Delaware - COVID-19 Covered

Delaware

Total Cases: 9,746 (June 5)
Tests Administered: 65,909 (June 3)
Fatalities: 386 (June 5)
Testing:
  • Governor Carney signed an executive order creating a Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee to plan for a potential fall resurgence of the virus. (June 1)
  • Delaware’s National Guard has begun conducting contact tracing. (May 22)
  • The Division of Public Health has been awarded a $67 million grant to increase testing capacity. (May 21)
  • Delaware has entered into an agreement with NORC at the University of Chicago to build the state’s contact tracing program. The state plans to hire 200 contact tracers and support staff. (May 12)
  • Governor Carney announced a major expansion of Delaware’s testing program, which will allow the state to conduct 80,000 tests monthly. (May 8)
  • Governor Carney and the Division of Public Health announced a plan to test all residents and staff of long-term care facilities. (May 5)
  • Governor Carney and the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts announced a joint multi-state agreement to develop a regional supply chain for personal protective equipment, medical equipment, and testing supplies. (May 3)
  • Governor Carney declared Sussex County a “hot spot” for COVID-19 in the state, and announced the expansion of community testing sites in the area. (April 28) Testing sites and times for April 29 through May 4 in Sussex County have been announced for employees of essential businesses, family members of at-risk populations, those exposed to someone with COVID-19, and someone caring for a sick family member with COVID-19 – including drive-through testing in parking lots and at sites at the DHSS State Services Center. (April 29)
  • The Division of Public Health provides daily updates on COVID-19 statistics on the state’s website at noon, reflecting information available as of the close of business the previous day. (State of Delaware)
  • Christiana Care is operating testing sites in Newark and Wilmington; Saint Francis Healthcare in Wilmington; Bayhealth in Dover; Beebe Healthcare in Millsboro and Frankford; and Nancticoke in Seaford. (April 14)
  • Governor Carney announced that Delaware will begin tracking race and ethnicity for COVID-19 patients. (April 9)
  • ChristianaCare, near Newark, is opening an out-patient coronavirus site for patients to get in-office care, including lab and x-ray services, as well as support for pregnant women who have the virus. Only COVID-19 positive patients will be treated at the new site, by appointment. (April 8)
  • The Division of Public Health, in collaboration with the United Way of Delaware, is increasing capacity for incoming calls related to COVID-19. The number is 2-1-1, 1-800-560-3372 – with 7-1-1 for hearing impaired. (April 5)
  • Patients and providers do not have to pay for testing at the Division of Public Health Lab. (March 13)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Carney’s ninth modification to his State of Emergency set forth additional guidelines for essential businesses – related to occupancy, exclusive hours for high-risk population, six-foot spacing in checkout lines, discontinuance of self-serve foods and product sampling, and designating staff to count the number of customers entering and exiting stores, among other guidelines. (April 1) 
  • Governor Carney’s eighth modification to his State of Emergency allows childcare programs to be designated as emergency childcare sites. (March 30) 
  • Essential services in Delaware include natural resources and mining, utilities, construction, manufacturing, the majority of wholesale trade, select retail trade (such as food and beverage stores, gas stations, and appliance stores), the majority of transportation and warehousing, finance and insurance, healthcare and social assistance, among others. (March 22) 

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Carney announced that Phase 2 of Delaware’s reopening will begin June 15. Retail establishments, restaurants, and other businesses that have been operating at 30 percent of stated fire capacity in the first phase may expand to 60 percent. Carney also announced a rolling reopening of personal care service businesses (including tattoo shops and massage therapy services), which may open at 30 percent of fire occupancy on June 8. (June 2)
  • Personal care service businesses and exercise facilities remain at 30 percent of stated fire capacity in Phase 2. (June 2)
  • The Delaware Department of Agriculture issued guidance to help U-Pick farms safely open for the season. (May 20)
  • Governor Carney announced additional steps allowing businesses to expand operations, including allowing retail to operate by appointment only starting May 20 and allowing restaurants, bars, taprooms, and craft breweries to apply to expand outdoor seating capacity. (May 19)
  • Governor Carney released guidelines for businesses as the state begins to reopen (which includes the majority of business sectors – gyms, restaurants, arts venues, and retail establishments), which include, generally, limiting capacity to 30 percent of fire code capacity and encouraging telecommuting where possible. Notably, restaurants may reopen for reservation service only and places of worship must be limited to ten people for services. Businesses must also adhere to strict social distancing requirements and follow basic hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing. (May 15)
  • Delaware farmers’ markets will be permitted to open starting May 15, under protocols issued by the Department of Agriculture. (May 11)
  • Governor Carney outlined interim steps for small businesses to begin to reopen on May 8. Small retailers (such as for clothing, shoes, sporting goods, books, music, tobacco, office supplies, and others) will be allowed to do business using curbside pickup; jewelry stores may do business by appointment only; hair care services will be permitted to be offered to workers at essential businesses; golf carts will be allowed at courses for 1 rider at a time; drive-thru movies will be permitted as long as patrons remain inside vehicles. (May 5)
  • Governor Carney’s thirteenth modification to his State of Emergency requires businesses to take additional steps to maintain safety, including requiring employees to wear face coverings, providing face coverings and hand sanitizer, and denying entry to people who do not have a face covering, among others. (April 25)
  • Governor Carney’s eleventh modification to his State of Emergency required stricter workplace guidelines for nursing and long-term care facilities. (April 15)
  • Governor Carney urged Delawareans with health care or childcare experience to sign up to assist with the state’s response to COVID-19. (April 11)
  • Governor Carney’s tenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration put a ban on short-term rental units. (April 6)
  • Governor Carney’s fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration ordered Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closed all non-essential businesses through at least May 15. (March 22)
  • Governor Carney’s Declaration of a State of Emergency closed all casinos, bowling alleys, concert events, movie theaters, sports facilities, fitness centers, and health spas; under the Declaration, entities that remain open are strongly encouraged to have hand sanitizers or hand washing stations available for employees and patrons, and are strongly encouraged to ensure that no more than 50 people are present in the space at the same time. (March 18)
  • State employees shall refrain from any business travel out of state under the Declaration. On March 14, Governor Carney authorized all meetings of public bodies to be conducted electronically until further notice. (March 14)
  • Governor Carney approved changes to the unemployment benefits program for the hospitality industry, including aiming to process claims in a week, allowing part-time income while collecting benefits, and not classifying tipped employees as minimum wage earners. (March 18)
  • Under the State of Emergency, the Delaware Secretary of Labor is authorized to develop emergency rules, including to enhance the flexibility of the unemployment insurance program. (March 18)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The Delaware Department of Labor announced the launch of a new UI benefits system to process claims for independent contractors and self-employed individuals, among others. (May 4)
  • Governor Carney issued his 14th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, which will provide additional protections for renters and extend the application deadline for Delaware’s Senior School Property Tax Credit Program until June 1. (April 30)
  • The Delaware House Republican Caucus is pressuring Governor Carney to “restart our economy now in a way that responsibly manages risk.” The caucus argued that more government aid “cannot take the place of a functioning economy” and called for a plan with a “predictable path forward.” (April 30)
  • The Delaware Division of Small Business and the Delaware Prosperity Partnership will host virtual town halls with members of state government and small businesses to collect feedback about Delaware’s reopening. (April 23)
  • The Delaware Division of Revenue announced that the filing deadlines for certain corporate and personal income tax returns and payments have been extended to July 15, 2020. (April 9)
  • Attorney General Kathy Jennings issued a warning to Delaware residents about possible scams related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. (April 8)
  • Highmark, Delaware’s only ACA provider, has waived deductibles, co-insurance, or co-pays for inpatient hospital care for COVID-19. (April 2)
  • Governor Carney and the Delaware State Housing Authority announced a program to provide eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to property owners and utility companies. (March 26)
  • Governor Carney’s sixth modification to the Declaration of a State of Emergency requires insurers not to cancel insurance policies of people and business facing economic impacts of the crisis. (March 24)
  • Residential foreclosures and evictions are suspended through at least May 15. (March 24)
  • Governor Carney issued an executive order authorizing state agencies to expand access to childcare for Delaware families and health care workers. (March 19)
  • Carney has said that the state is working to ensure that childcare workers continue to get paid in the event of childcare center closures. (March 15)
  • The state is also prohibiting price gouging during the outbreak. (March 12)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long is continuing to host virtual town hall meetings with stakeholders and members of the public to collect feedback to inform the state’s recovery plans. (May 4)
  • Governor Carney submitted an application requesting the US Small Business Administration provide Delaware an Economy Injury Declaration to make loans available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. (March 17)
  • Carney announced the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) to provide financial relief for restaurants, bars and other hospitality industry businesses (March 18); the program’s cap was later expanded to businesses with annual revenue below $2.5 million. (March 26)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • Under Phase 1 of Delaware’s reopening (beginning June 1), vulnerable residents should continue to shelter in place. (May 15)
  • Governor Carney extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 31, and set a June 1 target for the first phase of the state’s reopening. (May 8)

Curfews:

  •  No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor Carney said the state’s ban on short-term rentals and its out-of-state quarantine will be lifted on June 1. (May 26)
  • Governor Carney issued updated guidelines for churches and houses of worship: gatherings must be limited to 30 percent of fire code occupancy, strict social distancing must be maintained, high-risk residents should not attend in-person services, and anyone 13-years-old or older must wear face coverings. (May 18)
  • Governor Carney announced that restrictions on state beaches and community pools will be lifted on May 22, subject to strict social distancing requirements. Ice cream shops and trucks will also open with restrictions. (May 14)
  • Governor Carney has said that the state must see 14 days of declining coronavirus metrics before entering the reopening process. (May 1)
  • The thirteenth modification to the State of Emergency requires residents to wear face coverings in public, including in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and public transportation. (April 25)
  • Governor Carney announced a neighborhood social networking platform called Nextdoor, where Delaware residents can exchange information, goods, and services, while the governor will share public health updates, links to various resources, and important messages regarding the State of Emergency. (April 10)
  • The Delaware Division of Public Health recommended residents wear cloth face coverings in situations where social distancing could be difficult to maintain. (April 8)
  • Gatherings of 10 or more people are forbidden until at least May 15. (April 1)
  • The Delaware Transit Corporation will begin limiting the number of passengers allowed on buses. (April 1)
  • The seventh modification to Governor Carney’s emergency declaration ordered all out-of-state travelers into Delaware to self-quarantine for 14 days. (March 29)
  • Governor Carney’s third modification to his emergency declaration closed Delaware beaches through at least May 15. (March 21)

Delivery Services:

  • Governor Carney’s emergency declaration allows restaurants, bars and taverns to provide food and beverage service through take-out, drive through, hotel room service, and off premises delivery. (March 18)
  • Notably, convenience and grocery chain Wawa has pledged to remain open. (March 16)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Carney released guidelines for summer camps and summer school programs. (May 29)
  • Governor Carney and Secretary of Education Bunting announced three working groups to plan a safe reopening of Delaware school buildings. The groups will focus on health and wellness, academics and equity, and operations and services. (May 18)
  • Governor Carney announced that schools will remain closed to in-person learning through the end of the year. (April 24)

State Higher Education:

  • Several institutions, including Delaware State University (March 16) and the University of Delaware (March 11), have shifted to online learning.

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com