Carney fires back at Kent, Sussex legislators demanding immediate business, rental reopening

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Sussex and Kent County legislators have written a letter to Gov. John Carney demanding an immediate reopening of Delaware businesses and leisure activities.

The governor fired back, describing the action as political.

“We write today with extreme concern over the impact of the decisions that have been made so far by your administration in an attempt to combat the coronavirus,” reads the letter. “We have watched as your administration favored large and powerful business interests over our local merchants. We have seen businesses shut down and their owners threatened with criminal charges. And we have listened as mixed messages and confusion have caused panic and fear to spread far and wide.”
Legislators are getting pushback from Coastal Sussex County businesses that are facing continuing limits on short-term rentals (hotels, Airbnb) as well as no dining and pickup-only restrictions on retailers until June 1.
Carney said at a press briefing that he was disappointed by what he saw as the political tone of the letter. He said he has talked to some of those who signed the letter and did receive indication that they were espousing the views contained in the letter.
Carney also noted that not all Republican legislators signed the letter.
Carney and other state officials have taken pains to note that closing and reopening decisions have been based on guidelines and discussi with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re not making this stuff up” he said.
On Saturday, Rehoboth was the site of a Storm the Beach protest that drew 100 to 200 people. Protesters had earlier suggested businesses open up in defiance of the stay at home order. In the end, protesters agreed to restrictions on the event, although some did make their way to the beach, which is now open for walking.
The letter calls for specific actions, including beginning Phase One before Memorial Day weekend, lifting the short-term rental ban and the ban on out of state visitors, and allowing wider latitude for daycare centers, youth sports and camps.
Carney and health officials have been expressing concern about a surge of visitors over the Memorial Day weekend. At the same time, Delaware does not have the concentration of hotels and rentals as is the case in neighboring Ocean City, MD.
The two counties that the Republican legislators represent have the highest number of coronavirus cases per 10,000 population among the state’s three counties. Sussex County is seeing an outbreak around poultry plants that contributed to a decision by the state to spend $30 million on testing kits.
The stay at home restrictions have been more popular in New Castle, which has the lowest rate of cases among the state’s three counties.
“In the end, we all want what is best for the people of Delaware,” the letter stated. “But the time has come to express our opinion on how to reach the best outcome. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to give people and business owners back their freedom and let them assume responsibility for themselves and their communities. This virus will be with us for some time. It is up to all of us to adjust to its existence. We believe in the people of the state of Delaware. We hope you will join us.”

The governor fired back, describing the action as political.

“We write today with extreme concern over the impact of the decisions that have been made so far by your administration in an attempt to combat the coronavirus,” reads the letter. “We have watched as your administration favored large and powerful business interests over our local merchants. We have seen businesses shut down and their owners threatened with criminal charges. And we have listened as mixed messages and confusion have caused panic and fear to spread far and wide.”

Legislators are getting pushback from Coastal Sussex County businesses that are facing continuing limits on short-term rentals (hotels, Airbnb) as well as no dining and pickup-only restrictions on retailers until June 1.

Carney said at a press briefing that he was disappointed by what he saw as the political tone of the letter. He said he has talked to some of those who signed the letter and did receive indication that they were espousing the views contained in the letter.

Carney also noted that not all Republican legislators signed the letter.

Carney and other state officials have taken pains to note that closing and reopening decisions have been based on guidelines and discussi with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’re not making this stuff up” he said.

On Saturday, Rehoboth was the site of a Storm the Beach protest that drew 100 to 200 people. Protesters had earlier suggested businesses open up in defiance of the stay at home order. In the end, protesters agreed to restrictions on the event, although some did make their way to the beach, which is now open for walking.

The letter calls for specific actions, including beginning Phase One before Memorial Day weekend, lifting the short-term rental ban and the ban on out of state visitors, and allowing wider latitude for daycare centers, youth sports and camps.

Carney and health officials have been expressing concern about a surge of visitors over the Memorial Day weekend. At the same time, Delaware does not have the concentration of hotels and rentals as is the case in neighboring Ocean City, MD.

The two counties that the Republican legislators represent have the highest number of coronavirus cases per 10,000 population among the state’s three counties. Sussex County is seeing an outbreak around poultry plants that contributed to a decision by the state to spend $30 million on testing kits.

The stay at home restrictions have been more popular in New Castle, which has the lowest rate of cases among the state’s three counties.

“In the end, we all want what is best for the people of Delaware,” the letter stated. “But the time has come to express our opinion on how to reach the best outcome. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to give people and business owners back their freedom and let them assume responsibility for themselves and their communities. This virus will be with us for some time. It is up to all of us to adjust to its existence. We believe in the people of the state of Delaware. We hope you will join us.”

See letter below:

Click to access Governor-Carney-GA-Letter_final.pdf

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