In accordance with Gov. John Carney’s goal of limiting interactions among people in Delaware’s beach areas to reduce transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control on June 30 announced a number of restrictions to be imposed starting on Friday, July 3, and lasting until further notice:
• The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island State Parks will be limited to approximately 60 percent of the parking capacity. When the 60 percent capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks.
These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by DNREC Natural Resources Police, will not be managed based on a “one-in, one-out” policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.
• At Cape Henlopen State Park, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.
• At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state park surf-fishing beaches, NRP officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances if vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the governor’s emergency order.
• Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas at all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
• Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.
“Last weekend, we saw all our ocean parks go to capacity, we saw a number of people not wearing masks in bathhouse and concession areas where they were around others, and we saw groupings of people and activities on our beaches, including in surf-fishing areas, that clearly violated the requirements of social distancing,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “This limit on visitors to our beach parks is another measure to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.”
DNREC also reported Tuesday that two of its Delaware State Parks beach lifeguards have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating at home. DNREC is working closely with the Division of Public Health to notify any other employees or individuals who may have had close contact with the affected lifeguards.
“Our lifeguards perform a crucial role in protecting visitors at our beaches at Delaware State Parks. DNREC continues to follow recommended best practices to minimize health risks to park-goers and our Beach Patrol team, including a strict cleaning protocol for public spaces and sanitizing of staff workstations,” officials said.