restaurants and retail stores can open to the public, they are limited to 30 percent of their fire code occupancy, and must require customers to stay 6 feet away from people who are not from the same household. Face coverings are also required.
Restaurants and retail have been allowed to apply for permission to use outside areas such as sidewalks in order to increase the number of customers they are allowed to serve.
In Rehoboth Beach, officials are set to reopen for business and have agreed to use some sidewalks for outdoor restaurant seating and to close down parking spaces along the sidewalk from Second Street to the Bandstand.
Parking spaces in the First Street business district - from Baltimore Avenue to Wilmington Avenue - will be closed to vehicle traffic, allowing businesses to use the sidewalks for seating. The area around the Bandstand would remain open to cars, with parking for 30 minutes only. The median parking spaces between Second Street and the Bandstand will remain open.
Rehoboth Beach Main Street surveyed the business community on how the city should reopen and allowing the sidewalks to be used for outdoor service was one of the strongest suggestions.
Under the city’s plan, retail establishments will also be allowed to place items out on the sidewalk no more than 3 feet from the front of the store.
In Lewes, no decision has been made. During a recent Lewes Chamber of Commerce meeting, downtown Lewes business owners were opposed to outdoor seating on Second Street.
Establishments allowed to open
The following are establishments allowed to open Monday, June 1, with 30 percent capacity of their fire code occupancy. Customers from different households are required to stay 6 feet away from one another, and face coverings are required.
• Restaurants, and food and drink establishments
• Arts and culture, and movie theaters
• Barber shops, hair salons and tanning salons
• Exercise facilities and gyms
• Churches (reopened May 18 with guidance that residents over age 65 should stay home)
• Casinos (machines must be 8 feet apart; opening depends on plan submitted to state lottery and DPH)
Open with restrictions:
• Parks, recreation, and campgrounds
• Child care (open for employees working in reopened businesses)
• Youth sports (no contact sports limited to groups of 10. No competitions)
• Racetracks (no fans, staff social distanced)
• School-based instruction
• Tattoo parlors, massage parlors, nail salons, spas, facials, waxing services and other close contact personal services
• Summer camps
• Water parks
• Convention centers and meeting facilities
• Arcades, bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, martial arts studios, dance studios, indoor tennis, indoor pools, and similar sporting facilities and venues
• Children's play areas and children's museums