Gov. John Carney has been coming under increasing fire by the state’s small business community for lingering Covid-19 restrictions.
The latest to chime in was Rob Martinelli, publisher of Delaware Today and the Delaware Business Times.
Martinelli praised the Florida economy under Gov. Ron DeSantis and contrasted that performance with conditions in Delaware. He does appear to part ways with DeSantis on the need to keep masking mandates in place.
A thriving Sunshine State economy could be the springboard for the outspoken Republican governor to make a run at the White House – if the current Mar-A-Largo, Florida resident sits out.
Martinelli was especially critical of the current 50 percent cap on restaurant occupancy.
Florida’s jobless rate is indeed far lower than Delaware’s figure. Also, the reported Florida death rate from Covid-19 is actually a tad lower than First State figures.
But as governors are fond of doing, DeSantis is taking credit for the actions of others.
Much of Florida’s massive senior population took the pandemic seriously after seeing the horrors in New York and adjacent areas.
Local governments also issued masks mandates, despite conflicting advice from the DeSantis administration. As study after study indicates, the mandates helped to curb the pandemic.
There is also controversy over whether the DiSantis administration “cooked the numbers” on Covid-19-related deaths. Embattled Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces similar allegations.
It’s a little unfair to compare Democrat Carney to DeSantis, especially in the hospitality industry.
Florida is a world unto itself, and Delaware, even with global warming, is a long way from having palm trees and 80-degree days in February. As East Coast residents grew restless, Florida’s beaches and outdoor living beckoned.
A better comparison might come from Maryland, a neighboring state under GOP Gov. Larry Hogan seems to be faring a bit better than Delaware with fewer restrictions.
In more of a public relations win than anything else, Hogan took away capacity caps on restaurants.
However, distancing restrictions kept capacity at levels that may be comparable to those in Delaware. Hogan also loosened large gathering limits sooner than Carney.
As for the remainder of Delaware’s economy, the picture is mixed. Unlike some neighboring states, Delaware did allow manufacturing and construction work to continue during the pandemic’s early days.
By June and July, most businesses had reopened under restrictions, despite election-year rhetoric to the contrary.
The remaining curbs are puzzling. Adding a few extra tables at your local restaurant would be fine as long as patrons do not feel uncomfortable.
At a town hall briefing last night, Carney, who is in his second and last term, did not budge when lifting the remaining restrictions.
The governor and public health officials continue to monitor an increase in cases that started in mid-March. The next few days should tell us whether the uptick turns into a surge. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.