The Carney administration announced a statewide public engagement plan focused on the state’s economic reopening that includes listening sessions with business leaders and the public.
At the same time Governor John Carney announced the series of Zoom town hall meetings beginning Monday, a group calling itself Delawareans Against Excessive Quarantine are pressing for a rapid reopening of the state’s economy. The group is mobilizing supporters to attend a “Reopen Delaware” rally at the state capitol on May 1.
In an open letter to Delawareans, Governor John Carney said his economic and small business team would be soliciting ideas from business owners, non-profits, legislators and others on how to best reopen the economy.
“The road to economic recovery will be a long one,” said Carney. “And we can’t start our economic recovery until our path toward controlling this virus is clear.”
Beginning Monday, the Delaware Division of Small Business and the Delaware Prosperity Partnership will host virtual Recovery Town Halls with members of the General Assembly, small businesses, and local chambers of commerce. A detailed list of the town halls can be found on the Governor’s website here.
Delawareans Against Excessive Quarantine say they are “opposed to the current restrictions imposed by Governor Carney because they have inflicted grave risk and harm on the residents and businesses of Delaware.”
“We demand that Governor Carney remove these restrictions immediately and reopen Delaware so its residents can freely and openly meet, gather, exchange in trade, participate in activities, and travel to places they desire – while they are appropriately practicing good personal hygiene and other risk reduction habits,” the group’s website says.
The full copy of Governor Carney’s letter is below.
I’m writing to give you an update on where we are, and where we’re going.
The road to economic recovery will be a long one. And we can’t start our economic recovery until our path toward controlling this virus is clear.
That said, what we can do right now is plan. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be soliciting ideas from business owners, non-profits, the general public, teachers, community leaders, and legislators about ways to reopen our economy.
I thought it would also be helpful to explain how we’ll know when it’s time to safely reopen. Here are the basic elements of our decision-making process:
- Whenever possible, we plan to use the CDC guidance from the White House Task Force as a roadmap.
- That means we will open the economy in phases.
- In order to move to Phase 1, we’ll need to see 14 days of our cases going down. You can track those trends here.
- We also need to hire and then train several hundred contact tracers (we’re working on that right now) so that when someone gets sick, we can quickly notify everyone they came in contact with and make sure they self-isolate.
- We also need a reliable source of tests. We have to be able to testanyone with symptoms, anyone who has been exposed, and anyone in vulnerable communities like Long-Term Care facilities and people with underlying health conditions. We’re working on this right now as well.
- Even once we start easing some of the restrictions, things won’t be like they used to, at least not for a while. Every business that opens will have to follow strict social distancing guidelines. In some cases, that might mean that they can’t operate at full capacity, or that their staff will need to wear masks. These are the details we’re working out now, and that we want your input on.
I know the big question is: when does all this begin?
I wish I had a date certain to give you, but I don’t. It’s not clear yet whether our positive cases are on a consistent downward trend. Once they start going down consistently, and once we have our contact tracers and testing regimen in place, we can start moving toward Phase 1. We’ll keep watching numbers to know when to move to Phase 2 and so on.
This has been a trying time for everyone. My heart hurts for every family that has lost a loved one, every parent struggling to make ends meet, and every business owner whose business is on the brink. There are intangible costs to this cr i sis as well – in the canceled birthday party, the missed family dinners, postponed funerals, the high school sports career cut short, and the loss of human contact.
What I can tell you is that I know how hard this is, and we are working night and day to bring it to an end as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience, and for doing your part.
Governor John Carney