Delaware has new rules relating to restaurants, senior centers and driver education in the age of COVID-19. Gov. John Carney on Friday, July 24, signed the 24th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, allowing driver education services to resume immediately, with safety measures in place to prevent transmission of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It also allows senior centers to open with safety precautions at 30 percent capacity.
“Delawareans have made real progress against this disease, but COVID-19 is still active in our communities. And we’ve seen what has happened in other states when you let your guard down,” Carney said. “Stay vigilant. Wear a face mask. Wash your hands frequently. Stay at least six feet away from others. And — whether you have symptoms or you don’t — consider getting a test at de.gov/gettested. Testing helps us track the virus in our state and prevent outbreaks.”
Starting Monday, July 27, at 8 a.m., food and drink establishments are now also required to give customers the option to leave contact information on file to help with contact tracing (in the event of a positive COVID case being linked to the establishment). Tracing the known contacts of positive cases will help public health officials trace transmission of the virus and prevent larger outbreaks.
“The establishment will keep the information on file for the sole purpose of allowing the DPH to contact the patron if another patron or an employee is later found to have tested positive for COVID-19. If a patron leaves such contact information, the establishment must retain the information for 28 days.”
Restaurants are not required to deny service to customers who choose not to provide contact information.
According to the updated order, personal driving schools and instruction may reopen, provided that at a maximum the vehicle contains one adult and one student in the front driver and passenger seats, and one additional person in the back seat. All occupants must wear face coverings at all times. Windows should be open as much as possible to help air exchange within the vehicle to reduce viral load.
New rules also relate to personal care services (hair, tanning, tattoo, massage, spa and similar). These consumer services may continue operations at 60 percent capacity. However, “if a customer must remove a face covering for a service to be performed (e.g. make-up application, facial, etc.) the professional providing services shall wear a face covering AND face shield during the procedure until the client is able to wear their face covering or the procedure is complete, and six feet of social distance can be maintained.”
The exact rules and text of all State of Emergency Declarations are online at https://governor.delaware.gov/health-soe.
Delaware is in Phase 2 of economic reopening, with guidance online at https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/reopening.
Senior centers, adult day centers and senior congregate nutrition programs may reopen, provided, however, that the total number of guests (excluding staff) permitted in a facility at any one time shall not exceed 30 percent of that facility’s stated fire occupancy requirements.
Prior to beginning operations, senior centers must develop a written plan for operating with all COVID-19 rules and restrictions. These programs are strongly encouraged to develop a plan to support contact tracing if a positive case is associated with the business location, including to request that customers provide contact information and to record the date of service. They must identify a staff member who will serve as the Pandemic Response Person for the program, responsible for communicating and implementing COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 a serious public health threat, and asymptomatic individuals may be carriers of the virus and may unknowingly spread the virus to others in close proximity. “Case investigation and contact tracing, a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel for decades, is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19,” the emergency order states.
Carney issued the first State of Emergency declaration on March 12, 2020 (becoming effective on March 13), and it’s been over three weeks since the last modification. By law, emergency declarations must be officially extended on a monthly basis, which was last done on July 6.
The document also reiterated rules of businesses in general for capacity, face masks and social distancing and it clarified some language regarding children’s face masks and recreational sports.
State and local law enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce the provisions of any Declaration of a State of Emergency. Any failure to comply with the declaration may constitute a criminal offense.
People with complaints about individuals violating public gathering restrictions should contact state or local law enforcement. Concerns that a business may be violating operating restrictions should be directed to: HSPContact@delaware.gov.
Questions related to business re-openings or operations as businesses reopen should go to COVID19FAQ@delaware.gov.
Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 211, or email email@example.com. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711 or text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.
For all information on Delaware’s response, visit de.gov/coronavirus.