Governor Carney Formally Extends Public Health Emergency

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday formally extended the Public Health Emergency order another 30 days to allow the State of Delaware and medical providers to continue COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs, and issued the following statement: 

“We’ve made a lot of progress in getting folks vaccinated, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Governor Carney. “With colder weather and more indoor gatherings, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Children ages five and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and we need to get more of our younger Delawareans vaccinated. If you’re eligible for your booster, don’t wait to make your appointment. Visit de.gov/getmyvaccine to find a free vaccine provider in your community.”

Under Delaware law, Public Health Emergency declarations must be renewed every 30 days. 

Click here for Governor Carney’s Public Health Emergency extension. 

Visit de.gov/getmyvaccine to learn where to get your COVID-19 vaccine. 

Visit de.gov/gettested to learn more about COVID-19 testing. 

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Delaware Announces Funding to Improve Access to Delaware Grown Food

$2M in seed funding to stabilize and strengthen family farms and local food supply chain operations

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, and the Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy on Thursday announced a $2 million investment in seed funding to establish the First State Integrated Food System Program. This new program, which will be developed by the Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy, will help stabilize and strengthen Delaware’s small and mid-sized farmers and local food supply chain operations, among the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic.

The funding for this program is provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was signed into law by President Joe Biden and championed by members of Delaware’s congressional delegation – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.

The First State Integrated Food System will provide a coordinated approach to improving local access to affordable and nutritious, Delaware-produced foods while supporting Delaware farmers,” said Governor Carney. “We know the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted small-scale food businesses and Delaware families’ access to food. That’s why the Council on Farm and Food Policy will work with partners to develop and administer a diverse portfolio of grants and loans to improve the availability and accessibility of local produce, animal protein, value-added products, and other foods, promoting overall economic growth here in Delaware.”

“The rise of food insecurity in Delaware is just one example of how the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing issues in our communities,” said Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of U.S. Senators Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “This new program will be made possible through federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, which we voted to pass in March of this year, and will bring resources and support to Delaware’s farmers, suppliers, and distributors. We commend Governor Carney’s decision to prioritize the availability and accessibility of Delaware grown food through the creation of this innovative program. We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to fight for assistance for Delaware’s farms and supply chain operations.”

The First State Integrated Food System Program focuses on three main channels in the food supply chain, including:

  • Production: small and mid-size farmers;
  • Processing and distribution: commercial kitchens, processing facilities, storage/hub facilities, incubators;
  • Retail/consumer outlets: convenience stores, groceries/markets, restaurants, farmers’ markets, food trucks, food kiosks, and mobile markets.

“This program prioritizes our food system and provides an opportunity for the State to make a strategic investment in how families access food in their communities and at the same time improve the resilience of the local food supply chain,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “Neighboring states, like Maryland and New Jersey, have reaped the benefits of food financing programs. The First State Integrated Food System Program will make similar opportunities available to bolster Delaware’s capacity. These efforts will go a long way in improving local access to local food.”

The Council provides a lens into various aspects of Delaware’s food system, supply chain, and food security. The Council strives to facilitate and support a food system where:

  • Local farmers can access viable markets;
  • All Delawareans can access resources needed to circumvent challenges associated with securing nutritious and local food options; and
  • Where vulnerabilities within our communities can be diminished.

“The Council’s past efforts have laid the groundwork to provide coordination and strategy around long-term resiliency planning,” said Nikko BradyDelaware Council on Farm and Food Policy Executive Committee member. “The development of the First State Integrated Food System Program is one more way for us to help connect Delaware farmers to processors and retail outlets to get food on to the tables of Delawareans.”

Each member of the Council draws on daily experiences as part of their respective organizations and contributes knowledge and expertise to conversations about food access, food policy, and nutrition in Delaware. The Council’s primary function is to offer knowledge, information, and strategy around food that helps coordinate and improve the capacities of state agencies, public officials, community members, and organizations.

All ARPA funds related to this program will be dispersed by December 2024. For more information regarding the Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy or the First State Integrated Food System Program, contact Nikko Brady at the Delaware Department of Agriculture, nikko.brady@delaware.gov.

Visit de.gov/rescueplan to learn more about how the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) is helping in Delaware.

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Governor Carney Announces Over $7 Million in Tourism Industry Investments

Division of Small Business Launches Request for Proposals (RFP) for Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Industries

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Small Business on Monday announced that the State of Delaware will be investing over $7 million as part of the recovery effort in travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries. 

The funds are part of Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $750 million American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, which provides $510 million in State Tourism grants and $240 million in Competitive Tourism grants that will be awarded to advance the economic recovery and resiliency of communities where the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries were hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Commerce awarded $510 million State Tourism grants. Delaware received over $7 million of those funds. 

Requests for proposals (RFPs) are now live on bids.delaware.gov for the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries. Funds being awarded through 9–12 subawards include: 

  • $1,000,000 (approximately $333,333 per county) devoted to marketing efforts to provide recovery and resiliency to the areas that drive Delaware’s tourism industry
  • $1,500,000 (approximately $500,000 per county) devoted to Parks & Recreation to increase accessibility at parks and create more opportunities for WiFi
  • $5,250,000 to be divided among three to five projects for a “Commercial Corridor Challenge” for organization to offer creative solutions to help the tourism industry thrive now and to withstand future disasters

“These funds will provide necessary support to the tourism industry that was hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware’s $3.5 billion tourism industry employs over 44,000 Delawareans and we need to band together to come up with solutions that help the industry recover and prepare it for future challenges. We’re grateful to our partners in the federal government, Secretary Raimondo and others, who have given us this opportunity.” 

“Rebuilding the travel and tourism industry is a key component of the Biden Administration’s plan to build back better and restore the competitiveness of the United States on the global stage,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The State Tourism grants give states and territories the flexible opportunity to boost their local tourism industry and ensure that jobs are restored and tourists return safely.”

Interested tourism entities can visit bids.delaware.gov to review the RFP and apply. 

The deadline for proposals is December 3, 2021 and awardees will be notified late December of this year. Proposed projects will be ineligible to apply if they are included in any other American Rescue Plan funding request. Construction projects require compliance with NEPA and Davis Bacon as well as local environmental regulations. All projects will require EDA pre-approval. No projects will be considered on a retroactive basis. 

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Governor Carney Announces Extension of Emergency Mask Requirement in Schools

Emergency mask regulation now set to expire February 8

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, the Delaware Department of Education (DOE), and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) on Wednesday announced that the State of Delaware will extend the emergency masking requirement in public and private K-12 schools until February 8. ​

The emergency masking regulation currently in effect is set to expire on December 10, with an option to extend the order another 60 days. The extension will be formalized later this month. Separately, DOE and DHSS regulations previously proposed in the Register of Regulations will be amended and reposted without ​the masking requirements.

“Delaware children from kindergarten through high school are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, which will go a long way in protecting the health of students, educators, and school communities statewide,” said Governor Carney. “It’s our hope that, by February, we will be able to lift the state mask requirement. Our focus over the coming weeks and months will be on increasing Delaware’s vaccination rates. That’s how we’ll finally move past this pandemic. These vaccines are free, safe, and extremely protective against the COVID-19 virus. Getting the shot will keep Delaware’s children protected, and keep them in school. I’d encourage all eligible Delawareans to get their shot.”

More than 82 percent of all Delaware adults have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 60 percent of all Delawareans are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and now available to everyone ages 5 and older in Delaware. That’s really exciting,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “We know from the data that this vaccine does a great job protecting children from the COVID-19 virus and serious illness. Getting the COVID vaccine will also keep Delaware children in school, and prevent quarantines in the event of an exposure to the virus. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the vaccine and visit de.gov/getmyvaccine for more information.”

Click here for more information about vaccines for Delaware children ages 5-11.

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Governor Carney Launches Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative (TEDI)

Public invited to enter trees they plant in new TEDI tracker

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday launched a new program that aims to plant a tree for every Delawarean as part of the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This initiative was originally announced in Governor Carney’s 2020 State of the State Address and discussed in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan as a strategy to support local communities’ enhancement of urban greenspaces.

Click here for photos from the event.

“Last week, when I announced Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, I said that as the country’s lowest-lying state, climate change is a very real threat to Delaware’s future,” said Governor Carney. “Reducing emissions is essential to our efforts to deal with climate change, and the Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative – TEDI – helps us move forward on accomplishing one of the strategies outlined in the Climate Action Plan.”

“We all have a stake in improving our environmental health to ensure a stronger and healthier Delaware,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “By involving the community and encouraging Delawareans across the state to plant trees, we are taking steps to mitigate carbon emissions and their impact on our state, our children and future generations.”

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) Secretary Michael T. Scuse joined Governor Carney, Lt. Governor Hall-Long, state and county officials, and stakeholders at a tree planting at Lieutenant Szczerba Memorial Park in New Castle to help launch the program. The two state agencies are partnering on the initiative.

DNREC and the Delaware Department of Agriculture partnered to develop a new website where residents can access information on selecting, planting, and caring for their trees. In addition, residents, non-profit organizations, and municipalities can visit de.gov/tedi to enter information and photos of their tree plantings to help count the trees planted throughout the state.

Healthy and resilient forests are a vital part of the efforts to combat the negative impacts of climate change. As part of a comprehensive approach in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan that includes energy efficiency, clean transportation and transitioning to clean energy sources. Planting and nurturing trees is a nature-based solution to reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“Along with our programs that help Delawareans reduce their energy use, TEDI provides an opportunity for everyone to contribute to our statewide effort to improve air and water quality, preserve soil, and support wildlife – all while reducing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

Urban trees and forests help decrease energy use and emissions by providing shade, cooling temperatures and changing wind speeds. Studies have shown trees can reduce temperatures by 9 degrees and energy and heating costs by $7.8 billion a year in the United States.

Encompassing 1.25 million acres, Delaware has nearly 360,000 forested acres. With 78 percent of the state’s forests privately owned, the Delaware Forest Service provides technical assistance, funding and education to serve as a foundation for tree planting, conservation, reforestation, forest management and wildlife protection throughout Delaware.

“We are proud to have the Delaware Forest Service as part of the Department of Agriculture. With fewer than 25 staff, the Forest Service continually works with communities and private landowners all over Delaware to harness the power of trees to transform communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative is an important investment in our state’s forestland that will help improve our economy and public health. Every $1 million invested in tree planting and reforestation efforts creates 40 forest-related jobs. And from a health perspective, research has shown that trees absorb 17.4 million tons of air pollutants a year, helping to prevent 670,000 cases of asthma and other acute respiratory symptoms annually.”

DDA’s Urban and Community Forestry Program works to increase tree canopy in communities statewide. The Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program has provided more than $1.86 million in matching tree grants for more than 588 projects in the First State – with more than 16,000 trees planted. Municipalities, communities and organizations can assess their current level of tree cover as a starting point to explore opportunities to plant new trees using the Delaware Forest Service’s online tree canopy tool at de.gov/treecanopy

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