Outdoor gatherings, surf fishing expanded

Restrictions eased April 1
March 29, 2021

More people will be allowed to attend outdoor events, including youth sports, and 1,000 more surf-fishing vehicle tags will be issued under new rules set to start April 1.

“We know that gathering outdoors poses a lower risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission,” Gov. John Carney said in a press release. “That's why we're comfortable easing certain outdoor restrictions as we head into spring.”

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will create and implement a plan to issue the additional surf-fishing tags at its discretion, according to Carney's eighth revision to the COVID-19 emergency order signed March 29. The state has already issued 17,000 surf-fishing tags for the 2021 season.

Special vouchers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on a date to be determined, said Shauna McVey, DNREC spokeswoman. More details will be announced by DNREC's Division of Parks and Recreation, she said.

In late May, McVey said, DNREC will launch an Off-Peak Surf-Fishing Permit pilot program, allowing anglers to drive-on surf fish when there is capacity at Delaware State Parks beaches.

Outdoor limits eased

Under the new restrictions slated to start at 8 a.m., Thursday, April 1, outdoor gathering limits for venues that do not have fire occupancy restrictions will increase from 50 to 150 people, and the number of people allowed will be even higher for those with approved plans from the Division of Public Health.

Events that fall under this category include outdoor weddings, funerals, concerts, parades, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, sporting events and fairs.

Gone is the two-spectator limit for sporting events to which high school sports had been held, but the number of spectators depends on the size of the venue. Total capacity includes the number of athletes, coaches, and other staff and employees.

Outdoor venues with fire occupancy restrictions and more than 100,000 square feet of public space must limit occupancy to 50 percent of stated fire code capacity, according to the order. 

Outdoor venues with fire occupancy restrictions and with less than 100,000 square feet of public space must limit occupancy to 75 percent of stated fire capacity. In both cases, any outdoor event hosting more than 150 people must still have a COVID-19 mitigation plan approved by DPH.

Indoor events are still limited to 25 people or 50 percent of capacity, whichever is less. Food and drink establishments also remain at 50 percent of stated fire code occupancy limits, excluding employees.

As of March 29, Delaware providers had administered 439,391 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of that number, 154,762 people are fully vaccinated with another 138,656 who have received one dose of a two-dose series. In total, about 30 percent of the state's eligible population has received at least one shot.

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