Delaware Business Now’s top stories from a dreadful 2020


Happy New Year,

Warning – You may not want to relive those memories that will come from the 30 most-read stories during the dreadful year of  2020 that come from the  Delaware Business Now website.

Fortunately, no blockbuster stories appeared over the holidays, although upwards of two-dozen stories were posted during this newsletter’s vacation. Of interest to readers were vaccinations and the newly imposed ban on one-use plastic bags. Links are available in this newsletter.

The bulk of the 2020 stories had ties to the Covid-19 pandemic and its far-reaching consequences.

The year featured an improbable presidential race with Delaware’s Joe Biden coming from behind and becoming president-elect as incumbent Donald Trump continues to claim the election was rigged. The national media found itself camped out at the Queen Theater in Wilmington and every once in a while in Rehoboth Beach, Biden’s second home.

One of the top stories was the listing of an area around New Castle Airport and Biden’s home west of Wilmington as defense airspace shortly after he appeared to win the election.

Speaking of the airport,  Frontier Airlines is slated to resume service to New Castle Airport (ILG) ended up being delayed by the virus. Service is now projected to begin in mid-February of this year.

The top story was in regard to civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd at the foot of a  former Minneapolis policeman as fellow officers looked on.

Coming in at No. 30 was Gov. John Carney’s modification that allowed retail businesses to be open by appointment. 

Our deepest appreciation goes out to our advertisers and new subscribers for their support. Here’s to a better 2021. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer

Below are the links to the top 30 and brief background.

(A final note: Due to a technical glitch, the Monday newsletter was not posted. For today only, the posting time will be earlier than normal, with plans for a 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. time frame during the remainder of the week).

  1. State Police issue statement after Floyd protests that included demonstrators entering I-95. (Protests, reaction  laid bare racial divisions that have never disappeared)

  2.  Frontier Airlines to announce service from Wilmington New Castle to Orlando. (Service now  slated to begin in February)

  3. Centers for Disease Control called after  Sussex County is declared a coronavirus hot spot. (Outbreak was centered in poultry processing plants)

  4. State Police checkpoint near Total Wine aims to end the influx of out of state liquor shoppers (Pennsylvania closed its state-owned liquor stores for a time, leading to even more traffic to the popular Claymont location)

  5. Former Delaware FedEx manager pleads guilty to $3.6 million package thefts.

  6. Wilmington-New Castle declared defense airspace. (In what could have been the first indication of Joe Biden’s victory, airspace restrictions were issued in an area around  New Castle Airport that includes Biden’s home.)

  7. Testing sites for coronavirus coming on Monday in all three Delaware counties. (In late March, Delaware was rolling out tests as coronavirus case numbers surged)

  8. State caps occupancy at 100 after photos indicate crowded conditions at Christiana Mall food court. (State health officials say the food court was meeting occupancy limits, but later affirmed that the scene was a potential spreading event and capped)

  9. Photos appear to show packed Christiana Mall food court. (Crowding at the popular area drew criticism)

  10. Rehoboth closes beach-boardwalk after crowds appeared on Friday. (A warm spell around St. Patrick’s Day brought crowds.

  11. Troopers identify man elderly couple slain at Veterans Cemetery. (No motive was determined for the Middletown man who shot the couple and was later killed)

  12. Wilmington station convenience store fined $100 for Covid-19 violations. (Public healthOfficials reported the station/convenience store was twice found to be violating Covid-19 rules)

  13. Beauty salons, barbershops, nail salons not part of Carney’s opening order. (The governor took heat for keeping establishments while others opened.

  14. Christiana, Concord Malls close. (Gov. Carney ordered all non-essential businesses to be closed. The malls made their own decision to close since few interior stores met the definition).

  15. Delaware now offers online driver’s license renewals. (This was one of the few stories  was not tied to coronavirus, since the announcement was made in January)

  16. Christiana Mall store roster grows on first reopening weekend as Apple and Penney stores remain closed. (The state’s largest mall did not see an instant reopening after restrictions were reduced as some national companies opted to keep locations shuttered.

  17. Grocers announce morning hours for seniors at greater risk for coronavirus. (While not always barring younger adults, many stores continue to offer special morning  hours for the elderly.)

  18. $300 a week lost wages benefit coming to jobless Delawareans. (The program created by an executive order from President Trump quickly ran out of money. The payments will resume under a recently signed stimulus bill.)

  19. Carney issues stay at home order. (The order closed non-essential businesses. While damaging to the economy, a CDC study indicated that it was effective in limiting the spread of the virus that could have overwhelmed hospitals.

  20. State releases no-essential business list) (Car sales, pet daycare centers, and other businesses were allowed to reopen under a system that required appointments)

  21. Wilmington ranked as the 5th most dangerous city. The state’s largest city has cut its crime rate but has more to do. Ranking came before the coronavirus crisis was added to the mix.

  22. Christiana Mall cuts hours of operation. (At around the time of the stay at home order, the state’s malls voluntarily cut their hours of operation.)

  23. Delaware DMV goes to appointment-only policy for its lobbies. (The agency closed lobbies to walk-ins, due to the virus)

  24. Covid map shows a cluster of cases along the Delaware River. (The Division of Public Health showed a hotspot along the river, which has a large percentage of low-income residents.)

  25. New computer model suggests Delaware could begin to ease social distancing (By late April, Delaware had flattened the curve to the point that it had become one of a couple of dozen states that could ease curbs. However, with fewer restrictions in place, the state saw an uptick in cases that continues to this day).

  26. Delaware to see Phase 1 opening of restaurants, hotels and stores on June 1. (Delaware was slower than some Sun Belt states in reopening businesses. It led to reopening protests and Republicans taking aim at the governor’s actions)

  27. Delaware to issue more guidance on essential, nonessential businesses. The mid-May guide still excluded tattoo parlors and facial treatment businesses)

  28. Some businesses deemed essential while others did not make the cut. (The late March list came with winners and losers. States were left with little federal guidance leading to a patchwork of policies).

  29. Costco, BJ’s warehouse clubs to add hours for members 60 and over. (Customers flocked to  the warehouse clubs during the pandemic, while smaller businesses faced restrictions in the early months of Covid)

  30. Governor allows all retailers to be open by appointment before June 1.(Covid-19 fatigue was setting and economic damage was growing as Gov. Carney loosened restrictions)

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