Delaware issues new restrictions on gatherings, dining, and youth sports; most take effect on Monday

Most of the restrictions take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020
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Gov. John Carney announced additional restrictions for indoor and outdoor gatherings, indoor dining, and youth sports to slow the spread of COVID-9.

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- Delaware Governor John Carney announced Tuesday additional restrictions for indoor and outdoor gatherings, indoor dining, and youth sports to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

The restrictions take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, except the ones for youth sports. Carney's office said the restrictions will be formally issued in a revision of the governor's emergency order later this week.

Governor Carney's order will include the following restrictions:

  • Indoor gatherings in homes must be capped at no more than 10 people.
  • Indoor gatherings outside of homes must be limited to 30 percent of the venue's stated fire capacity, up to a cap of 50 people. This includes all events, such as weddings, funerals, services in houses of worship, performances, political gatherings, and events in public spaces including fire halls.
  • Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people. Up to 250 may be allowed with a plan approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).
  • Restaurants must operate at no more than 30 percent of fire capacity indoors, with allowances for additional outdoor seating.
  • Governor Carney's order will also prohibit Delaware youth sports organizations, teams and venues from hosting or participating in tournaments with out-of-state teams, effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1. The order includes a provision prohibiting Delaware teams from traveling across states lines for tournaments.

"These are difficult decisions, but we face a difficult and challenging winter," Governor Carney said in a statement. "COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in Delaware and across the country. Nearly 250,000 Americans, including 739 Delawareans, have already lost their lives to this virus. Our focus must be on protecting lives."

Hybrid Learning for Schools

Based on a weekly review of publicly available data, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) says it continues to recommend that K-12 public schools to operate in a hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote instruction.

"Transmission of COVID-19 has been rare in Delaware schools because students, educators and staff are following the basic health guidelines and doing their part to keep children in classrooms. Exposure is primarily occurring in social settings outside of school," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of DPH.

Relief Grants

Governor Carney on Tuesday also announced an expansion of the DE Relief Grants program for businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions.

According to the governor, the expansion will "provide up to $25 million in additional relief for hundreds of businesses that have been disproportionately impacted. Qualifying businesses, including restaurants and taprooms, will receive double their original grant allocation."

The DE Relief Grants program - funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act - is providing more than $150 million in direct assistance to Delaware small businesses statewide.

The application deadline is December 4, 2020, and can be found at

Delaware courts press pause on jury trials as COVID cases rise

Delaware courts are pressing pause on jury trials as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state.

Because of the spike in coronavirus cases, courts are transitioning back to phase 2 of the state's reopening plan.

Court facilities will remain open, but staffing and building capacity will decrease from 75% to 50%.

Non-jury civil and criminal cases will continue, as will grand jury proceedings.

Courts will reassess the situation in the new year, officials said.