COVID-19 Updates – Week of March 22, 2020

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Governor John Carney on Sunday, March 22 issued the fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closing all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19. A  full list of essential and non-essential businesses, as defined by Sunday’s order can be found here. 

The orders go into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. They will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.

“This was not an easy decision, but it’s the right decision to protect the safety of Delawareans and Delaware families,” said Governor Carney. “If you have any questions about whether you should be staying home or going out, stay home. Go to work, and go straight back home. If you don’t need food or other essential items, stay home.

Leaving your home is allowed under Governor Carney’s order for essential activities. Delawareans may leave their homes to get groceries, pick up a prescription, see a doctor, and engage in other activities essential to their health, and the health and wellbeing of their family members, including pets. Delawareans may also engage in outdoor activity, but must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Additional details are available in the text of Governor Carney’s order.

“We’re acting with urgency to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm our hospital system,” said Governor Carney. “Delawareans cannot go out in public unnecessarily. Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces frequently. Essential businesses that remain open must provide easy access to hand washing stations or sanitizer, enforce social distancing, and provide flexible sick leave policies for their employees. That will reduce our risk and help keep all Delawareans healthy. We’ll get through this, but we all need to pitch in and take this threat seriously.”

Under the Governor’s modified State of Emergency Delaware restaurants, taverns and bars are still permitted to be open for take-out and delivery services. The Governor announced on Monday, March 16 the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) to provide financial relief for restaurants, bars, and other hospitality industry businesses. The no-interest loans are capped at $10,000 per business per month. The money can cover rent, utilities and other unavoidable bills but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with payments deferred for nine months. The Division of Small Business will administer the program using existing state funds and is aiming to have an application available later this week. Businesses can find out if they are eligible by visiting business.del

and go meals will include lunch for that day and breakfast for the next day.

“The presence of community spread shows that we all must take the danger associated with this virus seriously,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. “For every person infected with COVID-19, they typically infect two to three additional people. That’s why the steps that Governor Carney has taken to close schools, restaurants and bars, recreational facilities and beaches is so important. We need to take these steps to prevent widespread outbreaks and slow the spread of the virus.”

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

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