Delaware governor issues stay-at-home order, says all non-essential businesses must close

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- Delaware Governor John Carney issued a stay-at-home order and said all non-essential businesses must close as the coronavirus continues to spread.

The orders go into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. They will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.

"Not enough people are taking this seriously. I've seen way too many people in groups and gatherings," said Carney. "I don't want Delaware to be the example of what not to do in this crisis."

Click here for a full list of essential and non-essential businesses, as defined by Sunday's order.



"Trolley Square is a busy neighborhood normally with a lot of restaurants and bars, so I could definitely see people coming down here if this was the one area that was still open," said Wilmington resident Adam Smiley.

Non-essential businesses like nail and hair salons and bars must shut their doors. Liquor stores, supermarkets and restaurants offering only takeout can stay open.

"The business is down 50 percent, we have to be patient to wait to see what's going to happen," said Tony Matulas, owner of Opa Opa restaurant in Wilmington. "But still we're here."

On Sunday, officials announced 11 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total to 56.

Of the Delawareans diagnosed with COVID-19, 39 are from New Castle County, five are from Kent County, and 12 are from Sussex County. Of these cases, 30 are male and 26 are female. The individuals range in age from 14 to 80. Six individuals are currently hospitalized; three are critically ill.

On Saturday, Governor Carney ordered the closure of all Delaware beaches to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The public is prohibited from accessing the beach except to exercise or walk their dogs where dogs are permitted.

"We need everyone to take this situation seriously. We saw too many people on the beaches yesterday and we weren't seeing the kind of social distancing that we need in order to slow the spread of coronavirus," Governor Carney said Saturday. "This was a difficult decision, but we need folks to follow the rules to keep all Delawareans safe. 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."

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Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health's Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for individuals who are hearing impaired, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov.
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