Delaware beaches to reopen to residents only ahead of Memorial Day weekend

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Gov. John Carney said beaches and community pools will reopen next Friday ahead of Memorial Day weekend, but out-of-state visitors are not allowed.

The state will lift restrictions on beaches and pools at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22. Ice cream shops and trucks will reopen with restrictions effective 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Delaware's mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers and ban on short term rentals will remain in effect, Carney said in a news release. Non-Delawareans who have been in the state for at least 14 days will be permitted to use the beaches.

"Summer at the beach and the pool is a huge part of life for so many Delawareans. As we ease our way into a new normal, we're trying to find ways for Delawareans to enjoy the outdoors and the company of their families," said Carney. "I want to be very clear to our friends who want to travel here from outside the state. While we hope one day soon to be able to welcome you to our beaches, that time has not yet come. We need to reopen Delaware in a controlled way that doesn't put anyone at risk."

According to the release, Delaware State Police will station troopers at routes typically used by out-of-state travelers. Travelers will be stopped, asked a series of questions and given information about the 14-day quarantine requirement. Violations of the emergency declaration, or any of its modifications, constitute a criminal offense.

Beachgoers must maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and anyone outside their household.

Face coverings must be worn on the boardwalk and are encouraged on the beach restaurants and bars are still limited to delivery and take-out services only, the news release said.

Pools are limited to 20% capacity. Swim lessons or practices of swim teams are not permitted.

Surf fishing access may also be limited to enforce social distancing and avoid overcrowding.

According to the news release:

Towns must:

- Clean bathrooms, boardwalk railings, benches multiple times per day
- Close arcade games on boardwalk
- Demarcate (using tape, cones, etc.) 6 feet intervals in front of certain retail on boardwalks where lines are likely to form, entrances to the beach, or any other area where congregating or waiting in lines is likely to occur
- Identify enforcement teams

Towns are recommended to:

- Implement systems to limit capacity (like timed or day passes) on the beach
- Limit parking spaces
- Limit access points
- Designate Beach Ambassadors to educate beachgoers about social distancing and serve as liaisons to law enforcement
- Station Beach Ambassadors at access points

Regulations for beachgoers:

- Face coverings are required on boardwalk and encouraged on the beach
- Members of different households must remain 6 feet apart at all times
- Individuals with underlying health conditions or who are over 65-years-old should continue to shelter in place.
- Avoid water fountains.

Regulations for on-premise beach vendors:

- Food and beverage concession vendors must follow restaurant regulations and may only provide take-out or delivery service. Vendors must wear face coverings. Customers must be 6 feet apart while waiting in line.

- The rental of items like umbrellas, chairs, mats, kayaks, etc. are allowed so long as the vendor properly disinfects between each use/rental.

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