As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to progress, the amount of information associated with it seems to be ever-changing, sometimes causing more confusion than clarity.
With this in mind, the Delaware State Police (DSP) are providing the following information to both Delaware residents and non-residents alike, to specifically address travel related restrictions set forth in Gov. Carney’s State of Emergency Declaration.
“While certain restrictions outlined in the declaration do have arrest consequences associated with them, the primary intent and goal of the Delaware State Police is to uphold their sworn duties by providing information to the public that we serve, in order to gain voluntary compliance with the mandates, and to promote and further ensure public safety and health,” officials said on Thursday, April 2.
The seventh modification of the State of Emergency Declaration specifically addressed the requirement for out-of-state persons traveling in to the State of Delaware to self-quarantine for 14 days. This order authorizes any Delaware law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle driving within the state simply because it is displaying out-of-state tags.
During the stop the officer may ask limited questions related to the driver’s recent travel. The driver then must be informed of the governor’s declarations and will be explicitly advised that if they are coming into Delaware from out-of-state, they are required by law, to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Delaware, or immediately return to their home state. This authorization does not apply to vehicles traveling on I-95, I-295 or I-495 in New Castle County.
Troopers will be conducting directed patrols on non-interstate roadways that have been identified as having a large volume of out-of-state travelers, in an effort to enforce the governor’s declaration. Again, the intent of this order and the purpose of the stop is to achieve voluntary compliance. These stops are intended to serve the public welfare.
“Now is not the time to visit Delaware. As a state and a nation, we are facing a serious situation that is getting worse each day. Our goal is to limit a surge in COVID-19 cases that would overwhelm our hospital system,” DSP officials warn the public. “Per the order, we must control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our Delaware communities coming in from other states. We’ll get through this — but everyone needs to do their part.”
Contained within this modification, there are limited exceptions that allow for out-of-state persons and vehicles to enter Delaware without being required to self-quarantine, including:
- Motorists may pass through Delaware en route to other states.
- Motorists may leave their home state (PA, NJ, MD, etc.) to work for a Delaware designated essential business, to care for a family member in Delaware, or for healthcare reasons (pharmacy, going to vet, visiting PCP) in Delaware.
- Out-of-state employees who work for an essential business in Delaware but who could otherwise do their work from home should remain home.
- Out-of-state visitors who fail to self-quarantine could face criminal charges. The Delaware Department of Justice and law enforcement are empowered to respond, inspect and react accordingly
“The Delaware State Police will continue to carry out their duties as they always have, by enforcing the laws of the State of Delaware in an appropriate, compassionate, professional and just manner, with the focus in this specific instance being on gaining informed, voluntary compliance, in the interest of public health and safety.”
Delaware offers FAQ’s regarding the governor’s Stay at Home Order: https://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/public/covid-19-faqs-delawares-stay-at-home-orders
Detailed information about COVID-19 pandemic, including statistics, the governor’s orders and Out-of-State Traveler Restrictions are online: de.gov/coronavirus.
Delaware State Police are online at dsp.delaware.gov, Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor.