Governor Carney Issues Omnibus Executive Order on COVID-19 Restrictions 

Order combines all active State of Emergency modifications 

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed the 27th modification to his State of Emergency, combining all active COVID-19 restrictions into a single order. Governor Carney’s modification also formalizes the latest restrictions around bar service in Delaware beach communities and requires that businesses more strictly enforce face covering requirements among their employees. 

Governor Carney’s order will take effect at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, September 4. 

Read the full provisions of Governor Carney’s State of Emergency order. 

“For months, Delawareans have stepped up, made significant sacrifices and taken simple precautions to beat this COVID-19 virus,” said Governor Carney. “We have made real progress. Delawareans have saved lives by taking the science seriously. Fewer Delawareans are in the hospital today because we’re following those basic precautions. But we’re not out of this fight yet. Continue to wear a face covering in public places. Avoid large gatherings. Physically distance from others outside your household. That’s how we’ll get more Delaware children back in school and more Delawareans back to work. Stay vigilant.”

Governor Carney’s order requires businesses to more strictly enforce face covering requirements among their employees. They must have written documentation, such as a doctor’s note, supporting any accommodation that allows an employee to not wear a face covering. The order also includes additional guidance around the wearing of face coverings in restaurants and gyms. 

In restaurants, Delawareans and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when waitstaff visits a table, and whenever they are not eating or drinking. Customers must wear coverings if they leave their table and while entering or exiting the establishment. 

In gyms and other exercise facilities, Delawareans must wear face coverings when they are not engaged in vigorous physical activity. Vigorous physical activity – or high-intensity exercise – is defined as a physical activity done with a large amount of effort, resulting in a substantially higher heart rate and rapid breathing. Delawareans must wear face coverings while weight-lifting, which is not considered vigorous physical activity, and everyone is strongly encouraged to wear face coverings at all times in gyms. 

According to the updated order, bars in Delaware beach communities may reopen on Friday for food service with significant safety precautions. Reservations are required for bar service, and food must be ordered. Patrons must maintain six (6) feet social distance from non-household members.

Governor Carney’s State of Emergency declaration – including each of its modifications – carries the full force and effect of law. Delawareans and visitors also must follow local restrictions in place to limit community spread of COVID-19. 

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. 

Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov

Report a business for COVID-19 non-compliance using this form

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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Governor Carney, DPH Release New Fall Sports Guidance

Guidance categorizes sports by risks, lists requirements around masks, social distancing

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed the 26th modification to his State of Emergency Order, releasing updated guidance from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) on playing fall sports safely in Delaware.

The new guidance categorizes sports by risk – high risk, medium risk, and low risk – and requires sports organizers to follow guidance around masks, social distancing, and other preventive measures to keep players, families, and coaches safe.

Click here to read Governor Carney’s modification.

“We want Delaware’s children to be active, to get outside this fall. But coaches, sports organizers and parents need to make sure they’re following all necessary precautions to keep children and families safe from COVID-19,” said Governor Carney. “This virus is still active in our communities. Wear a mask. Physically distance from others. Don’t gather in large groups. We’re beating this virus, but we all need to stay vigilant.”

Anyone playing a high-risk sport, including football and wrestling, must wear a face mask at all times, or an organization or league must present a plan to DPH to modify the sport to limit contact, according to the guidance. The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) has final determination about whether school sports may resume in Delaware.

All youth and adult amateur sports facilities and organizations must review and follow the DPH guidance. Every athletic facility and sports organization is responsible for enforcing these requirements.

Fines or closure may be imposed on facilities and organizations that do not follow DPH guidance for playing fall sports safely. Failure to comply with plans submitted to, and approved by, DPH will result in rescission of plan approval and further enforcement.

“We value the important physical, social, and emotional role that recreational and league sports plays in both the lives of youth and adults,” said DPH Health Systems Protection Chief Jamie Mack. “Our focus is making sure that it can be done safely for not only players, but also coaches, officials, spectators, and others involved. We will continue to concentrate on face covering and social distancing requirements as critically important strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during practice and play.”

Click here to read Delaware’s fall sports guidance.

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.

Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

Report violations of COVID-19 restrictions by emailing HSPContact@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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Governor Carney Announces Delaware Schools May Open in Hybrid Scenario

Data on COVID-19 community spread in Delaware indicates mix of remote and in-person instruction 

WILMINGTON, Del. – Based on a review of COVID-19 data in Delaware, Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced on Tuesday that Delaware schools may open under a hybrid scenario next month, with a mix of in-person and remote instruction and significant safety precautions to limit transmission of COVID-19.

Delaware is currently experiencing minimal to moderate spread of COVID-19 under gating criteria established by DPH, which includes a review of weekly cases, percent positivity, and average daily hospitalizations.

Three school reopening working groups created the green/yellow/red framework to reopen schools safely in Delaware. Last month, the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) also released guidance to assist district and charter leaders in safely reopening schools, including guidance on social distancing in schools, mask wearing, and transportation concerns.

Review school reopening criteria and other COVID-19 data in Delaware.

Click here for list of FAQs about safe school reopening in Delaware.

“Safely reopening schools for Delaware children – especially our youngest learners and disadvantaged children who need in-person instruction the most – is the most important and difficult issue we’ll face as we continue to confront this COVID-19 crisis,” said Governor Carney. “Our public health team will continue to work closely with district and school leaders to get this right. Hybrid learning may look different across each district, charter or private school. But one thing is clear: the safety of all of Delaware’s students, educators and staff will be our top priority. We can’t get students back to school if we can’t do so safely. This is a science-based approach, and I want to thank everyone who participated in our working groups and put so much thought into this effort.”

Working with district and school leaders, the State of Delaware will provide free COVID-19 testing for educators and staff before the school year begins and in regular intervals following school reopening, using an at-home testing option. Community testing sites geared toward students will be set up at schools throughout the state in the weeks before schools open.

“We are committed to ensuring student, educator and staff safety as we navigate reopening schools,” said Dr. Rick Hong, Medical Director at the Delaware Division of Public Health. “We will continue to monitor the data closely to identify trends and provide schools with the best guidance possible based on that data.”

“Since school buildings closed in March, we have been working to return our children and educators to their classrooms as soon as we are able to safely and effectively do so,” said Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “We will continue to support districts and charters as they design and implement their local plans under the hybrid model.”

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.

Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

Report violations of COVID-19 restrictions by emailing HSPContact@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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State of Delaware Announces Guidance for Reopening of Schools for 2020-21 Academic Year

Guidance to help Districts and Charters plan for three different learning scenarios based on COVID-19 spread

WILMINGTON, Del. – Secretary of Education Susan Bunting today released the state’s guidance for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 academic year. Districts and charter schools will use this guidance to formulate plans for the upcoming school year.

In August, Governor John Carney, in consultation with the Delaware Division of Public Health, will announce his decision on whether or not schools will start the year in person. Districts and charters will then implement their plans based on the scenario that aligns with current health conditions, understanding there may be some regional variability.

Click here to read the full guidance.

“Since the day we closed school buildings, our goal has been to return students and educators to their classrooms as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Governor Carney. “When we do return to our school buildings, we know our daily routines will look different than they did in March. Important safety measures, such as wearing face coverings and socially distancing, will help protect our children and educators and help us reduce the spread of COVID-19 so we can stay in our classrooms, where our students learn best.”

Developed in collaboration with the three school reopening workgroups and DPH, today’s document outlines what schools need to do prior to re-opening and after instruction resumes under three scenarios: if minimal community spread exists in Delaware (and school buildings re-open), if minimal-to-moderate community spread exists in Delaware (situation dependent) and if significant community spread exists in Delaware (and school buildings remain closed).

While today’s guidance applies to districts and charter schools, private schools are encouraged to follow it as well. Minimum requirements for social distancing, mask-wearing, hand-washing and other basic precautions will apply to all schools.

The State of Delaware will also work with districts and schools to make testing available and convenient for all educators and staff before the school year begins.

“This guidance document is meant to be used as support for district and charter leaders as they continue planning for the opening of the 2020-2021 school year,” said Secretary Bunting. “Essential safety protocols must be implemented by all Delaware schools, preK-12.  Additionally, actionable planning steps have been included for districts and charter schools to consider as they develop their own site-based plans.”

“It is so important to get children back into a physical school setting, but we are obligated to do it in a way that keeps students and staff safe, by using key prevention strategies for mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with the Department of Education and school reopening workgroups to support them in determining how best to implement the use of face coverings for staff and students, implement social distancing in classrooms, hallways and lunch periods, and ensure frequent opportunities for good hand hygiene.”

Dr. Rattay said DPH has also worked with schools to establish procedures for managing COVID-19 positive cases that occur among students or staff in the school setting, and in reviewing strategies that can be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community.

“Schools provide more than just academics to children and adolescents. In addition, children learn social and emotional skills, get exercise and healthy meals, and access to mental health support, the internet, and other vital services. We want to support schools in re-engaging children in a safe and healthy way,” said Dr. Rattay.

In May, three school reopening working groups began meeting to advise the department, Delaware school districts and charter schools on ways to safely and effectively reopen Delaware school buildings. The three groups each had a specific focus: health and wellness, academics and equity, and operations and services. With diverse representation on each 17-member group, the groups met over five weeks.

The working groups presented their recommendations, and the following guidance was developed taking into consideration the recommendations, public comments, a state survey of more than 20,000 families, students, educators, and school/district leaders, department research, and health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics and Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

“I am grateful to the committee members for their time and dedication. I also appreciate the widespread interest and feedback from the public. The livestream meetings have been viewed more than 7,000 times, and we have received hundreds of comments from Delawareans,” said Dr. Bunting.

Caesar Rodney School District Superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald, the longest-serving superintendent in the state, is the president of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association.

“I want to thank Secretary Bunting and the members of the three working groups for their time and expertise,” said Fitzgerald. “These have been challenging times for all of us. So as school districts begin the monumental task of preparing for the re-opening of schools under the three different scenarios, the guidance provided in this document will be essential in helping to develop plans that will not only promote the health and safety of our students and staff but also meet the educational needs of our students.”

“The Delaware State Education Association has followed three guiding principles as we moved into remote learning and now contemplate the reopening of our schools – protecting the health and safety of our students, educators, and the communities they serve; keeping students learning; and minimizing the financial impact on our state, districts, and educators,” said Delaware State Education Association President Stephanie Ingram. “We thank the Governor and Secretary of Education for making sure that DSEA had representatives on each of the three reopening work groups.  By doing so, they ensured that our members’ voices would be heard during the process.”

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.

Health or medically-related COVID-19 questions can also be submitted by email to DPHCall@delaware.gov.

Report a business for COVID-19 non-compliance using this form.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response to COVID-19, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

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Governor Carney Releases Guidance on Summer Camp, Summer School Programs

Camps must develop a written plan for enforcing social distancing and other basic health precautions

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday issued guidance for summer camps and summer school as Delaware continues a rolling reopening of the economy. Recreational camps must develop a written plan for enforcing social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and other basic public health precautions.

Those plans should be available upon request by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

Read the State of Delaware’s guidance on summer camps and summer school programs.

Summer camps and summer school programs will be permitted to open in accordance with Delaware’s guidance effective Phase 2 of the economic reopening.

“As we continue to gradually reopen our economy, and get Delawareans back to work, it’s important that everyone remember that this virus has not gone away,” said Governor Carney. “It’s up to all Delawareans and visitors to take basic health precautions to limit community spread of COVID-19. Act with a sense of community and protect others. Wear a face covering in public settings. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Maintain social distance – at least six feet – from anyone outside your household. Don’t let up.”

DPH strongly encourages camps and summer school programs to limit groups to 15 children, plus staff. Guidance on masks for youth is forthcoming.  Children 2-years-old and younger SHOULD NOT wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation.

If feasible, DPH also recommends conducting daily health checks – such as temperature screening or symptom checking of staff and students. Health checks should be conducted safely in accordance with privacy laws. Camps and summer school programs should consider special precautions to protect vulnerable staff members and children who are at higher risk for severe illness.

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, should call Delaware 2-1-1, or email delaware211@uwde.org. 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. Medical-related questions related to testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov

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

For details about Delaware’s economic reopening, visit de.gov/economy.

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