The Delaware Division of Public Health and parent agency, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, ordered a limit of 100 persons at mall food courts after photos showed crowded conditions at Christiana Mall on Friday.
The limit is effective immediately.
The photos were posted on Facebook by the Delaware Restaurant Association, which has been harshly critical of the recent 30 percent occupancy cap on restaurants. The mall is located south of Newark along Interstate 95.
The state kept occupancy limits at shopping centers and retail operations at 60 percent, the previous figure for restaurants.
According to the public health division’s social media post, inspectors were in “potential areas of concern” that included food courts at Christiana and Concord Malls and the Tanger Outlets in the Rehoboth area.
Food courts are subject to the same occupancy cap as restaurants.
“While the Christiana Mall food court may have been technically under that limit, health officials are concerned about the volume of people they saw on Friday. In response, starting today, seating in the food courts will be capped at 100 people,” the health division stated.
The photos, when enlarged, showed space between tables. However, the crowded conditions seemed to suggest the potential for spreading the Covid-19 virus. Dining is viewed as a higher risk activity since masks can’t be worn while eating.
Public health officials have advised diners to keep masks on when not eating and when being served.
Large crowds were reported at malls on Black Friday,
See the earlier story below.