Gov. John Carney on Tuesday, Nov. 17, announced additional restrictions statewide to slow community spread of COVID-19 as Delaware and the country experience a surge of cases, hospitalizations and deaths heading into the winter months. The restrictions will be formally issued in a revision to the governor’s omnibus emergency order later this week, officials noted.
Carney’s order will include a number of restrictions, which take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23:
• Indoor gatherings in homes must be capped at no more than 10 people.
• Indoor gatherings outside of homes must be limited to 30 percent of the venue’s stated fire capacity, up to a cap of 50 people. That includes all events, such as weddings, funerals, services in houses of worship, performances, political gatherings and events in public spaces, including fire halls.
• Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people. Up to 250 people may be allowed to gather with a plan approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).
• Restaurants must operate at no more than 30 percent of fire capacity indoors, with allowances for additional outdoor seating.
The order will also prohibit Delaware youth sports organizations, teams and venues from hosting or participating in tournaments with out-of-state teams, effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The order includes a provision prohibiting Delaware teams from traveling across states lines for tournaments.
“These are difficult decisions, but we face a difficult and challenging winter,” said Carney on Tuesday. “COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in Delaware and across the country. Nearly 250,000 Americans, including 736 Delawareans, have already lost their lives to this virus. Our focus must be on protecting lives.”
“We will also continue to support the Delaware families and small businesses who have been hardest hit by this crisis,” said Carney. “Let’s all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask. Celebrate the holidays with immediate family only. Stay vigilant.”
Based on a weekly review of publicly available data, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) continues to recommend that K-12 public schools operate in a hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote instruction.
“Transmission of COVID-19 has been rare in Delaware schools because students, educators and staff are following the basic health guidelines and doing their part to keep children in classrooms, and exposure is primarily occurring in social settings outside of school,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). “Let’s follow their lead and do what works. Wear a mask. Avoid the urge to gather socially with friends or extended family outside your household. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. This is a difficult time for all Delawareans. Thank you for everything you’re doing. We’ll get through this.”
The expansion will provide up to $25 million in additional relief for hundreds of businesses that have been disproportionately impacted. Qualifying businesses, including restaurants and taprooms, will receive double their original grant allocation.
The DE Relief Grants program — funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act — is providing more than $150 million in direct assistance to Delaware small businesses statewide. The application deadline is Dec. 4, and the application can be found at delbiz.com/relief.