Carney announces first steps to reopening, more testing

More small businesses can open with restrictions like curbside pickup or appointment only starting Friday, May 8 at 8 a.m.

Gov. John Carney announced these interim steps May 5. The goal is to provide economic relief to Delaware citizens and businesses while following health and safety guidelines. The steps should help everyone adapt to new ways of operating once the first phase of reopening begins.

“I understand how hard this has been for Delawareans across our state. We’ve tried to find ways to ease the pain without compromising public health,” Carney said. “But even these limited steps allowing businesses to offer additional services will require strict compliance with safety standards, especially social distancing. We cannot afford to go backwards and see new cases and hospitalizations spike. Getting used to a new normal won’t be easy, but this is the first step to being able to reopen our economy.”

Retailers that can maintain social distancing can open for curbside pickup. They include:

Clothing stores Shoe stores Sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments Book, periodical, music stores Department stores Tobacco and Vape Other general merchandise Office supply, stationery, and gift stores Used merchandise stores Consumer goods rental

Jewelry stores may open by appointment only, and the governor asked the Division of Small Business to consider changes like this for other similar retailers.

The only cosmetic service allowed is hair care. It can only be offered to workers at essential businesses.

Guidelines:

Salons must schedule no more than two appointments at a time. They should not allow more customers than the number of available staff. They must leave 15 minutes between appointments for proper cleaning. Employees and customers must wear cloth face masks at all times, and customers must cancel appointments if they have any reason to believe they may be ill or may have come into contact with the virus. Staff must wear disposable gloves when providing services and must throw away gloves between customers and wash hands. The employer must require employees to report their temperature daily. Anything above 99.5 means they are ineligible to work. Customer stations must be sanitized between use, along with any equipment used for the customer. Any item a customer handles (like a magazine) must leave with the customer. The entrance door must remain locked to outside to prevent walk-ins.

At golf courses, golf carts are allowed for one rider at a time with proper cleaning between customers.

Drive-thru movies are permitted, but patrons must remain inside vehicles and social distancing must be maintained at all times.

Employees required to report to work as a result of these changes will now be permitted to use child care services, provided neither parent works from home and they do not have alternate care.

Nursing home testing

In a second announcement May 5, Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19.

DPH will provide nursing homes with tests, testing supplies, training, and support for the universal testing program to protect the most vulnerable Delawareans. Expanding COVID-19 testing capacity for vulnerable populations is a requirement of federal guidance for economic reopening.

Public health experts at DPH will support clinicians at nursing homes with the new testing program. DPH will provide guidance on testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic persons and the interpretation of results. DPH will provide recommendations to protect residents and staff based on results, including transmission-based precautions, isolation and patient and staff management strategies.

“Residents of long-term care facilities are extremely vulnerable to complications from the virus that causes COVID-19 due to chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of DPH. “We are incredibly pleased to be able to support this testing strategy which will enable us to help the facilities better identify outbreaks among both staff and residents and contain the spread of the disease through a variety of interventions. It is an important component in our rapidly expanding testing strategy.”