Delaware State Park lifeguards test COVID-19 positive, prompting new restrictions

June 30, 2020

Delaware State Parks officials announced that beach parking and other limitations will be imposed starting Friday, July 3, after two park lifeguards tested positive for COVID-19. 

On June 29, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reported that two of its Delaware State Parks beach lifeguards tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating at home. DNREC is working closely with the Division of Public Health to notify any other employees or individuals who may have had close contact with the affected lifeguards, officials said. DNREC continues to follow recommended best practices to minimize health risks to park-goers and the beach patrol team, including a strict cleaning protocol for public spaces and sanitizing of staff workstations, officials said.

The following restrictions will be made until further notice:

  • The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island State Parks will be limited to approximately 60 percent of the parking capacity. When the 60 percent capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks. These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by DNREC Natural Resources Police, will not be managed based on a one-in, one-out policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.
  • At Cape Henlopen, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.
  • At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf-fishing beaches, NRP officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances if users fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the governor’s emergency order.
  • Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas at all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
  • Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.

“Last weekend, we saw all our ocean parks go to capacity; we saw a number of people not wearing masks in bathhouse and concession areas where they were around others, and we saw groupings of people and activities on our beaches, including in surf fishing areas, that clearly violated the requirements of social distancing,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “This limit on visitors to our beach parks is another measure to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.”




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