Just moments ago in an appearance on MSNBC, Governor John Carney signaled that more statewide restrictions were on the way for Delaware to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Carney said, “We are going to be issuing another amendment to tighten down to essential businesses only being open.”
He also suggested the timeframe is imminent, telling the show’s host, “We’re preparing an amendment to the executive order to shut down businesses and tighten up restrictions at the beginning of next week because we need to be consistent with what’s happening in the region.”
Neighboring states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey currently have more stringent restrictions in place for non-essential activity and business, and Carney said he had consulted with governors from those states and Maryland to align on a common approach to protect the public’s health.
The state now has 40 positive cases of the coronavirus
, and Carney told MSNBC host Alex Witt that five of those individuals have been hospitalized and “two or three are in critical condition.”
Carney’s comments come following his announcement last night of a third modification to the state of emergency declaration currently in place.
Delaware beaches told to close
The new orders close Delaware beaches, a decision made after Carney visited Delaware beaches yesterday and saw scores of beachgoers and revelers “in a party type atmosphere” he told MSNBC. The public is prohibited from accessing the beach except to exercise or walk their dogs where dogs are permitted. The modification allows local officials to enact tighter restrictions if they choose.
The modifications go into effect at 5:00 p.m. tonight, March 21, and will last until May 15, or until the public health threat of COVID-19 has been eliminated.
Carney went down to the beaches yesterday because he said he had a sense social distancing was going to be a challenge there. “Yesterday I went down to visit the beach communities and what I saw was just disturbing… It was a beautiful day in Delaware. It was sunny, it was 80 degrees and folks were out just having a good time with families. But they were way too close. It was really a party kind of atmosphere… People were not really paying attention to the need for social distancing and staying six feet away from one another,” Carney said on MSNBC.
State of Emergency has the full force of the law
The State of Emergency has the full force and effect of the law, and violations constitute a criminal offense.
“This was a difficult decision, but we need folks to follow the rules to keep all Delawareans safe,” said Carney. “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.”