Proclaiming a civil emergency, Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns ordered closure of all nonessential businesses at 4 p.m. March 23. According to a press release from the city March 23, the move is allowed under city code.
Rehoboth’s move was 16 hours before Gov. John Carney’s order declaring the same thing statewide, effective 8 a.m., Tuesday, March 24.
Rehoboth’s beach and Boardwalk are already closed to the public. According to the press release, Kuhns’ announcement is happening because people have been consistently observed in the city gathering in groups of more than 10.
Similar to Carney’s order, Rehoboth’s order allows people to leave home for essential activities. Delawareans may leave their homes to get groceries, pick up a prescription, see a doctor, and engage in other activities essential to their health, and the health and well-being of their family members, including pets. Delawareans may also engage in outdoor activity but must adhere to social distancing guidelines.
At this time, Rehoboth buildings and offices are closed to the general public through May 15. This includes city hall, administrative offices, public works buildings, playgrounds, public restrooms, and the beach and Boardwalk. Staff continues to work on-site, and people are strongly encouraged to do business by phone, email or internet to minimize public interaction.
In a follow-up email March 23, city spokesperson Krys Johnson said fishing is not an essential activity, however, a fitness activity such as jogging can be seen as essential to a person’s health. The parks are open but signage is posted that playgrounds are closed. In all cases, everyone must to adhere to social distancing guidelines, she said.
For more information, go cityofrehobothbeach.com, contact the communications department at 302-227-6181 Ext. 522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is open. A statement on the service’s website says, whenever possible, outdoor recreation sites at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries will remain open to the public. Visitor Centers and other facilities, however, may be closed. Scheduled events may be cancelled.
According to the Delaware State Parks website, all state parks remain open, however, buildings such as park offices, museums and nature centers are closed. Anyone visiting a park is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people. All Delaware beaches are closed until May 15 or until the public health threat of COVID-19 has been eliminated. Beach access from within Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks is prohibited. Parking and fishing at the Indian River Inlet within Delaware Seashore State Park is permitted. All state park campsites, cabins, bathhouses, and cottages continue to be open at this time. There will be at least a one-day break between rental periods of cabins and cottages to allow for thorough, increased cleanings between guests.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with information about Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and the state parks.