Carney updates state of emergency

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Gov. John Carney issued on March 18 a second modification to his emergency declaration that allows any restaurant, brewpub, tavern or taproom with a valid on-premise license to sell alcoholic beverages as part of transactions for take-out food or drive through food service.

Alcohol sales cannot exceed 40% of the total sales transaction. All other rules and regulations regarding the take-out of alcoholic beverages apply, including that containers must be securely closed. Alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed on-site, neither indoors nor outdoors. This policy goes into effect at 8 p.m. March 18, and will last until the state of emergency is rescinded.

“This is an evolving situation, and we need everyone’s cooperation in order to protect the health and safety of Delawareans, especially our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Carney. “These are difficult decisions, and we will constantly reevaluate the guidance. We know our small business and restaurant communities are among those most seriously impacted by the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and we’re looking at ways to assist them. But our priority is the health and safety of Delawareans, and limiting the number of Delawareans who come in contact with this virus.”

The second update to the emergency declaration also requires the closure of bowling alleys, movie theaters, fitness centers and health spas in a continued effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in Delaware. Any business that remains open is strongly encouraged to have hand sanitizers or hand washing stations available for its employees and patrons.

These updates went into effect at 8 a.m. March 19, and will last until the state of emergency is rescinded.

Carney also temporarily lifted regulations to expand access to telemedicine. Under the modified declaration:

— Patients do not need to present in-person before telemedicine services may be provided.

— Delaware residents do not need to be present in Delaware at the time the telemedicine services are provided.

— Any out of state healthcare provider who would be permitted to provide telemedicine services in Delaware if they were licensed under Title 24 may provide telemedicine services to a Delaware resident if they hold an active license in another jurisdiction.

Wednesday’s modification to Carney’s emergency declaration clarifies and preserves the following provisions that Carney announced March 16:

— Restaurants, bars and taverns shall only provide food and beverage service through take-out, drive through, hotel room service, and off premises delivery to help prevent spread of COVID-19.

— Bans public gatherings of 50 or more people for eight weeks or until the state of emergency is rescinded

— Closes gaming activity at Delaware casinos.

— Authorizes Delaware’s secretary of labor to develop emergency rules to protect Delaware workers and ensure that unemployment benefits are available for Delawareans whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

— Restricts senior center, nursing home/retirement facility, assisted-living facility, etc. to permit a gathering of more than 10 persons that includes any person aged 60 or over, or any person with an underlying health condition that puts any person in attendance at increased risk if exposed to COVID-19.

— Authorizes Delaware Emergency Management Agency and Delaware Division of Public Health to cancel gatherings for public health reasons.

The full modified declaration and details are available at

The Department of Labor announced March 17 emergency rules to expand unemployment insurance benefits and ensure they are available to individuals whose employment has been impacted directly by COVID-19.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, or email

For more on Delaware’s response to COVID-19, visit