Issue 480 | September 4, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Governor Issues Omnibus Executive Order, Streamlining, Amending COVID-19 Restrictions
  • State Lawmaker Calls Continued State of Emergency an Abuse of Authority
  • Applications for Delaware Relief Grants Available Tuesday
Governor Issues Omnibus Executive Order, Streamlining, Amending COVID-19 Restrictions
SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 --
Governor John Carney has signed the 27th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, formalizing the latest restrictions around bar service at the beach resorts and requiring business operators to strictly enforce face covering requirements for their employees.  

The new order, which took effect this morning, also combines all active COVID-19 restrictions into a single order.  

The latest modification follows yesterday's action by the governor to renew his State of Emergency declaration for a sixth time. Delaware has been under a State of Emergency for nearly seven consecutive months. 

Among the new or ongoing requirements contained in the 27th State of Emergency modification:

  • Businesses must have written documentation, such as a doctor’s note, supporting any accommodation that allows an employee to not wear a face covering. 

  • Businesses and individuals responsible for managing indoor or outdoor public spaces must require customers and visitors to wear face coverings.

  • In restaurants, customers must wear coverings if they leave their table and while entering or exiting the establishment.  Delawareans and visitors “are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when waitstaff visits a table, and whenever they are not eating or drinking."
  • In gyms and other exercise facilities, Delawareans must wear face coverings when they are not engaged in vigorous physical activity, which is defined as an "activity done with a large amount of effort, resulting in a substantially higher heart rate and rapid breathing." Under the order, weight-lifting is not considered a vigorous physical activity.  

  • Exercise facilities continue to be limited to no more than 30% of that facility’s rated maximum occupancy. (Additional requirements for exercise facilities are listed in the Phase 2 Reopening Plan.)

  • Bars in Delaware beach communities may reopen today (9/4) 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.”

  • The same face covering requirements applicable to business operating public spaces also apply to private residences where more than 10 people, who do not reside at that property, are gathered.

  • "To the extent permitted by Delaware and local law, local governments may impose greater restrictions or prohibitions on the activities of people and businesses than those imposed under this Twenty-Seventh Modification to the State of Emergency. Most of the restrictions in this Twenty-Seventh Modification are minimum requirements. Because the impact of COVID-19 has been and will likely continue to be different in different parts of Delaware, counties and cities may deem it necessary to adopt ordinances and issue state of emergency declarations that impose such additional restrictions or prohibitions."
State Lawmaker Calls Continued State of Emergency an Abuse of Authority
SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 -- State Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, says Gov. John Carney is abusing his authority after he renewed his State of Emergency declaration for Delaware for a sixth time on Thursday.

Under Delaware law (Title 20, Chapter 31), the governor has the authority to declare a State of Emergency in response to a current or anticipated crisis posing a dire threat to public health or safety. The law allows the initial declaration to last up to 30 days, after which the governor can renew it at his own discretion.

“The clear intent of the law was to give the state’s chief executive the ability to quickly respond to a natural or man-made disaster to protect public welfare,” Rep. Collins wrote in an opinion column posted on social media earlier today. “Governor Carney has abused this unchecked authority to rule by executive fiat, without the need for citizen input or the consent of their elected officials in the General Assembly. Thus far, he has modified the declaration on 26 occasions, issuing rules that carry the weight of law on diverse topics ranging from shutting down hundreds of businesses to how churches could conduct services.”

Rep. Collins said since the governor first declared a State of Emergency nearly seven months ago, much has changed.  

“Remember the mantra of the Carney administration during the first two months after the arrival of COVID-19 in The First State was ‘flatten the curve,’” Rep. Collins said. “The strategy contained in that slogan was to slow the spread of the virus to prevent a rapid spike of cases that would overwhelm the capacity of our medical system.”

Rep. Collins notes in his column that goal was accomplished more than four months ago when the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked at 337 in late April. According to the American Hospital Association, Delaware has more than 2,000 permanent acute care beds. Hospitalizations related to the coronavirus have been hovering around 60 in recent days.

“The ‘flatten the curve’ dogma has morphed into a destructive doctrine of ‘stop the virus at all costs,’” Rep. Collins said, adding that the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions have severely hurt small businesses, thrown tens-of-thousands of Delawareans out of work, and kept children out of the classroom.

Citing both state and federal data, Rep. Collins writes that Governor Carney’s actions are not being driven by facts.  

According to information posted by the Delaware Division of Public Health, since mid-July the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 has consistently averaged under 5% -- the benchmark recommended by the World Health Organization. Hospitalizations have steadily declined since peaking in late April and have remained comparatively low for months. Deaths related to the virus have slowed to a crawl. More than 92% of Delaware’s COVID-19 related fatalities took place prior to July 1. Despite a dramatic increase in testing availability, the average number of new positive cases has trended downward since hitting its peak May 10.

Nationally, key COVID-19 indicators are also trending downwards. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the seven-day average of new cases peaked on July 24th at 66,960 cases. It has steadily fallen since then. On September 2, the reported seven-day average of new cases was 41,193 – a nearly 40% reduction from peak. The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths peaked nationally on April 21st. More than 56% of all detected U.S. coronavirus cases are considered recovered.

“We now know that the virus, while a potential health threat, is not a life-threatening illness for the vast majority of the population,” Rep. Collins wrote.  

The virus has a disproportionate impact on specific demographic groups. More than 60% of Delaware’s coronavirus deaths involved long-term care residents. People age 50 and over account for 95.9% of all Delaware fatalities. Those age 65 and over are especially vulnerable, with more than 83% of deaths occurring in this group. People with underlying health issues are also at high-risk. According to recently released CDC data, only 6% of deaths related to COVID-19 were attributed to the virus alone.  

“Our decisions should be driven by data, undertaking manageable risks and making informed choices,” Rep. Collins wrote. “It is past time to fully engage Delaware’s economy, set a date for safely returning kids to the classroom, and scholastic sports to the athletic fields. Let’s continue to protect those well-defined demographic groups most at-risk from life-threatening COVID-19 complications, while allowing Delawareans the freedom to pursue their dreams, return to work, and live their lives as they see fit.”
The application period for the first round of DE Relief Grants will open on September 8.
In preparation, interested small business owners and non-profit organization leaders should gather the following documents needed to apply:

  • 2019 tax return
  • Receipts for qualifying expenses
  • Delaware Business License

For additional insight, a short instructional video can be accessed by clicking here.