Carney removes restrictions on size of outdoor worship services, offers details on expanded outdoor dining


Gov. John Carney on Saturday released an update on worship services and outdoor dining.

On Friday, Carney signed the 19th modification to his COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration, formalizing steps taken earlier in the week to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating capacity.

All Delaware food and drink establishments may apply to their local municipal or county jurisdiction with plans to expand outdoor seating. The Delaware Office of Alcohol Beverage Control will also review plans submitted by applicants with liquor licenses. Delaware restaurants and bars are scheduled to open their indoor spaces at 30 percent of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning June 1.

“We want everyone to enjoy Delaware’s great restaurants, bars and craft breweries, but we’re asking that you do so safely, in a way that protects our neighbors and members of all of our families,” saidCarney. “We know Delaware’s hospitality industry has been hit especially hard by this crisis. Our hope is this change will allow restaurants, bars, and craft breweries to safely expand their businesses outdoors.”

Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) also updated guidance for Delaware churches and other communities of worship on Saturday. Delaware churches and houses of worship may conduct outdoor services without limitations on gathering sizes, as long as they follow social distancing and other basic health precautions, including around handwashing and face coverings.

Communities of worship must post signage detailing basic health precautions, including information about social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the use of face coverings. Churches and houses of worship also should discourage parishioners 65 and older from attending services, because of their greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and falling seriously ill.

All Delaware houses of worship have been deemed essential under Delaware’s stay-at-home order since Governor signed the order on Sunday, March 22.

Read the 19th modification to Governor Carney’s State of Emergency declaration.

“Delawareans have fundamental right to practice their faith, but we need everyone to do so safely. You don’t have a right to get others sick,” saidCarney. “This is a serious disease. Keep your distance. Wear a face covering. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. All of Delaware’s restrictions are based on public health guidance. More than 300 Delawareans, and nearly 100,000 Americans, have died from this terrible disease. These precautions are not intended to be an annoyance. They’re intended to limit transmission of COVID-19 and save as many lives as we can.”

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