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Delaware: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

DELAWARE

Please note: As of April 15, 2021 we are no longer doing regularly scheduled updates to this page.

April 15, 2021:

On April 13, 2021, Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health announced that medical providers, including hospital systems, may vaccinate individuals ages 16 or older, regardless of whether they have an existing high-risk medical condition. This announcement means that the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program is now fully open to Delawareans 16 and over at any vaccination provider.

April 12, 2021:

On April 5, 2021, Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health announced that Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination program is open to individuals ages 16 or older. Qualified individuals can register on the State of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination waiting list at vaccinerequest.delaware.gov.

April 1, 2021:

On March 29, 2021, Governor Carney signed the eighth revision to the COVID-19 emergency order, which calls for increasing outdoor gathering limits and easing capacity restrictions in outdoor venues. The revised order went into effect on April 1 and includes the following changes:

  • Outdoor gatherings in spaces with no fire occupancy restrictions are limited to 150 people (unless a plan is approved by the Division of Public Health in advance).
  • Outdoor venues with fire occupancy restrictions and with more than 100,000 square feet of public space must limit occupancy to 50 percent of stated fire capacity. Any outdoor venue hosting more than 150 people must still have a plan approved by DPH to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
  • Outdoor venues with fire occupancy restrictions and with less than 100,000 square feet of public space must limit occupancy to 75 percent of stated fire capacity. Any outdoor venue hosting more than 150 people must still have a plan approved by DPH to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
  • There is no longer a two-spectator limit for sporting events.
  • Indoor gatherings or events at any business or indoor space open to the public remain limited to the lesser of fifty percent of stated fire occupancy or twenty-five people.
  • Food and drink establishments remain at fifty percent of stated fire occupancy requirements, excluding employees.

Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health announced that starting April 6, all individuals ages 16 or older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at pharmacies, community vaccination sites, and mass vaccination events hosted by the State of Delaware. Primary care doctors, specialty providers, and hospital systems will continue to prioritize vaccines for individuals ages 16-64 with moderate- and high-risk medical conditions and disabilities.

On April 1, Governor Carney signed the ninth revision to his COVID-19 emergency order which calls for updates to public health requirements for youth and amateur sports. The revisions require the following:

  • Athletes participating in high-risk sports must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Athletes participating in non-high-risk sports outdoors must wear face coverings, except when actively engaged in practice or game play while on the field.
  • Athletes from different households must adhere to social distancing and remain six feet apart, except when actively engaged in practice or game play while on the field.
  • All coaches, staff, and referees must wear face coverings at all times.

Masks continue to be required at all times for all indoor sports and activities.

March 25, 2021:

On March 23, 2012, Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced that Delawareans aged 50 and over can register on the State of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccine waiting list at vaccinerequest.delaware.gov. Invitations for the limited appointments will be based on various risk factors, including pre-existing medical conditions.

DPH, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Delaware National Guard (DNG) will host large vaccination events to serve the expanded wait list beginning March 27 and 28 at Dover International Speedway. The number of appointments will be contingent on vaccine supply.

March 18, 2021:

On Tuesday, March 16, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division on Public Health announced an expansion of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination program. The expansion allows for pharmacies to begin vaccinating ‚Äčindividuals over the age of 50. Additionally, health care providers, including hospitals, became permitted to vaccinate patients ages 16 and up with high ‚Äčand moderate-risk medical conditions. On Tuesday, March 23, the State will open its COVID-19 vaccination waiting list to any individual over the age of 50.

March 8, 2021:

On March 5, 2021, Governor Carney announced an expansion of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination program for educators, school staff, and child care workers with the goal of providing at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to school personnel by the end of March.

February 18, 2021:

On February 16, 2021, FEMA and Delaware Officials announced a new COVID-19 vaccination center opening in Dover. The state partnered with the Dover International Speedway to create a drive-through COVID-19 second-dose vaccination site that will be open for a six-day period beginning on Sunday, February 21. To make an appointment for the Dover Speedway clinic, Delawareans must indicate the location and date of the DPH first dose event they attended from the following:

  • Dover Division of Motor Vehicles on January 16 through January 18
  • Salesianum School in Wilmington on January 18
  • Delaware City Division of Motor Vehicles on January 22 through 24
  • Georgetown Division of Motor Vehicles on January 23 and January 24

Vaccinations are set to occur between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. each day and will be scheduled in 15-minute increments. The following are suggestions to help the Dover Speedway clinic run smoothly:

  • Do not arrive more than one hour early.
  • Enter via 1000 Leipsic Road, not the main entrance from Route 13.
  • Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
  • Bring personal identification (such as a driver’s licenses or photo ID).
  • Have proof of your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination (vaccination card).
  • Be able to show confirmation of your appointment.

February 16, 2021:

On February 12, 2021, Governor Carney, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) announced a list of community testing sites throughout Delaware for the week of February 15th. Testing locations include pop-up and Curative trailer sites, in addition to Walgreens facilities and various hospital and health care locations.

On February 16, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Health and Human Services (HHS), Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and Dover International Speedway (DIS) announced a partnership to open a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site for six days beginning Saturday, February 20, 2021. Delaware requested federal assistance to establish the vaccination site, which will provide the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to up to 3,000 Delawareans a day for six days. These second-dose appointments will only be available to those who received a first dose from the Division of Public Health at certain locations in the state. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be offered. Appointments for the vaccination clinic will open on Wednesday at 11 a.m., and residents can register at here.

February 9, 2021:

On February 5, 2021, Governor Carney, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) announced a list of community testing sites throughout Delaware for the week of February 8. Testing locations include pop-up and Curative trailer sites, in addition to Walgreens facilities and various hospital and health care locations.

On Monday February 8, 2021, Governor Carney signed House Bill 65, which provides unemployment tax relief for Delawareans and businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation waives 2020 state income tax on unemployment benefits collected from Delawareans who lost a job or income over the course of the year. Important information for filing with the exemption can be found here.

On February 9, 2021, Governor Carney, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) announced updates to the State’s COVID-19 vaccination program, with a focus on administering second doses for individuals who received first doses at state-operated vaccination events in January. Second dose registration and scheduling information will be listed here as it becomes available and will also be emailed to all eligible individuals for whom the state has e-mail addresses.

February 2, 2021:

On February 2, 2021, Governor Carney, the Delaware Division of Public Health, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency announced an expansion of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination program with a focus on vaccinating senior individuals in underserved, minority communities. The initiative includes partnering with community organizations to invite seniors to events at Salesianum School and the Wilmington campus of Delaware Technical Community College to schedule vaccination appointments.

January 28, 2021:

On January 28, 2021, the Delaware Division of Social Services announced it will begin issuing increased emergency benefits to eligible households as part of the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19. The benefits, which are being issued this week, are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and General Assistance (GA). Individuals can apply through Delaware Assist.

January 26, 2021:

On January 26, 2021, Governor John Carney extended a State of Emergency declaration by 30 days to confront community spread of COVID-19. Addressing the distribution of vaccine, Governor Carney announced a partnership with community based organizations to begin expanding access to the COVID-19 vaccine among low-income, underserved seniors. Additionally, the Governor, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) announced a list of community testing sites throughout Delaware this and next week.

January 19, 2021:

On January 19, 2021, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced that the state is transitioning to Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan. This phase of the plan focuses on persons 65 years old and older.

There are five drive-through vaccination events for persons 65 and older, as well as for remaining Phase 1A personnel, on Friday, January 22 at the Delaware City Division of Motor Vehicles and on Saturday and Sunday, January 23 and 24, at both the Delaware City and Georgetown DMV locations. These events require an appointment, which can be made here. The link opens on January 20, 2021 at 8:30 am.

Information concerning additional Phase 1B eligible individuals (including K-12 educations, child care workers, correctional officers, and other frontline essential workers) will be released next week.

January 12, 2021:

On January 8, 2021, Governor Carney signed the fifth revision to the omnibus emergency order. This revision lifts the 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants, but still requires them to have signage indicating that parties from in the establishment must be from the same household and that masks must be worn. Additionally, parties can be no larger than 6 people, with up to 4 adults.

Additionally, games and competitions can resume at 30% capacity, which includes athletes, coaches, and staff. Each athlete is allowed to have one person attend who will not count towards the 30% capacity. The revision still requires that anyone participating in an out-of-state tournament must self-quarantine upon return to Delaware. The revised emergency order states that the Delaware Division of Public Health can issue cease and desist orders to teams with high levels of COVID-19 cases or failure to comply with the emergency order, and can ban all future practices, games, and matches.

The revised emergency order also continues to strongly advise that residents are to stay home as often as possible.

January 5, 2021:

On January 1, 2021, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health published a letter to Delaware schools, teachers, and parents urging elementary, middle, and high schools to return to hybrid instruction on Monday, January 11. The recommendation is based on meetings and other communications with stakeholders, as well as recent studies that evidence that schools are not a significant source of COVID-19.

December 28, 2020:

On December 24, Governor Carney extended the State of Emergency declaration for another thirty days by issuing the Tenth Extension of the Declaration of a State of Emergency. Delaware state law requires the governor to extend the state of emergency every 30 days.

Additionally, Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of Education announced that the state will provide $9 million in one-time funding to school districts and charter schools. The funds will be used to prevent layoffs related to enrollment reductions by requiring recipients to certify that they will not lay off educators or staff. Recipients must also certify that they will use the funds for student instruction.

December 21, 2020:

On December 21, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Small business announced a new round of relief funding that will provide $26 million to support small businesses. This new funding will provide a bonus of 20% to DE Relief Grant recipients, and hospitality business will receive an additional 30% bonus, which means bonuses equal to 50% of the value of the original grant.

The Governor and the Delaware Department of state also announced $10 million in relief funding for Delaware arts organizations. Relief for not-for-profit arts organizations will cover 35% of the organizations’ 2019 operating expenses, up to $300,000.

December 14, 2020:

On December 12, Governor Carney and Delaware Public Health announced the state’s plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine that Pfizer BioNtech developed. Delaware expects to receive 8,775 doses of the vaccine very soon and has adopted a three-tier strategy for vaccine distribution:

Phase 1 (current phase): Health care personnel, emergency medical services agencies, and long-term care staff and resident will receive the vaccine first.

Phase 2 (March 2021): Those with more moderate-risk for getting COVID-19 are eligible to receive the vaccine. The state will provide additional details about specific groups and eligibility as Phase 2 gets closer.

Phase 3 (Spring/Summer 2021): The general public can expect to receive vaccines at their health care providers, health centers and pharmacies when the vaccines becomes widely available.

At this time, DPC does not anticipate mandating the vaccine but strongly encourages it.

December 10, 2020:

On December 10, 2020 Governor Carney signed the fourth revision to the omnibus emergency order, which institutes several additional restrictions in light of the rise in COVID-19 cases. The new restrictions will take effect on Monday, December 14, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. The additional restrictions include:

  • Businesses above 100,000 square feet are limited to 20 percent of stated fire capacity.
  • All other businesses, including most retail stores and all restaurants, are limited to 30 percent of stated fire capacity. Restaurants must have signage prominently displayed that states that parties seated together must be from the same household. Restaurants also must post signs promoting the use of masks.
  • Retail below 5,000 square feet, all Houses of Worship, and funeral services are limited to 40 percent of stated fire capacity.
  • A 10 p.m. curfew will be imposed at Delaware restaurants and bars. **Restaurants can deliver past 10 p.m.
  • Exercise classes at gyms are limited to 10 people and individuals who are not part of the same household must remain at least 13 feet apart during classes.
  • Indoor gatherings at businesses or indoor spaces open to the public must be limited to the lesser of 30 percent of the venue’s stated fire capacity, or 10 people.

Additionally, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health announced a zero-tolerance enforcement policy for businesses that violate COVID-19 related rules. A first violation will result in an immediate civil fine. A second violation will result in closure until the establishment submits a reopening plan that is approved by DPH.

December 3, 2020:

On December 3, 2020 Governor Carney recommended that schools extend their winter break by making next week the final week of in-person learning this calendar year. Schools who choose to follow the recommendation should transition to remote learning for the week of December 14, 2020 for the final week before the holiday break, and then resume school with remote learning until January 8, 2020, after which point they should return to in-person hybrid instruction. This is a recommendation and is not required.

Additionally, Governor Carney announced that his office, along with the DPH, will institute a universal mask mandate statewide. The new mandate will require residents and visitors to wear a face covering anytime they are indoors with anyone outside of their immediate household. The exception is that no child under 2 years old should wear a face covering due to risk of suffocation. This is more strict than the previous mandate, which only required masks in public settings where social distancing is not possible.

November 30, 2020:

On November 25, Governor Carney issued the Ninth Extension of the Declaration of a State of Emergency, which extends the state’s current emergency declaration for another 30 days to limit the spread of COVID-19. Delaware state law requires the governor to official state of emergency every 30 days.

November 24, 2020:

On November 24, Governor Carney announced the creation of the Higher Education Relief Fund. This fund, which is funded by the CARES Act, will commit $45 million dollars to Delaware colleges and universities to help those institutions mitigate expenses related to COVID-19. Eligible uses of the funds include:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Equipment purchased to make buildings suitable for COVID-19 safety (plexi-glass, air purifiers)
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting services
  • Expenses for technical assistance on mitigation of COVID-19 related threats
  • Costs incurred to conduct enhanced screenings for employees and students
  • Technology and tele-services needed to adjust to COVID-19 response
  • Signage necessary because of the pandemic
  • Marketing and media expenses incurred to respond to COVID-19

November 23, 2020:

On November 20, 2020 Governor Carney officially issued his Third Revisions to the Omnibus COVID-19 Order (originally issued September 3, 2020). These revisions incorporate the additional measures we outlined in the below update from November 17, 2020, concerning Governor Carney’s November 17, 2020 announcement. These measures include the following restrictions:

  • Indoor gatherings inside of homes are limited to 10 people or less
  • Indoor gatherings outside of homes must be limited to 30% of capacity, up to 50 people. This restriction applies to weddings, funerals, houses of worship, political gatherings, etc.
  • Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people However, up to 250 people may be permitted at an outdoor gathering if there is a plan approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health
  • Restaurants must operate at 30% capacity indoors, but there are allowances for additional outdoor seating
  • Beginning on December 1, 2020, Delaware youth sports organizations, teams, and venues are prohibited from hosting or participating in tournaments with out-of-state teams and may not travel across state lines for tournaments.

November 19, 2020:

The Delaware Division of Small Business and the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce have announced a partnership wherein the Chamber will provide assistance to small businesses applying for DE Relief Grants. Business owners who are interested in assistance applying for the relief grants can email the Chamber at [email protected] or call at (302) 709-1708.

To date, more than $61 million in grant requests have been approved and another $31.2 million in requests are going through the review process.

November 17, 2020:

On November 17, 2020, Governor Carney announced additional measures that will be implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19. These measures include the following restrictions:

  • Indoor gatherings inside of homes are limited to 10 people or less
  • Indoor gatherings outside of homes must be limited to 30% of capacity, up to 50 people. This restriction applies to weddings, funerals, houses of worship, political gatherings, etc.
  • Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people However, up to 250 people may be permitted at an outdoor gathering if there is a plan approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health
  • Restaurants must operate at 30% capacity indoors, but there are allowances for additional outdoor seating
  • Beginning on December 1, 2020, Delaware youth sports organizations, teams, and venues are prohibited from hosting or participating in tournaments with out-of-state teams and may not travel across state lines for tournaments.

Unless otherwise stated, these restrictions are set to take effect on Monday, November 23, 2020.

Though no Executive Order has been posted online yet, we expect to see one in the coming days.

Governor Carney also announced an expansion of the DE Relief Grants program for businesses that have been most impacted by COVID-19. The application deadline is December 4, 2020.

November 16, 2020:

On November 13, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced that the State would partner with pediatric care providers, including Nemours Children’s Health System, to increase accessibility to COVID-19 rapid antigen tests across the state. DPH has recommended that teachers, staff, and students get tested at least once a month to identify and mitigate community spread through the school system. The increased availability of rapid-testing will help the state reach that testing goal.

November 5, 2020:

On November 5, 2020, Governor Carney issued the second revision to the Omnibus COVID-19 order (issued September 3, 2020) and first modified on September 25, 2020). This revision removes restrictions at food and drink establishment in the towns of Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Breach, Long Neck, Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, West Fenwick Island, Ocean View, Millville and several zip codes.

November 2, 2020:

On October 30, Governor Carney issued the Eighth Extension of the Declaration of a State of Emergency, which extends the state’s original emergency declaration another 30 days to limit the spread of COVID-19. Delaware state law requires the governor to officially extend the state of emergency every 30 days.

October 21, 2020:

On October 20, Governor Carney and the Department of Health and Services announced the launch of a new Health Care Relief Fund dedicated to providing health care providers support during the COVID-19 crisis. $100 million in funds will be available to health care agencies, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, hospitals, behavioral health service providers, and more.

Money from the Health Care Relief Fund can be used for “COVID-19 related investments, including technology upgrades, purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE), and environmental modifications in health care facilities.”

(New Castle County): Governor Carney and New Castle County have partnered to expand Delaware’s DE Relief program and the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Initiative. As a result of the expansion, there is a total of $150 million in grant assistance available for Delaware small business. As a reminder, the second round of funding opened on October 1. The application is available here.

October 12, 2020:

On October 2, Governor Carney formally extended the State of Emergency declaration another 30 days to confront community spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, applications for the second round of funding through the DE Relief Grants program opened on October 1, 2020. This program provides small business and eligible nonprofit organizations with funding that can be used for:

  • Purchasing equipment to make a workplace suitable for COVID-19 safety (such as PPE, plexiglass, air purifiers, etc.)
  • Refinancing of debt incurred due to COVID-19 (including State of Delaware HELP loans)
  • Advertising efforts undertaken as a result of COVID-19
  • Fixed expenses the applicant accrued during COVID-19

September 8, 2020:

Effective September 4, Governor Carney signed the 27th modification to his State of Emergency, combining all active COVID-19 restrictions into a single order. Governor Carney’s modification also formalizes the latest restrictions around bar service in Delaware beach communities and requires that businesses more strictly enforce face covering requirements among their employees.

September 3, 2020:

On September 3, Governor Carney formally extended the State of Emergency declaration another 30 days to confront community spread of COVID-19. Delaware state law requires a governor officially extend a state of emergency every 30 days.

August 26, 2020:

On August 26, Governor Carney signed the Twenty Fifth Modification to the State of Emergency. The Modification takes the following actions:

  • Formalizes the new face covering requirements for children,
  • Requires Delaware schools to notify families if they become aware of positive cases of COVID-19 in their schools, and
  • Directs the Department of Education to work with educators to develop a modified system for tracking student growth.

August 24, 2020:

The Delaware Division of Public Health announced children who are in kindergarten or older must wear face coverings in public settings, including school buildings.

August 19, 2020:

On August 19, Governor Carney, along with New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and the Delaware Division of Small Business, announced a grant program of at least $100 million to assist Delaware small businesses and nonprofit organizations. This program is funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and is expected to reach more than 3,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations with grants of up to $100,000. Funds can be used for:

  • Purchasing equipment to make a workplace suitable for COVID-19 safety (such as PPE, plexiglass, air purifiers, etc.)
  • Refinancing debt incurred due to COVID-19 (including State of Delaware HELP loans)
  • Advertising efforts undertaken as a result of COVID-19
  • Fixed expenses the applicant accrued during COVID-19

August 11, 2020:

On August 10, Governor Carney, along with the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), announced the reopening of the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP), which provides financial assistance for renters affected by COVID-19. They also announced emergency mortgage assistance available for homeowners who have missed payments due to the pandemic.

The State of Delaware and New Castle County will contribute a combined $40 million in CARES Act funding to provide payments for qualified applications to both the rental and mortgage assistance programs. Eligible households in DE HAP can now receive up to $5,000 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner.

August 5, 2020:

On August 5, Governor Carney formally extended the State of Emergency for another 30 days. This is the fifth extension of the State of Emergency since its declaration on March 12.

August 4, 2020:

On August 3, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced that Delaware schools may open under a hybrid scenario next month. This consists of:

  • a mix of in-person and remote instruction;
  • significant safety precautions to limit transmission of COVID-19;
  • guidance on social distancing in schools, mask wearing, and transportation concerns; and
  • free COVID-19 testing for educators and staff before the school year begins and throughout the year, and community testing sites geared toward students in the weeks before schools open.

August 3, 2020:

On August 3, Governor Carney signed Executive Order #43, creating the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative. This Initiative will:

  • Assist Delaware workers and their families who have lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 crisis,
  • Initially be funded with $10 million of federal CARES Act funding, and
  • Include training and certificate programs established by the Delaware Department of Labor will work with the Delaware Workforce Development Board.

On July 28, Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced the creation of a national COVID-19 Data Quality Audit template. This template was developed as part of a multistate effort to review state COVID-19 reporting and monitoring and was conceived through collaboration with fiscal watchdogs from five states­—Delaware, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio and Pennsylvania—and the National State Auditors Association.

July 27, 2020:

On July 24, Governor Carney declared the 24th modification of the declaration of a State of Emergency. Under the modification:

  • Driver education services may resume with precautions in place.
  • Senior centers, adult day cares, and senior nutrition programs may open at 30% capacity with precautions in place.
  • Indoor basketball and soccer tournaments may resume with Division of Public Health approval.
  • Food and drink establishments are required to give customers the option of leaving contact information to help with contact tracing.

July 22, 2020:

On July 20, the Delaware Department of labor announced:

  • That Delaware had already begun offering the Federal-State Extended Benefits program for those who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits.
  • The program offers up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits to individuals who have exhausted both their regular unemployment benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) assistance.

The weekly benefit amount under the program is the same as what the individual received for regular unemployment compensation. Additionally, those eligible for extended benefits will receive an additional $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation through July 25, 2020.

July 15, 2020:

On July 14, Governor Carney held a press briefing and announced that Delaware is aiming to reopen schools in late August or early September depending on the trend of COVID-19 cases. An official start date will be announced next month.

Delaware has received $39 million in CARES Act federal funding for schools in the wake of the pandemic.

July 13, 2020:

On July 9, Delaware launched the Delaware Family Reentry Pilot (FRP) Program, a statewide initiative to give individuals recently released from incarceration the opportunity to reunite with their families who live in public housing.

On July 10, Delaware was added to Pennsylvania’s travel advisory list. As a result, anyone travelling from Delaware is required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Phase 3 of Delaware’s reopening plan remains indefinitely paused.

July 9, 2020:

On July 8, Philadelphia added Delaware to the list of states that must quarantine for 14 days upon traveling into the city.

  • Governor Carney responded, arguing Delaware has a much lower rate of positive cases (5.3%) compared to other states on the list, such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas.
  • This announcement came one day after Delaware was added to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut’s 14-day quarantine list.

July 8, 2020:

On July 7, Delaware has been added to the list of states that must quarantine for 14 days upon traveling to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

  • The transition into Phase 3 of the state’s economic reopening plan, which was scheduled to begin on June 25, remains indefinitely delayed.
  • On July 6, the state of emergency order was extended for an additional 30 days.

July 7, 2020:

On July 6, Governor Carney issued the fourth formal extension of the state of emergency order. Under the extended order:

  • All existing restrictions and limitations remain in effect for an additional 30 days.
  • Wearing a face mask in public settings is still required.

July 6, 2020:

Many of the restrictions outlined in Governor Carney’s twenty-third modification to the statewide declaration of emergency are now in effect.

The bar areas of food and drink establishments in eastern Sussex County were closed for service and seating.

State parks and beaches will have new visitor limits. Until further notice, the number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island State Parks will be limited to approximately 60% of parking capacity.

July 1, 2020:

On June 30, Governor Carney issued the twenty-third modification to the statewide declaration of emergency. Under the modification:

  • Temporary Phase 2 business restrictions are imposed on taprooms and restaurant bars in towns of Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Long Neck, Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, West Fenwick Island, Ocean View, Millville, and several zip codes.
  • Patrons must wear facial coverings whenever they are not seated. Tables must be disinfected between each party.

June 30, 2020:

On June 30, Governor Carney held a press briefing to discuss the recently passed $4.5 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Under the budget:

  • No new taxes will be introduced.
  • State employees will not be laid off nor have their benefits diminished.
  • Investments in infrastructure, ranging from school construction and farmland preservation to road and bridge improvements, will be made in every county.

June 29, 2020:

Although Phase 3 of Delaware’s economic reopening was scheduled to begin on June 29, Governor Carney confirmed today that it will be delayed.

  • Following an uptick in cases, additional testing was conducted on June 25-26 and the results indicated an increase of cases. Testing in Rehoboth Beach identified approximately 100 positive cases and testing in Dewey identified another dozen.
  • On June 28, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced an increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for June as part of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. Starting June 30, all households already enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum monthly allowance based on the number of household members.

June 24, 2020:

On June 23, Governor Carney gave a press conference to warn residents of a possible resurgence in coronavirus transmissions as the state continues Phase 2 of its reopening plan.

June 23, 2020:

With Phase 2 of the statewide economic reopening plan underway, there has been a renewed concern over the coronavirus due to a slight increase in cases and outbreaks. In response, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has recommended that any “teens who participated in senior week activities that involved living in a group setting or attending a large gathering” be tested for COVID-19. The recommendation comes after at least three teenagers tested positive following a senior week celebration in Dewey Beach.

June 22, 2020:

On June 19, 2020, Governor Carney signed the 22nd Modification to the State of Emergency Order. Under the modified order:

  • Personal care services businesses may expand to 60% of stated fire code capacity.
  • Youth and adult recreational sports tournaments may resume – subject to the prior approval of a tournament-specific safety plan by the Division of Public Health (DPH).

On June 15, 2020, Delaware entered Phase 2 of its economic reopening plan. Phase 2 imposes the following requirements:

  • A gathering of more than 250 people requires specific approval.
  • Businesses that had been operating at 30% of fire occupancy requirements can move to 60% of fire occupancy requirements (excluding staff). Exercise facilities and personal care services (hair care, tanning, tattoo, massage therapy services, nail care, brow care, spas, waxing services and similar) are to remain at 30% of fire occupancy requirements (excluding staff). For more industry-specific guidance, click here.
  • Indoor children's play areas must remain closed. Water parks and sports facilities/venues (professional and amateur) will remain closed unless they have received state approval for their reopening plan.

June 11, 2020:

On June 11, Delaware nursing homes and hospitals requested Governor Carney to grant them immunity from lawsuits related to the coronavirus pandemic. If Governor Carney signs an executive order granting such immunity, it could leave little legal recourse for families and patients who feel they have been wronged by these providers, experts and advocates said.

June 8, 2020:

On June 2, Governor Carney announced that Phase 2 of Delaware’s economic reopening will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Monday June 15. Retail establishments, restaurants and other businesses that were permitted to open at 30 percent of stated fire capacity in Phase 1 may expand to 60 percent of stated fire occupancy in Phase 2.

On June 6, Governor Carney formally extended the State of Emergency declaration in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Under Delaware law, State of Emergency declarations must be renewed every 30 days. The Third Extension Declaration of a State of Emergency will expire in 30 days.

June 2, 2020:

On June 1, Governor Carney issued Executive Order No. 39 creating a Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee (PRAC) to plan for a potential resurgence of COVID-19 in fall 2020. Under Executive Order No. 39, the PRAC will:

  • Develop a healthcare system and public health strategy that’s ready in case of a resurgence of COVID-19;
  • Identify tactics and resources to manage a resurgence of COVID-19 including, but not limited to testing capabilities, personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, economic recovery and health facility readiness; and
  • Assess methods to protect vulnerable populations and consider disproportionate effects on minority-owned businesses in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19.

More information on the PRAC can be found here.

On May 29, Governor Carney issued guidance for summer camps and summer school as Delaware continues a rolling reopening of the economy. Recreational camps must develop a written plan for enforcing social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and other basic public health precautions.

May 26, 2020:

On May 26, Governor John Carney announced that the State of Delaware will lift the ban on short-term rental units and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers on June 1 as part of the rolling reopening of Delaware’s economy.

Governor Carney previously lifted State of Delaware restrictions on Delaware beaches ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening is scheduled to begin on June 1, allowing retail establishments, restaurants and other businesses to open at 30 percent of stated fire capacity with social distancing requirements and other public health guidance in place.

Governor Carney also announced on May 26 that outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people – including weddings and outdoor graduation ceremonies – will be permitted in Delaware beginning on June 1, with basic public health precautions in place to protect against spread of COVID-19. Cloth face coverings must be worn in accordance with Governor Carney’s State of Emergency declaration, and individuals must maintain social distance of at least six feet from anyone outside of their household.

May 19, 2020:

On May 18, Governor Carney announced a public strategy to plan for the safe reopening of Delaware school buildings. Three COVID-19 School Reopening Working Groups (Health and Wellness, Academics and Equity, and Operations and Services) will advise the Delaware Department of Education (DOE), Delaware school districts and charter schools on ways to safely and effectively reopen Delaware school buildings.

On May 19, Governor Carney announced additional steps allowing retail establishments and restaurants to expand operations – while maintaining social distancing to prevent spread of COVID-19. Under the interim steps announced on Tuesday, all retail establishments in Delaware may operate by appointment only beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20. Restaurants, bars, taprooms and craft breweries may also apply to expand outdoor seating capacity to safely serve additional customers when the businesses reopen next month. Applications to expand outdoor seating capacity will be available on Friday, May 22, and expansions would be authorized to begin on June 1. Delaware retailers and restaurants are scheduled to open their indoor spaces at 30 percent of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning June 1.

May 18, 2020:

On May 14, Governor Carney announced that the State of Delaware will lift restrictions on Delaware beaches and community pools at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22, subject to strict social distancing requirements and other restrictions. Ice cream shops and trucks will reopen with restrictions effective 5:00 p.m. this Friday, May 15. Further details may be found in the Seventeenth Modification to State of Emergency.

On May 15, Governor Carney released Phase 1 economic reopening guidance. Delaware’s Phase 1 reopening plan provides general and sector-specific guidance for Delawareans and Delaware businesses.

Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening will begin on June 1. Businesses that will open during Phase 1 – including restaurant and retail establishments – generally must limit capacity to 30 percent of fire code occupancy, excluding staff. Employees who have been telecommuting should continue to do so wherever possible, and employers should close common areas where employees are likely to congregate.

May 12, 2020:

On May 11, the Delaware Department of Labor announced steps for the self-employed to take to register for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) as detailed in the CARES Act

On May 12, Governor Carney announced that the State of Delaware entered into an agreement with the nonpartisan research institution NORC at the University of Chicago to build Delaware’s statewide contact tracing program to contain COVID-19, limit Delawareans’ exposure to the disease, and restart Delaware’s economy. Under Delaware’s contact tracing program, Delawareans who have tested positive for COVID-19 should expect a phone call from a case investigator asking for information which includes a list of the person’s known contacts. Contact tracers will then reach out to each of those contacts to help them safely quarantine, to find alternate arrangements as necessary, and to help them get tested for COVID-19, if recommended.

On May 11, Governor Carney announced the Delaware Farmers’ Market Coalition, a group of market managers from across the state, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) is issuing protocols to help farmers’ markets safely begin opening starting May 15.

May 8, 2020:

On May 8, Governor Carney signed the Second Extension of State of Emergency which extended the stay-at-home order and its other modifications, through May 31.

On May 8, Governor Carney released a statement which announced June 1 as the target date for Phase I of the Economic Reopening. Details about Phase I of Delaware’s economic reopening will be released next week, but the general framework about Delaware’s recovery effort can be found here. Entering Phase I is contingent on the State of Delaware’s ability to contain the COVID-19 hot spot in Sussex County, and continued positive trends in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide.

Governor Carney indicated that before Delaware’s economy can reopen, the State must meet the following criteria, based on federal guidelines:

  • 14-day decline in percent of positive cases
  • Ability to treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals without crisis care
  • Extensive testing programs for health care workers

May 5, 2020:

On May 5, Governor Carney announced a series of interim steps allowing small businesses to resume limited operations effective 8:00 a.m. on Friday, May 8.

Such interim steps are as follows:

  • Small business retailers will be allowed to do business using curbside pickup as long as social distancing can be maintained. These retailers include:
    • Clothing stores
    • Shoe stores
    • Sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments
    • Book, periodical, music stores
    • Department stores
    • Tobacco and Vape
    • Other general merchandise
    • Office supply, stationery, and gift stores
    • Used merchandise stores
    • Consumer goods rental
  • Jewelry stores may do business by appointment only, and Governor Carney has instructed the Delaware Division of Small Business to consider additional changes like this for other similar retailers.
  • Cosmetology: Hair care services only are permitted to be offered, and only to workers at essential businesses. Guidelines include:
    • No more than two appointments at a time per location (and never more than the number of available staff, so only one for a sole proprietor). Need to leave 15 minutes between appointments for proper cleaning.
    • Employees and customers must wear cloth face masks at all times, and customers must cancel appointments if they have any reason to believe they may be ill or may have come into contact with the virus.
    • Staff must wear disposable gloves when providing services and must throw away gloves between customers and wash hands.
    • Employer must require employees to report their temperature daily — above 99.5 means they are ineligible to work.
    • Customer stations must be sanitized between use, along with any equipment used for the customer. In addition, any item a customer handles (like a magazine) must leave with the customer.
    • Entrance door must remain locked to outside to prevent walk-ins.
  • Other
    • Golf carts allowed at courses for 1 rider at a time with proper cleaning between customers
    • Drive thru movies are permitted, but patrons must remain inside vehicles and social distancing must be maintained at all times.

Employees required to report to work as a result of these changes will now be permitted to utilize child care services, provided neither parent works from home and they do not have alternate care.

April 27, 2020:

On April 25, Governor Carney signed the Thirteenth Modification to the State of Emergency which requires all individuals to wear a face covering while in a public place or outdoor public area. Beginning on May 1, all businesses are required to provide employees to wear face coverings when working in open areas and must provide hand sanitizer to employees. Additionally, the business must require a customer to wear a facemask at the point of entry, subject to certain exceptions. More information on Governor Carney’s order can be found here.

April 24, 2020:

On April 24, Governor Carney announced a plan for public engagement around economic reopening and recovery. Starting next week, various virtual town hall assemblies will be held with the goal to collect feedback from small business leaders and the public about Delaware’s economic reopening and recovery efforts.

April 15, 2020:

On April 15, Governor Carney issued the Eleventh Modification to his State of Emergency declaration, requiring stricter guidelines to prevent COVID-19 infections in nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities. The updated emergency order requires nursing facilities to immediately ensure they are in full compliance with the Public Health Authority guidance related to COVID-19. Nursing facilities must check Division of Public Health (DPH) guidance at least daily to ensure they are complying with the most current guidance and adjust their policies, procedures, and protocols accordingly.

April 14, 2020:

On April 10, Governor Carney Extended the Declaration of a State of Emergency first declared on March 12. Under Delaware law, State of Emergency declarations must be renewed every 30 days.

April 7, 2020:

On April 6, Governor Carney issued the Tenth Modification to his State of Emergency declaration, banning all short-term rental units – including vacation home rentals, hotels, motels, and condo rentals – to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

The Tenth Modification also made substantial changes to the Fourth Modification to State of Emergency, which outlined Essential Businesses. The Tenth Modification added several additional businesses to the definition of “Non-Essential Businesses” including, but not limited to, all other businesses not included in the definition of Essential Businesses or Limited Operation Non-Essential Businesses.

The Tenth Modification also mandated that Non-Essential Businesses and Limited Operation Non-Essential Businesses shall be closed until May 15 or until the public health threat has been eliminated, and Non-Essential Businesses shall not transact business via curbside pickup.

The Tenth Modification also addressed remote meetings of Stockholders. If, as a result of the public health threat, the board of directors wishes to change a meeting currently noticed for a physical location to a remote meeting, the board may notify stockholders of the change by a document publicly filed by the corporation with the SEC pursuant to § 13, § 14 or § 15(d) of the SEC Act and a press release posted on the corporation’s website. The corporation may also postpone the meeting to another date and time.

April 3, 2020:

On April 1, Governor Carney signed the Ninth Modification to State of Emergency. This modification further limits public gatherings to 10 people through May 15 or until the public health threat has been eliminated. Public gatherings include weddings and funerals. Additionally, starting at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, all businesses that allow customers on-site must comply with the following restrictions to ensure adequate social distancing and to maintain a high level of sanitation and employee hygiene:

  • Allow no more than 20 percent of stated fire capacity in the store at any given time and no more than 10 percent during exclusive hours for high-risk populations.
  • Clearly mark six-foot spacing in checkout lines, using signs or ropes in any other high-traffic areas of the store.
  • Designate staff to count customers entering and exiting the store; to enforce limits; monitor social distancing; assist customers in maintaining adequate social distancing; and ensure CDC cleaning guidelines are followed.
  • Discontinue self-serve foods and product sampling.

The above rules do not apply to healthcare providers.

April 1, 2020:

On March 30, Governor Carney signed the Eighth Modification to State of Emergency. The modification deemed certain childcare centers as Emergency Childcare Sites and provided that the Division of Accounting shall issue Internal Control Policy Guidance for COVID-19.

March 30, 2020:

On March 26, Governor Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi announced a new program to provide emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP) will provide eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company.   

March 25, 2020:  

Governor Carney issued the Sixth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency. The Sixth Modification placed a moratorium on certain evections and enforcement of eviction orders for residential premises “until the state of emergency is terminated and the public emergency is rescinded.” No late fee may be charged for any past due balance for a residential rental unit, and interest may not accrue on the account for residential unit. For any action commenced prior to the state of emergency, deadlines are extended until no sooner than he 31st day following the termination of the state of emergency and recession of the public health emergency. If a final judgment regarding a residential unit was issues prior to the state of emergency, no writ of possession may be expected prior to the 7th day following the termination of the state of emergency and rescission of the public health emergency.

The Sixth Modification also placed a moratorium on certain foreclosures relating to residential mortgages. No late fees may accrue for missed payment of mortgage during the state of emergency. If a foreclosure action commenced prior to the declaration of the state of emergency, the deadlines are extended to no sooner than the 31st day following the termination of the state of emergency and rescission of public health emergency. If a judgment was issued prior to the state of emergency, no action to evict may occur sooner than the 31st day following the termination of the state of emergency and rescission of public health emergency.

Utility services may not terminate if a customer is in a dwelling unit or residence. No insurer may lapse insurance coverage during the state of emergency if the policyholder does not pay premium or interest.

March 22, 2020:

On March 22, Governor Carney issued the Fifth Modification to the Declaration of Public Health Emergency which ordered all individuals to shelter in place of residence until May 15. All travel, including travel on foot, bike or public transit, is prohibited unless it is Essential Travel or travel for Essential Activities or Minimum Basic Operations.

Essential Activities includes activities for health and safety such as obtaining medical supplies or medication, food or other products essential to operation of a residence, and to engage in outdoor activities such as walking or biking. Essential Activities also includes those permitted by the Fourth Modification to State of Emergency, which outlines Essential Businesses. Essential Businesses include those related to healthcare and public health, law enforcement, work related to food and agriculture including manufacturing and distribution, energy and natural resources including the electricity, petroleum, natural/ propane gas, and water industries, manufacturing, financial services and insurance, and construction. The Fourth Modification to State of Emergency also outlines “non-essential business” which includes recreational activities and relators of properties except that relators may do necessary showings to prospective buyers. Lessors and take actions necessary to complete any sales or rentals in progress prior to March 22.

For purposes of the Fifth Modification Minimum Basic Operations include the following operations: minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory or to preserve the physical condition of the business, and to perform the activities necessary to facilitate the business to operate remotely.

Delaware provided a list of essential and nonessential businesses.