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July 4 fireworks on shaky ground in Rehoboth

Commissioners vote to loosen mask-wearing mandate in public spaces, except Boardwalk
May 11, 2021

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach City Hall
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach  Delaware  19971
United States

Rehoboth Beach commissioners have loosened the city’s mask-wearing regulations to reflect the state’s current guidelines. However, with a decision deadline just weeks away, city staff has also recommended the July 4 fireworks be canceled.

During a special meeting May 11, City Manager Sharon Lynn made the recommendation, saying it would be nearly impossible to meet the guidelines required for events larger than 250 people. She said Police Chief Keith Banks and Lt. Jamie Riddle also thought it was in the best interest of the city to not hold the fireworks.

Commissioners Pat Coluzzi and Richard Byrne said they supported the city manager making a decision that was in the best interest of the city.

Citizen Heather Metz urged the city to hold the fireworks. It’s time to open Rehoboth back up, she said.

In an email immediately following the meeting, Lynne Coan, city spokesperson, said no official decision had been made by Lynn on the fireworks. The city manager will make that determination over the next several days, she said.

Mask-wearing rules loosened in Rehoboth

Gov. John Carney issued a modification of his emergency order May 12. Among other things, the modification removed a requirement for mask wearing on the Boardwalk. It goes into effect Friday, May 21. 

Prior to the modification, during the meeting May 11, commissioners had already voted in favor of loosening the city’s mask-wearing guidelines to match the state’s guidelines at the time – meaning masks on the Boardwalk, but not in all other public spaces when social distancing is possible. Masks are still required inside businesses.

In anticipation of the governor’s modification, commissioners scheduled a special meeting for May 13. The meeting was canceled because there was difficulty in getting all of the commissioners and City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas available at the same time, said Mayor Stan Mills, in an email.

The commissioners do have a regularly scheduled voting meeting Friday, May 21. Mills said, if needed, they may meet sooner. The adopted mask measures make enforcement in outdoor spaces essentially a non-issue except on the Boardwalk, he said.

“We all acknowledge that enforcement will be minimal,” said Mills. “We are evaluating it and expect for the commissioners to discuss it in an upcoming meeting, date and time to be determined.”

As of press deadline May 13, another special meeting on this subject had not been scheduled. A special commissioner meeting on a different subject has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 19, but this issue has not been put on the agenda.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it was first published May 11.

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