DNREC opens virtual operations for water-related services

Permit applications and licenses expedited by online transactions

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues pivoting to virtual operations both during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future for greater efficiencies and ease of use for DNREC customers and constituents. The latest advance for DNREC’s ePermitting comes from the Division of Water and covers a spectrum of permit applications and license payments.

The new process is part of the continuing effort to keep DNREC staff and customers safe during the pandemic while providing consistent business practices, and in this case also enhancing the Department’s water-related transactions. Until now almost all permit applications and license forms from the Division of Water required hardcopy submissions, with payment by check or cash.

Online submission and payment can now be made via the ePermitting system for the following services:

Professional License Renewals:

  • Well driller
  • Liquid waste hauler
  • Wastewater operator

Water Supply

  • Water allocation permits
  • Well permits (use existing application)

Wastewater

  • Septic permits
  • Site evaluation
  • Septic inspections
  • Septic system repair/Component replacement
  • Authorization to use existing system
  • Holding tanks (New/replacement/repair for private systems)
  • Septic site waiver request

Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands

  • Letters of authorization and Statewide Activity Approvals (SAA)
  • New permits or leases
  • Supplemental approval for lease/permit
  • Jurisdictional determination requests
  • Water quality certification
  • Wetlands permits

“The COVID-19 pandemic expedited our efforts and to roll out ePermitting developments such as well drilling licenses and other water permitting and licensing, which state staff from DNREC and the Department of Technology and Information implemented in a matter of weeks,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Contractors and constituents doing business with our Division of Water have asked for this option since online transactions became a part of State of Delaware business, and we are happy to provide it, especially at this time.”

Many DNREC services are available online, including hunting and fishing permits, sales of park passes and wildlife are conservation access passes (though state park and wildlife area fees and passes are currently waived until further notice), hunter education classes and plenty of virtual content. Public hearings and public meetings are also occurring virtually as well.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Fees, passes required at state parks, wildlife areas starting Friday, May 8

Reduced cost state park pass available for those on state assistance, including unemployment

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that it will reinstate entry fees and park pass requirements at all Delaware State Parks and require a Conservation Access Pass to enter state wildlife areas starting Friday, May 8.

DNREC also announced that those receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits can receive an annual park pass for $10, and those passes can be purchased online for those on unemployment as well as other state or federal assistance. The Assistance Pass Program was already available to those on General Assistance, Medicaid, Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) or Purchase of Care, but was only available with an in-person application.

On March 16, DNREC suspended entry fees, park passes and access passes until April 30 to allow Delawareans to be active outdoors and to provide space for activity, and the free period was then continued.

For the safety of the public and for employees, a number of limitations and requirements will remain in place in parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps, including:

  • Entrance booths at parks will not be staffed, so visitors without a park annual pass will pay the daily fee via automated credit card machines or the self-registration envelopes at park entrances.
  • Bathrooms will remain closed or unavailable at parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps.
  • Beaches remain closed except for exercising, dog-walking and surf fishing under very limited conditions, per the Governor’s state of emergency orders.
  • Playgrounds, campgrounds and park offices continue to be closed and tours and other activities in parks will not yet resume.
  • Visitors to parks, wildlife areas, fishing areas and boat ramps must have masks with them, and must wear them when social distancing from others cannot be maintained.
  • The Governor’s requirement that out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days upon entering Delaware before visiting parks, wildlife areas or other public spaces remains in effect.

“As the state’s businesses take small steps toward reopening on Friday, we will start our delayed fee season for parks as well, since 65 percent of the funding that runs our state parks system comes from visitor fees. And we are extending our discounted Assistance Program annual pass to those on unemployment for the first time ever,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said. “Like businesses, we still need some limits out of concern for health and safety, so we will not yet back to full operations but hope to take more steps soon.”

Delaware State Parks

State park entrance fees for vehicles registered in Delaware are $4 at inland parks and $5 at ocean parks. Fees for out-of-state vehicles are $8 at inland parks and $10 at ocean parks. Entrance fees will remain in effect through Nov. 30, which is the normal fee season end date.

Annual passes and surf fishing permits may currently only be purchased online, as all state park offices remain closed to the public, with annual passes for Delaware vehicles at $35 and for out-of-state vehicles at $70, with discounts for seniors, military and others. Those who purchase an annual pass before June 1 may place their receipt of purchase in the window of their vehicle to use state parks while waiting for the pass to arrive via mail. For information on pass and permit fees, go to www.destateparks.com/Know/PassesTagsFees, which includes a link to apply for the reduced cost Annual Pass Assistance Program for those on state and federal assistance, including unemployment.

Delaware Fish and Wildlife areas

A Delaware Conservation Access Pass is required for any registered motor vehicle that’s used to access most of state wildlife areas. Conservation Access Passes are available as annual passes, which may be used from July 1 through June 30, or as three-day passes, which may be used for three consecutive days. The conservation pass provides needed funding to help the Division of Fish and Wildlife maintain and improve public access, facilities, and wildlife habitat on state wildlife areas. Conservation Access Passes may be purchased and more information is available online at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/conservation-access-pass/.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:
Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov
Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov
Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov


DNREC state parks, wildlife area visitors must bring masks starting Friday

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced that starting Friday those aged 13 or older are now required to bring a face mask with them to enter state parks, wildlife areas and reserves, and should wear them when they cannot maintain social distancing from other visitors. Those who do not bring face masks when visiting these areas may be required to leave by officers or staff.

This decision is in accordance with Governor John Carney’s thirteenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, which requires Delawareans to wear face coverings in public settings. Visitors to DNREC parks and areas must wear a face covering where social distancing is difficult, such as on boat ramps, narrow trails, and when they encounter anyone not in their household including other visitors and staff. Masks are required at all times at the Ommelanden shooting range.

“In order to keep our outdoor public spaces for all members of the public to enjoy, visitors to state parks, wildlife areas and reserves must heed social distancing and mask requirements,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “We need our visitors to do their part to help keep these areas safe for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Visitors are also asked to be mindful of the length and frequency of their visits, and to avoid peak times. The safest way to enjoy state parks is sparingly, as needed, and during off-peak times: before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. daily.

While most state parks, wildlife areas and reserves continue to stay open for Delawareans during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” emergency order from Governor John Carney, DNREC has a few guidelines for visitors to stay safe:

  • Bring a mask and wear it when needed. Parks and wildlife areas are becoming increasingly crowded as the weather warms so it is now required to have a mask to put on when you are near others not from your home.
  • Plan ahead. Many amenities are closed, including all public restrooms.
  • Be prepared. Bring your own soap, water and hand sanitizer with you.
  • Stay close to home. This period is not the time to travel for outdoor adventure. Out-of-state visitors must observe a 14-day quarantine before entering a park, wildlife area or reserve.
  • Keep your group small. Make sure to enjoy the outdoors with your immediate household members only. You should not attend or host any gatherings like barbeques or birthday parties.
  • Avoid close contact activities. Instead, choose outdoor recreation like fishing, hiking or bike riding.
  • Practice social distancing. Keep six feet between you and others. Warn others of your presence and give them enough space to pass on boat ramps, paths and trails. Leave at least one parking space between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you. Areas may be closed if it is determined based on observation of parking lots or groupings of people that lack of responsible social distancing has become an issue.
  • Leave no trace. Even during normal operations, parks are carry-in/carry-out with regards to trash. Trash you take into the park or area, including disposable gloves and masks, you must take with you. Our staff resources are limited, and we need your help collecting trash.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t visit our parks, wildlife areas or reserves if you or any member of your household is not feeling well.

Any failure to comply with the provisions contained in a Declaration of a State of Emergency or any modification to a Declaration of the State of Emergency can constitute a criminal offense.

Anyone concerned about an individual or group in any state park or wildlife area may contact DNREC’s Natural Resources Police via Tip411, DNREC’s smartphone app, or by calling the 24-hour DNREC Dispatch Center at 302-739-4580. Tip411 allows the public to easily report concerns. The app is available for free download by searching DENRP via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Reduced Driving Leads to Rebates, Reimbursements, Reduced Insurance Rates

This page updated May 7, 2020.

The Delaware Department of Insurance today released a list of consumer-friendly automobile insurer actions that are being implemented due to reduced vehicle use throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As filed with the department, these actions represent millions of dollars being returned to or saved by policyholders throughout the state.

The following list may not be inclusive and may be updated online. The commitments below apply to only personal automobile insurance policies. Customer eligibility requirements may exist. Residents should direct questions about specific commitments to the insurer.

  • AIPSO: Providing rate relief through a 15% credit on April and May premiums or a 15% refund for customers already paid in full.
  • Allstate: Issuing refunds equal to 15% of March and April auto premiums. A total of 19,155 Delaware Allstate customers will be refunded well over $1 million.
  • American Family: Distributing a one-time check payment of $50.00 per covered vehicle.
  • American National: Providing premium relief equal to a 15% credit of April and May premium.
  • Amica Mutual: Crediting 20% of the policyholder’s monthly auto premium.
  • Bakers Standard: Applying a one-time 6% credit to the premium of auto policies renewing between October 1, 2020 and October 1, 2021.
  • Chubb: Renewing customers will receive a discount equal to 35% of their April and May costs, an estimated $110 per vehicle. A one-time 6% credit will be applied to the premium for auto policies renewing between August 11, 2020 and August 11, 2021.
  • Cincinnati Insurance: Refunding policyholders 15% of their April and May premium.
  • Electric Insurance: Distributing a payback equal to 15% of three months of the policyholder’s premium, an estimated $72 per policy.
  • Encompass: Issuing refunds of 15% of March and April auto premiums. Approximately 2,835 Delaware Encompass customers will be refunded about $168,882.
  • Esurance: Issuing refunds equal to 15% of March and April auto premiums.
  • Farm Family: Providing premium relief equal to a 15% credit of April and May premium.
  • Farmers: Discounting April premiums by 25% discount or providing 25% refunds to customers already paid in full.
  • GEICO: The GEICO Giveback Credit will discount renewed or newly purchased policies between April 8 and October 7, 2020 by 15%. Customers can expect to save an average of $150 on their next auto policy and $30 per motorcycle policy.
  • Goodville Mutual: Issuing a Safe@home premium credit of 15% on two months of new or renewal premium. Members can choose to waive their credit and request that it be donated to local food banks, first responders, or international relief. Goodville Mutual will match donated funds up to $100,000.
  • Hartford: The COVID-19 Personal Auto Payback Plan will credit customers 15% of April and May auto premiums.
  • Horace Mann: The Teacher Appreciation Relief Program will credit customers 15% of two months of premiums.
  • Integon Indemnity: Issuing a 15% credit on April premiums.
  • Liberty Mutual: Providing a 15% refund on two months of annual premiums.
  • Mercury: Refunding 15% of monthly premiums paid in April and May.
  • MetLife: Crediting 15% of monthly premiums paid in April and May.
  • Nationwide: Applying a one-time payment of $50.00 to each policy.
  • Next Insurance: Discounting April premiums by 25%.
  • NGM Insurance: Distributing a Relief Payment of $50.00 per each insured vehicle. In Delaware, approximately 899 private passenger vehicles insured will generate a total refund of $44,950.
  • Progressive: Crediting back 20% of April and May premiums.
  • State Farm Fire and Casualty Company: Distributing a credit equal to 27.5% of a policyholder’s premium from March 20 to May 31, 2020.
  • State Farm Mutual: The Good Neighbor Relief Program will distribute a dividend of approximately 27.5% of premium from March 20 to May 31, 2020.
  • Travelers: The Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program will issue a credit of 15% to April and May premiums.
  • USAA: Crediting approximately 20% on three months of premiums.
  • 21st Century Insurance: Discounting April premiums by 25% discount, or providing 25% refunds to customers paid in full.

Individuals who are experiencing financial hardship due to income changes related to COVID-19 and are unable to pay their premium should contact their insurance company to discuss assistance. Delaware’s insurance carriers are required to freeze cancellations and nonrenewal of policies that might have otherwise occurred due to non-payment of premiums through the duration of the Delaware state of emergency for individuals who have been laid off or fired due to the state of emergency.

Residents may be using personal vehicles to augment income through commercial use, such as delivering food or other goods. At the request of Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, many auto insurers are temporarily allowing this activity. Residents are encouraged to review their insurance company’s COVID-19 policies prior to beginning to provide delivery services.

Have questions about insurance and COVID-19? Visit the Delaware Department of Insurance FAQ page.

If you are an insurer who would like to provide or modify information included in this list, or on our FAQ page, please email Christina.Haas@Delaware.Gov.

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COVID-19 Update April 7, 2020: Public Health Updates Positive Cases, Recoveries; Announces Additional Death

SMYRNA – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing one additional fatality related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and is providing an update on the number of positive cases and recovered individuals.

In total, 16 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. The most recent death involves a 67-year-old male from Sussex County who had underlying health conditions and was hospitalized. Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 66 to 94 years old.

As hospitals continue to see an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, the Division of Public Health will now report the total number of individuals hospitalized and those considered to be in critical condition in Delaware hospitals, including both Delaware and non-Delaware residents. The remaining categories of case statistics reported by DPH represent Delaware residents only.

The latest Delaware COVID-19 case statistics, cumulatively since March 11, include:
• 928 total laboratory-confirmed cases
• New Castle County cases: 571
• Kent County cases: 147
• Sussex County cases: 210
• Males: 415; Females: 497; Unknown: 16
• Age range: 1 to 97
• Currently hospitalized: 147; Critically ill: 52  (This data represents individuals currently hospitalized in a Delaware hospital, and is not cumulative.)
• Delawareans recovered: 144
• 7,628 negative cases*
*Data on negative cases are preliminary, based on negative results reported to DPH by state and commercial laboratories performing analysis.

DPH epidemiologists are transitioning to a new data reporting system. During the transition period, not all fields (sex) have complete information.

To protect personal health information, DPH will not disclose additional information about the individuals who passed away, nor will DPH confirm specific information about any individual case, even if other persons or entities disclose it independently.

Delaware is considering patients fully recovered seven days after the resolution of their symptoms. Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to self-isolate at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing for the remaining four days before returning to their normal daily routine.

Widespread community transmission is occurring throughout the state, which means COVID-19 is actively circulating in the community. If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, or digestive symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite. If you are sick and need essential supplies, ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy to get what you need.

If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, make sure to distance yourself from others, particularly vulnerable populations. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions – including serious heart conditions, chronic lung conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity and those who are immunocompromised, including through cancer treatment – might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Answers to frequently asked questions related to testing for COVID-19 in Delaware are available online at de.gov/coronavirus.

Statewide testing at standing health facility testing sites require a physician’s order or prescription to be tested (*Bayhealth patients will be pre-screened via phone without needing to see a provider first). These are not walk-in testing sites. Those without a primary care provider can call the DPH Call Center Line at 1-866-408-1899. Individuals awaiting test results, should wait to hear back from their medical provider. The DPH Call Center does not have test results.

DPH began a new collaboration this week with the United Way of Delaware to triage incoming calls related to COVID-19. Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1; or 7-1-1 for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or text your 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.

In addition, the Division of Public Health asks any Delaware health care, long-term care, residential, or other high-risk facility with questions or concerns to email: DPH_PAC@delaware.gov or call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 and press ext. 2.

Health-related questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

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