Update: Some Sussex venues close, modify operations over weekend as governor delays Phase 3 announcement

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The two-unit Kick ‘n Chicken restaurant has halted in-restaurant service as Sussex County and the state await test results for coronavirus.

It joined the Starboard and Hammerheads dining and entertainment businesses, which earlier announced plans to close for the weekend.

Gov. John Carney earlier delayed moving to Phase 3 of Delaware’s economic reopening after seeing a lack of social distancing and other measures as well as spikes in COVID-19 infections elsewhere and nationwide.

Carney’s statement came as a few popular beach bar and entertainment spots announced temporary weekend closings.

Dewey Beach’s Starboard announced that all staff will be tested while the venue remains closed.

Hammerheads, a popular restaurant and entertainment spot with locations in the Dewey and Rehoboth Beach areas, also announced that it will temporarily close the two locations due to concerns over coronavirus.

Other businesses in the Dewey Beach area announced temperature checks for employees and posted signs urging customers to wear masks and practice social distancing to avoid future closings.

The decision to move to Phase 3 seems to hinge on COVID-19 testing after several cases were found with links to senior week activities.

“I know many Delawareans expected us to move into Phase 3 of economic reopening on Monday, June 29 – and that had been my hope, as well. But we are delaying that decision so we can get a better handle on what’s going on in Delaware and around the country. We intend to make a decision early next week regarding the start of Phase 3,” Carney stated.

Carney continued, “Too many Delawareans and visitors are not following basic public health precautions. We’ve heard and seen concerns especially in our beach communities, in restaurants, in gyms, and at sporting events. Now’s not the time to let up. You’re required to wear a mask in public settings. Keep your distance from those outside your household. These are common-sense steps that, frankly, are not that difficult to follow. And they’re a small price to pay for keeping our friends and relatives out of the hospital.

“Today, we held a COVID-19 testing event in Rehoboth Beach. Results of that event should help us determine infection rates in our coastal communities. We’ll be monitoring this data – as well as compliance with public health requirements like mask-wearing and social distancing – as we make a determination about when Phase 3 should begin.

“In Delaware, we are beating this disease. We have flattened the curve. But that’s because Delawareans stayed home and made significant sacrifices to keep others safe. Make no mistake: COVID-19 has not gone away. We’ve seen what has happened in other states when folks let their guard down. Let’s not be one of those states.”

Carney and Division of Public Health officials have been concerned about coronavirus outbreaks in North Carolina, a state that had similar stay at home restrictions to Delaware and has a tourism-based coastal economy.

“Although numbers of percent positive tests and numbers of positive cases are still low, the rates are now increasing – going the wrong way,” Beebe Healthcare CEO David Tam stated in a social media post. “This is how Arizona and Texas started. Please reinforce to all the need for physical distancing, use of face masks, hand washing, and staying away from crowds.”

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