Governor releases update on Delaware’s COVID-19 response

Churches may conduct outside gatherings; applications available for restaurant outdoor seating
May 24, 2020

Gov. John Carney on May 23 released an update on Delaware’s response to COVID-19. Carney signed the 19th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, May 22, formalizing steps taken earlier in the week to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating capacity.

All Delaware food and drink establishments may apply to their local municipal or county jurisdiction with plans to expand outdoor seating. The Delaware Office of Alcohol Beverage Control also will review plans submitted by applicants with liquor licenses. Delaware restaurants and bars are scheduled to open their indoor spaces at 30 percent of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning Monday, June 1.

“We want everyone to enjoy Delaware’s great restaurants, bars and craft breweries, but we’re asking that you do so safely, in a way that protects our neighbors and members of all of our families,” said Carney. “We know Delaware’s hospitality industry has been hit especially hard by this crisis. Our hope is this change will allow restaurants, bars, and craft breweries to safely expand their businesses outdoors.”

To help Delaware business prepare for reopening, the state launched a new Business to Business Toolkit to help connect businesses with vendors selling masks, gloves and other protective supplies. The toolkit includes a listing of self-reported information from suppliers that responded to Carney’s Community Call-to-Action. Vendors with available supplies can complete this form to be added to the vendor list. Businesses should conduct appropriate due diligence to verify the information prior to contracting for products or services.

Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health also updated guidance for Delaware churches and other communities of worship May 23. Delaware churches and houses of worship may conduct outdoor services without limitations on gathering sizes, as long as they follow social distancing and other basic health precautions, including around handwashing and face coverings.

Communities of worship must post signage detailing basic health precautions, including information about social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the use of face coverings. Churches and houses of worship also should discourage parishioners 65 and older from attending services, because of their greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and falling seriously ill.

All Delaware houses of worship have been deemed essential under Delaware’s stay-at-home order since Carney signed the order March 22.



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