Wave of dining closings in Dewey spreads to Rehoboth with Blue Hen reporting 2 staffers testing positive for Covid-19


The Blue Hen restaurant in Rehoboth closed temporarily on Saturday after two staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The restaurant issued the following on Saturday afternoon via Facebook.

“Today we learned that 2 people on our staff have tested positive for COVID-19. For the safety of our staff and guests, we decided to close today and the next few days to get the entire team tested. Once we have those results we will reopen with team members who have tested negative. We hope to be back in business soon.”

Earlier, Grotto Pizza and Nalu became the latest bars and restaurants to modify operations in coastal Sussex County as state health officials await test results stemming from a Covid-19 outbreak related to past senior week activities.

On Saturday, Nalu announced its Dewey location is closed until Tuesday “due to increased anxieties around town regarding Covid. This gives our entire staff the opportunity to proactively get tested so there is no question for the safety of our staff and patrons.” The Rehoboth location remains open.

Nalu also noted that Covid-19 tests will be available on Monday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Starboard in Dewey. The Starboard earlier announced it was closing for the weekend.

Grotto Pizza announced Saturday it would close its dining room at its Dewey Beach restaurant and bar, limiting operations to carry-out and patio service.The bar and dining room will be closed until Monday. No other locations are affected.

Also, the two-unit Kick ‘n Chicken restaurant has halted dining service at its Sussex locations.

The Blue Hen, Grotto, Nalu and Kick ‘in Chicken joined the Starboard and Hammerheads dining and entertainment businesses, which earlier announced plans to close for the weekend.

Arena’s in Rehoboth announced it will limit service to carryout only.

While not in the hospitality business, the RB Surf School in the Rehoboth area announced it will temporarily close after one staff member tested positive. The business will have all employees tested before reopening.

Gov. John Carney earlier in the week delayed a Phase 3 date for Delaware’s economic reopening after seeing a lack of social distancing and other measures as well as spikes in infections elsewhere.

A testing site opened on Friday in an effort to see if the outbreak spread to residents, hospitality workers and others.

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.

“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.

“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,” the governor stated.

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.”

Delaware has been seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases as testing expands. The number testing positive has remained below 100, but still indicates that community spread continues.

Some spread had been expected, thanks to the summer season and an influx of visitors and short-term renters.

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