Delaware pauses reopening, beach bars to close ahead of July 4th holiday weekend

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Delaware halts reopening, urges beachgoes to get COVID-19 test
Delaware has halted its reopening plan and officials urge beachgoes to get a COVID-19 test.

Bars in zip codes which include Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach will close on Friday due to an uptick in COVID-19, Gov. John Carney said Tuesday.

The bars will close ahead of the July 4th holiday and will remain closed indefinitely, Carney said.

Health officials are now urging anyone who frequents the beach, lives at the beach in a congregate setting, or works at the beach, to get a COVID-19 test.

The news comes after Rehoboth Beach officials said three lifeguards tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials said they believe there had been little contact with the public and that the lifeguards spent most of their time in the lifeguard stands.

"We immediately executed our COVID response protocol and contacted the local health department. All lifeguards were notified of the exposure and will be tested within the next 24 hours," said Rehoboth Police Chief Keith Banks.

The three people are asymptomatic and currently quarantined at home.

At Dewey and Rehoboth beaches free COVID-19 tests are being administered this week. Doctors with the state division of public health say these testing sites show a shift in age ranges.

"The age range does seem to be shifting to the left we are seeing a higher number of young persons with coronavirus. Those are persons in their teens and 20s," said Dr. Rick Pescatore, chief physician Delaware Division of Public Health.

Data from the Delaware Health Department shows that while case numbers are going up again, hospitalizations continue to fall.

"It also is a function that the average age has dropped significantly. A lot of the people testing are not symptomatic," said Carney.

Carney also said Phase 3 of reopening in Delaware is postponed indefinitely.

Phil Hanos owns the Hollywood Grill in Wilmington and says Phase 2 is working for both his customers and staff.

"It's not as bad as other states that have no indoor dining. So, we are lucky we have that. Phase 3 was supposed to be 100% capacity with limitations of 6 feet apart - 8 feet apart with tables and booths - so for us personally, it didn't affect our capacity," said Hanos.