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Phase 2 of Delaware Economy Reopening in Response to COVID-19

Posted: 06/09/2020

Effective June 15, 2020, Governor Carney has announced that Delaware is moving to Phase 2 of the reopening of Delaware’s economy. His decision is largely based upon the following: continuing decline in the percent of positive cases of COVID-19 in Delaware, the implementation of testing programs for healthcare workers, the availability of widespread testing for COVID-19 throughout Delaware, the implementation of contact tracing, adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and continual monitoring of the COVID-19 situation.

The Phase 1 reopening of Delaware’s economy began on June 1. The Governor’s Office, through the Division of Public Health and the Division of Small Business, issued a 25-page guide on the status of COVID-19 cases in Delaware, the availability of testing, the implementation of contact tracing, and provided both general and specific industry guidance for the partial opening of various sectors of the economy. Those businesses open to the public were largely limited to up to 30 percent occupancy of their premises based upon Fire Code regulations, while still requiring the wearing of face coverings and maintaining at least six feet of social distancing. For some industries, such as food and drink establishments and consumer services like hair salons, more specific guidance was provided as to the operations of those businesses.

Phase 2 goes to the next step by, in most instances, expanding the occupancy limitations from 30 percent to 60 percent. Other businesses such as child care facilities and commercial lodging which had been open for essential employees only and subject to very strict operational procedures, are now permitted to be open to the general public subject to certain limitations as to occupancy limitations, cleaning protocols, etc. Houses of worship can now operate up to 60 percent of their occupancy limitations subject to certain other restrictions on their operations.

Several services that were not permitted to open under Phase 1 are now permitted to open, such as private instruction not in a traditional K-12 or post-secondary environment, like tutoring services, testing services, adult education or specific vocational training facilities subject to certain spacing limitations.

Golf courses can now reopen with the specific guidance in place during Phase 1 being removed.

Convention centers may reopen subject to limiting occupancy to 60 percent of what is permitted by Fire Code and maintaining social distancing protocols.

And, personal services such as tattoo parlors, nail salons and other personal care services are now permitted to open beginning June 8, subject to very specific guidance as to operations, i.e., capacity limited to 30 percent of occupancy, services may be offered by appointment only.

A number of industries will still not be permitted to reopen such as sporting facilities and venues (professional and amateur) including but not limited to arcades, bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks (ice and non-ice), martial arts studios, dance studios, indoor tennis and similar indoor athletic facilities, unless they can create a facility-specific plan to observe the industry guidance required for exercise facilities. Also not open are indoor children’s play areas, including softscape or hardscape playground facilities, trampoline parks and children’s museums, and water parks.

The specific provisions pertaining to the Phase 2 reopening and industry guidance can be found here.

Shortly after announcing the implementation of the Phase 2 plan, the Governor also implemented the Third Extension of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware which keeps the State of Emergency in effect through July 6, 2020. While a State of Emergency remains in effect, the Governor can continue to place restrictions on the operation of businesses and can continue to enforce the wearing of face masks, social distancing protocols and other guidance as determined by the Division of Public Health. He also retains the right to reimplement restrictions if it appears that the number of cases of COVID-19 in Delaware starts to rise. In the meantime, the Governor has established the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee to plan for the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall. An initial report from the Advisory Committee is due to the Governor on July 31, with a second report due on September 30.

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