Delaware Governor issues “Stay at home” order and all non-essential businesses to close

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“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.”

Photo: Governor John Carney

Wilmington (DE): Following a surge in positive cases in Delaware this week, Governor Carney issued his fourth and fifth modifications to the state of emergency declaration Sunday afternoon at a press conference.

In the declarations, all Delawareans must stay at home whenever possible and all non essential businesses must close to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

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.

Click here for a full list of essential and non-essential businesses, as defined by Sunday’s order.

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.

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“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.

“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.”

Delaware employers with questions about how they may be impacted can email covid19faq@delaware.gov, or call 302-577-8477 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Emails are encouraged due to potentially high call volume.

Early next week, Governor Carney and Delaware public schools will announce next steps on school closures.

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.

Sunday’s order requires essential Delaware businesses to implement flexible and non-punitive sick leave policies for their employees, in accordance with guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

Employers must follow social distancing policies, protect high-risk workers, provide hand-washing or sanitizer stations, and follow all health guidelines for internal cleaning. Visitors are not allowed at essential Delaware businesses under Sunday’s order, unless they are providing an essential service.

Government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for Delawareans experiencing homelessness, in accordance with CDC guidance. Homeless individuals are otherwise not subject to the shelter in place order.

Delawareans whose homes are unsafe – such as victims of domestic violence – are urged to and seek a safe, alternative residence.

Those at high risk of infection and illness from COVID-19 and Delawareans who are sick are urged to stay in their home except as necessary to seek medical care.

State of Delaware offices will remain open but state employees should telecommute wherever possible, in accordance with guidelines from the Delaware Department of Human Resources.

As of March 22, there have been 56 total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Delaware since March 11. Of the Delawareans diagnosed with COVID-19, 39 are from New Castle County, 5 are from Kent County, and 12 are from Sussex County.

Governor John Carney on Saturday issued his third modification to his emergency declaration. The new orders closed Delaware beaches to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), after seeing a disturbing number of people not adhering to his social distancing recommendations.

“We need everyone to take this situation seriously. We saw too many people on the beaches yesterday and we weren’t seeing the kind of social distancing that we need in order to slow the spread of coronavirus,” said Governor Carney. “This was a difficult decision, but we need folks to follow the rules to keep all Delawareans safe. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces frequently. Stay home, especially if you feel sick and even if you have mild symptoms. We will get through this together.”

Delaware is not the first state to issue a stay at home order. Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and several other states including California all have enacted harsher restrictions to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

There are more than 32,000 positive cases in the United States, and at least 400 who have died as a result of being infected with the Coronavirus since January 15, 2020.

Delawareans with general 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 individuals who are hearing-impaired, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 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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