Chances of Delaware fully opening its beaches by Memorial Day weekend do not appear to be good.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Gov. John Carney vowed to stick with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for reopening businesses.
Carney said he would like nothing better than to see beaches open on the popular three-day weekend that precedes summer, but added that the state is not yet meeting even the second phase of the three-phase reopening process recommended by the CDC. Delaware is essentially in the first phase.
Another potential barrier is the emergence of Sussex County as a hotspot for coronavirus cases. Based on zip code maps from the state, cases are center in the Georgetown area, although coastal areas are not exempt.
Another factor that would play into the governor’s decision would be the crowds that gathered on the beach and boardwalk in Rehoboth on a warm spring day. The scene that gained national attention as the coronavirus crisis deepened led Carney and municipal officials to ban access to the areas.
Under the guidelines, Delaware would have to see 28 days of consecutive declines in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus.
See the White House and the CDC guidelines below.
Bars, movie theaters, gyms and restaurants can open with restrictions on distancing and occupancy after 14 days of consecutive declines in the number of COV-19 cases.
Tuesday saw the number of coronavirus cases increase by 200 from Friday, with a decline during one day in the past week.
Carney said the state will need to see more testing to get a true picture of the growth or decline in cases.
A few of the nation’s governors have decided to disregard the advice and plan to reopen businesses regardless of their status in the three-step process.