Resort chamber implores Governor to lower restrictions

May 22, 2020

The following letter was sent to Gov. John C. Carney, with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

On behalf of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, and its board of directors, I am writing this letter to ask for your consideration to allow for leisure in-state travel along with transient business travel in Phase 1 of your reopening plan. This request is based on but not limited to the following:

Hotels and motels are better equipped to practice social distancing than most of the retailers which have been permitted to remain open during this crisis.

Hotel guests are able to limit their interaction with staff and other guests by separating themselves in guest rooms, utilizing mobile check-in options, and adhering to strict cleanliness guidelines in place at each establishment.  Like restaurants, hotels have the ability to reduce occupancy as necessary to mitigate any congestion around the premises. This scalable correlation should lead to a similar opening strategy with both entities.

Ocean City will allow its hotels to open and operate effective May 22. This will inevitably create interstate travel among Delaware residents to those areas, which will result in financial harm to Delaware businesses and create an unfair advantage for the Maryland economy.

The Delaware lodging industry, including but not limited to hotels and short-term rentals, is well equipped with the proper personal protective equipment and standard operating procedures necessary to keep guests safe and to eliminate the transfer of COVID-19.

The current standard operating procedures in place at each establishment correlate directly with guidelines issued from the CDC, and each establishment is using those parameters to protect employees and guests from any form of viral spread.

Allowing for this activity now (among Delaware residents) can serve as a public “stress‐test” concerning CDC requirements. State officials, law enforcement, and local businesses will have more time to make observations and adjustments with lower numbers of people frequenting their accommodations now versus a higher number when travel restrictions are gradually lifted throughout phases 2 and 3 of Delaware’s recovery plan.

The Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce is working with Southern Delaware Tourism, the local chambers of commerce and the Delaware Tourism Office to market Delaware accommodations in a safe, responsible manner to prepare for the millions of dollars that will be spent to elevate our economy. The more that we can do this with a consistent message and consistent public policies in place, the safer and faster our economic recovery will be.

Please contact me should you wish to discuss this request in more detail.

Carol Everhart
president/CEO, Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce


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