Delaware Begins Phase I of the Reopening Plan

June 3, 2020Alerts

On June 1, 2020, the State of Delaware commenced Phase 1 of its three-part reopening plan. This phase allows certain public-facing businesses to reopen with limited capacity, subject to social distancing guidelines.

On May 31, 2020, Gov. John Carney provided guidelines on Phase 1 of the plan when he issued the Twentieth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat. This alert outlines provisions of note to Delaware businesses.

Restrictions on Reopening

Some businesses and facilities open to the public may now reopen subject to a 30 percent capacity limit determined by the establishment’s current fire occupancy limit. This includes business such as hotels and other commercial lodging, restaurants, barbershops, hair salons, tanning salons, gyms, retail establishments, malls, casinos, houses of worship and museums, among others.

Restaurants and hair salons and certain other business must require reservations or appointments, and the appointments must be staggered.

Business owners are required to take certain additional precautions, which include:

  • Require patrons, visitors, and employees to wear cloth face coverings.
  • Enforce social distancing of six feet between persons who are not of the same household.
  • Use ventilation to create open-air flow, for example, opening windows and doors during operating hours.
  • Disinfect surfaces frequently, at least every 15 minutes and no less than once every two (2) hours.
  • Avoid shared workstations if possible. If necessary, shared workstations and equipment should be cleaned after each use.
  • Limit cash transactions.
  • Provide sanitizing or hand washing stations for patrons and employees.
  • Provide sanitizer for employees and require it to be used frequently.
  • Take precautions not to allow patrons to share beverages (unless they are in the same household).
  • Post signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Designate employees to ensure compliance with all of the above requirements.

These businesses must also ensure that symptomatic employees do not go to work. Employers must prohibit any employees who have been told to isolate or quarantine from returning to work until they are cleared. Employers should also take the utmost precautions when they discover an employee is sick and separate them from other individuals immediately.

Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings

Also of note are the latest provisions regarding indoor and outdoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 persons are not permitted until after June 15, 2020. However, outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people, for events such as weddings and graduations, are permitted, but hosts and venues must comply with the following guidelines:

  • Provide materials and equipment necessary for proper hand hygiene.
  • Enforce social distancing of at least six (6) feet between individuals who are not from the same household.
  • Require the use of face coverings.
  • And venues must also use a mechanism for limiting attendance.

Outdoor gatherings of more than 250 people must submit a plan for approval to the COVID-19 task team, comprised of the Division of Small Business and the Division of Public Health, for approval at least seven (7) days prior to the anticipated event. A list of what the plan must include can be found in paragraph 3 of the Twentieth Modification.

The State continues to encourage individuals to comply with the “Minimum Social Distancing Requirements,” which include:

  • Maintain at least a six-foot distance from any individual who is not a member of their household or a caregiver to someone in their household.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with something other than one’s hands.
  • Regularly clean high-touch surfaces.
  • Refrain from shaking hands.

For more information, consult the Twentieth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat.