Gov. John Carney on Tuesday announced a series of steps allowing small businesses to resume limited operations effective 8 a.m. on Friday, May 8.
Carney also ordered that all nursing home personnel and patients undergo testing.
The changes allow more small businesses to do curbside pickup, while allowing hair salons to take appointments for essential personnel. At a press briefing on Tuesday, Carney conceded that the changes were “baby steps” in reopening the state.
The administration has been holding Zoom conferences with Delaware residents and businesspeople, with some of the ideas makng their way to the recent announcement.
The goal of the interim steps is to provide economic relief to Delaware citizens and businesses who are struggling financially – while maintaining adherence to health and safety guidelines. The steps also will help as Delawareans and Delaware businesses adapt to new ways of operating once Phase 1 begins, a release stated.
Also on Tuesday, Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19. DPH will provide facilities with tests, testing supplies, training, and support for the universal testing program to protect the most vulnerable Delawareans.Expanding COVID-19 testing capacity for vulnerable populations is a requirement of federal guidance for economic reopening.
Public health experts at the Division of Public Health (DPH) will support clinicians at long-term care facilities with the new testing program. DPH will provide guidance on testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic persons and the interpretation of results. DPH will also provide recommendations to protect residents and staff based on results, including transmission-based precautions, isolation, and patient and staff management strategies.
“I understand how hard this has been for Delawareans across our state. We’ve tried to find ways to ease the pain without compromising public health,” said Carney. “But even these limited steps allowing businesses to offer additional services will require strict compliance with safety standards, especially social distancing. We cannot afford to go backwards and see new cases and hospitalizations spike. Getting used to a new normal won’t be easy, but this is the first step to being able to reopen our economy.”
“Residents of long-term care facilities are extremely vulnerable to complications from the virus that causes COVID-19 due to chronic health conditions,” saidDr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “We are incredibly pleased to be able to support this testing strategy which will enable us to help the facilities better identify outbreaks among both staff and residents and contain the spread of the disease through a variety of interventions. It is an important component in our rapidly expanding testing strategy.”
Below are the interim steps the Governor announced are effective at 8:00 a.m. on Friday:
- Small business retailers will be allowed to do business using curbside pickup as long as social distancing can be maintained. These retailers include:
- Clothing stores
- Shoe stores
- Sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments
- Book, periodical, music stores
- Department stores
- Tobacco and Vape
- Other general merchandise
- Office supply, stationery, and gift stores
- Used merchandise stores
- Consumer goods rental
- Jewelry stores may do business by appointment only, and the governor has instructed the Division of Small Business to consider additional changes like this for other similar retailers.
- Cosmetology: Haircare services only are permitted to be offered, and only to workers at essential businesses. Guidelines include:
- No more than two appointments at a time per location (and never more than the number of available staff, so just one for a sole proprietor). Need to leave 15 minutes between appointments for proper cleaning.
- Employees and customers must wear cloth face masks at all times, and customers must cancel appointments if they have any reason to believe they may be ill or may have come into contact with the virus.
- Staff must wear disposable gloves when providing services and must throw away gloves between customers and wash hands.
- Employer must require employees to report their temperature daily — above 99.5 means they are ineligible to work.
- Customer stations must be sanitized between use, along with any equipment used for the customer. In addition, any item a customer handles (like a magazine) must leave with the customer.
- Entrance door must remain locked to outside to prevent walk-ins.
- Golf carts allowed at courses for 1 rider at a time with proper cleaning between customers
- Drive thru movies are permitted, but patrons must remain inside vehicles and social distancing must be maintained at all times.
Employees required to report to work as a result of these changes will now be permitted to utilize child care services, provided neither parent works from home and they do not have alternate care.
Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1; or 7-1-1 for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Or text your ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.