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Enforcement Actions being carried out across the state following defiance of Governor’s orders

Following Governor Carney’s seventh modification of the State of Emergency Declaration, Delaware State Police wasted no time in getting to work with enforcement in Claymont.

Claymont (DE):
The Delaware State Police conducted a checkpoint Friday morning at Naaman’s Rd. and Society Dr., in the area of Northtown Plaza, as a measure to enforce Governor Carney’s order restricting out of state travelers entry into Delaware.

“Thursday evening Troopers also conducted directed patrols on non-interstate roadways in the Claymont area which had been identified as having a large volume of out of state travelers.”, According to a news release.

“The seventh modification of the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration specifically addresses the requirement for out-of-state persons traveling in to the State of Delaware to self-quarantine for 14 days. This order authorizes any Delaware law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle driving within the state simply because it is displaying an out-of-state tag.”, said police spokesman Michael Austin.

However, the authorization does not apply to vehicles traveling on I-95, I-295, or I-495.

According to the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, “Enforcement actions have been initiated throughout state to handle noncompliance. Attorney General Kathy Jennings urges Delawareans to heed Gov. John Carney’s Declarations of a State of Emergency. The Declaration of a State of Emergency and all its modifications carry criminal punishment and have been enforced throughout Delaware.”

“This is a tremendously difficult time for everyone, and the only path forward is for all of us to take this seriously as a community,” said Jennings. “These temporary restrictions are unprecedented, but they are necessary. Everyone’s job right now is to save lives. There is no alternative. And when people don’t take these orders seriously, we must step in.”

“The overwhelming majority of Delawareans have heeded the Governor’s calls to be diligent and to keep their communities safe. By obeying the emergency orders, you are saving the lives of your family, your friends and your neighbors. The message to those who ignore the Orders is simple: You are endangering people’s lives, including law enforcement officers, by forcing unnecessary interaction.”

As for Thursdays checkpoint, “As vehicles passed through the check-point, which ran from approximately 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., those with out of state tags were stopped with the driver being asked limited questions related to their recent travel and purpose for entering Delaware. The driver was then informed of the Governor’s declaration and explicitly advised that if they are coming into Delaware from out-of-state, they are required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days or immediately return to their home state.”, Austin said.

Delaware State Police Troop 1 Commander, Captain John Laird, who oversaw the operation, advised that the interactions that his Troopers had with both the Delawareans who passed through the check-point, as well as the out of state drivers who were stopped, were productive and non-confrontational. Those being stopped were appreciative in being made aware of the Governor’s order and what the expectation was. During the interactions the Troopers stressed that the primary purpose of the stop was to inform and to educate as opposed to it being a criminal enforcement initiative, although violating the order does constitute a criminal offense. There were no citations issued or arrests made during the operation, which saw approximately 500 vehicles proceed through the checkpoint., Austin said.

Directed patrols throughout the state will continue. The purpose of the patrols and checkpoints is to achieve voluntary compliance with the order through education and awareness. These stops are intended to serve the public welfare by helping to prevent and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus., Austin said.

Additional checkpoints were conducted throughout Sussex County, including the Route 1 corridor in the area of Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach, Route 20 in Long Neck, and Route 113 south of Millsboro.

The Department of State has sent several warning letters to businesses, informing them that they will be shut down if their behavior does not change.

“Our Troopers will continue to fulfill the mission of the Delaware State Police, which is to enhance the quality of life for all Delaware citizens and visitors, by providing professional, competent and compassionate law enforcement services,” said Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. “They will continue to enforce the laws of the State of Delaware, to include those associated with the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration, in an appropriate and just manner. Our emphasis and goal in enforcing the orders, specifically in regards to the travel restrictions, is to achieve voluntary compliance through education and awareness. The health and well-being of our Troopers, as well as the community, will remain our top priority as we continue to serve and protect, during this unprecedented event.”

The Department of Justice has received more than two dozen formal complaints regarding price gouging and has initiated communication with those businesses. The Consumer Protection Unit today served a subpoena on the Great Valu at Adams Four related to price gouging allegations after the Department’s initial letter went unanswered., said Mat Marshall, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Justice.

Failure to obey an emergency order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $500 and up to 6 months in prison per infraction. Additionally, persons or businesses who engage in price gouging activity face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per offense., Marshall said.

“Several individuals have been cited for failure to obey an emergency order, including last week in Newark and elsewhere throughout the state.”, Said Mat Marshall, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Justice. “Six businesses have been issued cease and desist orders for operating in violation of the Orders; one business owner was arrested for repeated non-compliance.”

The DOJ has publicly issued guidance to law enforcement and the general public on frequent questions about the orders’ practical impact.

The DOJ also issued answers to frequently asked questions about the State of Emergency’s price gouging ban. Delawareans who wish to report price gouging should contact the DOJ’s Consumer Protection hotline at (800) 220-5424 or e-mail pricegouging@delaware.gov.

Delawareans can find additional information about the coronavirus and the State’s response at de.gov/coronavirus. Delawareans who have public health questions or need a testing referral and do not have a primary care physician can call the Division of Public Health’s hotline at (866) 408-1899.

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