Phase 3 go-ahead comes down to testing at the beach


Good afternoon everyone,

Business and political leaders will be keeping a close watch on COVID-19 test results that will trickle in over the next few days.

Yesterday, Gov. John Carney postponed an announcement on Phase 3, which would provide businesses with more flexibility in areas such as restaurant seating and overall capacity.

The delay was a blow to small business leaders who had been working to speed up the reopening process in the state. Whether Phase 3 becomes effective in time for the July 4 holiday appears to hinge on testing now taking place in Coastal Sussex County.

Last weekend, it was reported that several people who were part of senior week tested positive. Their presence potentially exposed hundreds to the virus.

As we now know, many carrying the COVID-19 will show no symptoms, a least for a while. That’s one reason why state health officials advised parents to get tested.

Many if not all of those who tested positive have left town, but that leaves the question of whether restaurant workers and others were exposed.

A few establishments have closed or trimmed back hours. One did so even though no employees have tested positive. Others added signs telling customers not to “blow it” by failing to wear masks or practice social distancing.

At the same time, there were scattered reports of staff at various beach spots not wearing face-coverings. it does not help that we continue to receive mixed messages on the national level and grammar challenged social media postings from so-called authorities.

Mini outbreaks of the virus had been expected at the beach and elsewhere. Crowding in homes and elsewhere is a fact of life.

The state has geared up with a quick response process focusing on testing and contact tracing.

Sussex remains in a delicate place. Not far away from the beach is the county’s poultry processing zone which saw the state’s first major outbreak.

A lot of heavy lifting from the state and the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) limited the impact of the virus. But it would be foolish to think COVID has gone away.

The county also has a large population of elderly who are vulnerable to the virus, which took a heavy toll on residents of long-term care facilities. This was also true in the state’s two other counties.

For now, we can only hope that the random nature of COVID-19 spread along with the use of social distancing and face coverings saved the day. No one wants the state to be in the same league as North Carolina, Texas, or Florida.

A final note. Texas and Florida today ordered bar closings.

Enjoy your weekend and say safe. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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