Gov. Allows Business Operations to Expand

Governor John Carney on Tuesday 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. The additional interim steps announced on Tuesday will give retailers and restaurants additional new ways to safely expand their operations by appointment and outdoors. 

“This is another step forward in the rolling reopening of Delaware’s economy,” said Governor Carney. “It’s our hope that these additional steps will safely bring some relief to Delaware businesses and workers who have made real financial sacrifices during this COVID-19 crisis. But as we reopen, Delawareans should stay vigilant. Keep your distance from others. Wear a face covering in public settings. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. That’s how we’ll limit community spread of COVID-19 and get Delaware’s economy back going again.”

Retail establishments covered by Tuesday’s announcement – including but not limited to clothing and shoe stores, used merchandise retailers and florists – may accept two appointments per half hour and must adhere to strict social distancing and cleaning guidance from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Under Tuesday’s order, all Delaware food and drink establishments may apply to their local municipal or county jurisdiction to expand their outdoor seating capacity. Plans for adding outdoor capacity must consider local traffic patterns and noise ordinances. Boundaries must be clearly defined to prevent beverages from being carried offsite. Applicants that hold a liquor license must also have their plans reviewed by the Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control prior to receiving approval.

For additional details about Delaware’s economic reopening, visit de.gov/economy. Application details will be available on the site starting Friday.

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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