Delaware – Coronavirus State Actions

Governors are working closely with federal and local officials as well as private sector partners to address the threat of the novel coronavirus. This page lists select actions through 31 July 2020. It is not intended to be exhaustive but is meant to highlight key actions and resources that may inform other states and territories as they prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus. All state actions can be viewed here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for additional information and resources.


Delaware DHSS coronavirus resource page

  • March 12, 2020–Governor Carney issued a State of Emergency declaration to prepare for the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The emergency declaration also:
     
    • Requires the Delaware National Guard to take precautionary and responsive actions to assist with Delaware’s response to the coronavirus; 
    • Advises event organizers in Delaware to cancel non-essential public gatherings of 100 people or more, to prevent community spread of coronavirus; 
    • Allows the State of Delaware to conduct public meetings electronically to prevent unnecessary public gatherings; 
    • Prohibits price gouging, or an excessive price increase of goods or services, during the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • March 13, 2020–The Governor directed a two-week closure of Delaware public schools
  • March 16, 2020 – The Delaware Department of Education received a waiver from the federal government to allow school nutrition programs to provide meals to students during the closure.
  • March 14, 2020 – The Governor authorized all executive branch agencies to conduct public meetings electronically to prevent unnecessary public gatherings until further notice.
  • March 16, 2020 – The Delaware Department of Transportation announced at the state’s three toll plazas there will be no toll collectors working to collect cash payments. All traffic will be directed through the EZPass lanes and motorists without EZPass will receive a bill in the mail for the toll with no penalty or processing fee.
  • March 16, 2020 – The Governor modified the March 12 emergency declaration to limit Delaware restaurants, taverns and bars to take-out and delivery service. The declaration that took effect at 8:00 PM on March 16 also bans public gatherings of 50 or more people, consistent with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and closes gaming activity at Delaware casinos. The modification also provides Delaware’s Secretary of Labor authorization to develop emergency rules to protect Delaware workers and ensure that unemployment benefits are available for Delawareans whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • March 18, 2020 – The Governor announced the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program to provide financial relief for restaurants, bars and other hospitality industry businesses.
  • March 18, 2020 – The Governor approved the following changes to Delaware’s unemployment benefits program for the hospitality industry:
    • The Department of Labor (DOL) will begin processing unemployment claims as they are received with the goal of benefits becoming available within a week;
    • DOL will allow part-time income while collecting benefits as long as employees can demonstrate their decreased hours and earnings; and
    • DOL will not classify tipped employees as minimum wage earners as long as their tips are reported as wages.
  • March 18, 2020 – The Governor issued a second modification to his emergency declaration that allows any restaurant, brewpub, tavern or taproom with a valid on-premise license to sell alcoholic beverages as part of transactions for take-out food or drive through food service.  The modification also requires the closure of bowling alleys, movie theaters, fitness centers and health spas.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order to allow flexibility to provide child care options for Delaware families and health care workers.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor announced a coordinated statewide plan to ensure individuals have access to safe and efficient testing in Delaware. Tests will be administered at no cost to patients.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor announced the state and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are partnering to make more, much-needed hand sanitizer available to the state government.
  • March 21, 2020 – The Governor issued a third modification to his emergency declaration, ordering Delaware beaches closed. The public is prohibited from accessing the beach except to exercise or walk dogs where dogs are permitted.
  • March 22, 2020 – The Governor issued the fourth and fifth modifications to his emergency declaration, ordering Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closing all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
  • March 23, 2020 – The Governor declared a Public Health Emergency and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) issued a companion order focused on the following:
    • Nurses, doctors, mental health care providers, pharmacists and other health care professionals who have active licenses or certificates of good standing in any U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide in-person health care services in Delaware throughout the emergency, as well as telemedicine services; and
    • Delaware health care professionals whose licenses expired in the last five years are authorized to provide health care services in Delaware, assuming their licenses were in good standing for the five-year period.
  • March 23, 2020 – The Governor ordered all Delaware schools to remain closed through at least Friday, May 15, 2020.
  • March 24, 2020 – The Governor issued the sixth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, moving Delaware’s presidential primary to June 2, and suspending residential foreclosures and evictions.
  • March 25, 2020 – The Governor announced a modified state of emergency requiring insurers not to cancel or fail to renew the insurance policies of those people and business facing economic impacts.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Governor announced the expansion of the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (H.E.L.P.) to provide financial relief for additional industries impacted and makes personal care services businesses.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Governor announced a new program to provide emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave.
  • March 27, 2020 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Delaware’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables Delaware to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, lift prior authorization requirements and extend fair hearing timelines
  • March 29, 2020 – The Governor Sunday signed the seventh modification to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering all out-of-state travelers into Delaware to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days to fight the spread of COVID-19.
  • March 30, 2020 – The Governor signed the eighth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, which allows child care programs in Delaware to be designated as emergency child care sites.
  • April 1, 2020 – The Governor signed the ninth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, further limiting public gatherings and ordering essential businesses to limit public gatherings to 10 people through May 15, or until the public health threat has been eliminated. The order includes public gatherings include weddings, funerals, and related activities.
  • April 2, 2020 – The State of Delaware launched an online tool to connect Delawareans offering materials and supplies with organizations, medical providers and others in need of assistance.
  • April 2, 2020 – The Governor announced three dozen inmates who are employed in the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center garment shop began producing cotton face masks for the correctional system and first responders as the Delaware Department of Correction.
  • April 4, 2020 – The Delaware Division of Public Health announced a new collaboration with the United Way of Delaware to increase call center services.
  • April 5, 2020 – The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced that all walk-in access to its public offices will end beginning on Monday, April 6, 2020, customer service needs will be met by appointment, phone, e-mail or online. 
  • April 6, 2020 – The Governor issued the tenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, banning all short-term rental units – including vacation home rentals, hotels, motels, and condo rentals.
  • April 8, 2020 – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) recommended residents should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • April 10, 2020 – The Governor announced the extension of the State of Emergency declaration in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, and announced a partnership with the social network Nextdoor to keep Delawareans informed on the neighborhood level.
  • April 15, 2020 – The Governor issued the eleventh modification to his State of Emergency declaration, requiring stricter guidelines to prevent COVID-19 infections in nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities.
  • April 23, 2020 – The Governor issued the twelfth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, which allows the Public Health Authority to activate more out-of-state health care workers.
  • April 23, 2020 – The Governor announced a statewide public engagement strategy focused on Delaware’s economic reopening and recovery effort.
  • April 24, 2020 – The Governor announced schools will be closed through the academic year.
  • April 25, 2020 – The Governor issued the thirteenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, requiring Delawareans to wear face coverings in public settings, including in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and on public transportation.
  • April 30, 2020 – The Governor issued the fourteenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, providing additional protections for Delaware renters and extending the application deadline for Delaware’s Senior School Property Tax Credit Program until June 1.
  • May 3, 2020 – The Governor along with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a joint multi-state agreement to develop a regional supply chain for personal protective equipment, other medical equipment and testing.
  • May 5, 2020 – The Governor announced a series of interim steps allowing small businesses retailers to resume limited operations effective 8:00 AM on Friday, May 8.
  • May 5, 2020 – The Governor announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19.
  • May 7, 2020 – The Governor signed the fifteenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, rescheduling Delaware’s presidential primary to July 7. The Delaware Department of Elections will mail absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters for the presidential primary election.
  • May 8, 2020 – The Governor announced June 1 as the target date for Phase I of Delaware’s economic reopening. Carney also extended Delaware’s State of Emergency declaration, including the stay-at-home order and its other modifications, through May 31.
  • May 8, 2020 – The Governor announced a significant expansion of Delaware’s statewide testing program for COVID-19 as Delaware moves toward Phase I of an economic reopening.
  • May 10, 2020 – The Governor signed the sixteenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, suspending end-of-year evaluations for educators, professional development requirements and assessments due to the suspension of the school year.
  • May 11, 2020 – The Governor announced the Delaware Farmers’ Market Coalition, a group of market managers from across the state, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) is issuing protocols to help farmers’ markets safely begin opening starting May 15.
  • May 12, 2020 – The Governor announced that the State of Delaware entered into an agreement with the nonpartisan research institution NORC at the University of Chicago to build Delaware’s statewide contact tracing program to contain COVID-19, limit Delawareans’ exposure to the disease, and restart Delaware’s economy.
  • May 14, 2020 – The Governor announced that the State of Delaware will lift restrictions on Delaware beaches and community pools at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22, subject to strict social distancing requirements and other restrictions. Ice cream shops and trucks will reopen with restrictions effective 5:00 p.m. this Friday, May 15.
  • May 15, 2020 – The Governor released guidance for Phase 1 of Delaware’s rolling reopening. Delaware’s Phase 1 reopening plan provides general and sector-specific guidance for Delawareans and Delaware businesses. Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening will begin on June 1.
  • May 18, 2020 – The Governor issued guidance encouraging virtual services for churches and houses of worship while expanding their ability to conduct in-person services with restrictions.
  • May 18, 2020 – The Governor announced a public strategy to plan for the safe reopening of Delaware school buildings. Three COVID-19 School Reopening Working Groups (Health and Wellness, Academics and Equity, and Operations and Services) will advise the Delaware Department of Education (DOE), Delaware school districts and charter schools on ways to safely and effectively reopen Delaware school buildings.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor announced additional interim steps for retail and restaurant businesses to expand operations by appointment beginning tomorrow; restaurants can apply to expand outdoor seating effective June 1.
  • May 21, 2020 – The Division of Public Health (DPH) announced it was awarded a $67 million Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity (ELC) grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement expanded testing capacity for COVID-19, and support the establishment of a modernized public health epidemiologic surveillance system.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor issued an modification to his State of Emergency declaration, formalizing steps to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating capacity.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor launched an public education campaign with beach towns as Delaware beaches reopen.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor announced an proactive Community-based COVID-19 testing strategy working with partners state-wide.
  • May 26, 2020 – The Governor announced the state will lift the ban on short-term rental units and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers on June 1.
  • May 29, 2020 – The Governor issued guidance for summer camps and summer school as Delaware continues a rolling reopening of the economy.
  • June 1, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order creating a Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee (PRAC) to plan for a potential resurgence of COVID-19 in fall 2020.
  • June 2, 2020 – The Governor announced that Phase 2 of Delaware’s economic reopening will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Monday June 15. Retail establishments, restaurants and other businesses that were permitted to open at 30 percent of stated fire capacity in Phase 1 may expand to 60 percent of stated fire occupancy in Phase 2.
  • June 6, 2020– The Governor extended the State of Emergency declaration in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • June 19, 2020 – The Governor issued the 22nd modification to his State of Emergency Order, permitting an expansion of youth sports activities and personal care services to 60 percent if safety guidelines.
  • June 25, 2020 – The Governor announced a delay in moving to Phase 3 of Delaware’s economic reopening.
  • June 30, 2020 – The Governor issued a modification to the State of Emergency declaration closing bars in eastern Sussex County to limit spread of COVID-19 in Delaware’s beach communities.
  • June 30, 2020 – The Governor announced the closure of bars in beach towns indefinitely starting July 3, 2020.
  • July 1, 2020 – The Governor announced a joint effort across executive agencies to create a comprehensive plan to educate Delaware homeowners and renters on the foreclosure and eviction process and provide integrated services, including financial assistance.
  • July 1, 2020 – The Governor signed legislation to make voting by mail an alternative to in-person voting and establishes procedures for voting by mail which mirror the procedures for absentee voting.
  • July 6, 2020 – The  Governor announced the formal extension of the State of Emergency declaration another 30 days.
  • July 15, 2020 – The Secretary of Education released guidance for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 academic year with three different learning scenarios.
  • July 24, 2020 – The Governor issued the 24th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, allowing driver education services to resume immediately, with safety measures. The modification also allows senior centers to open with safety precautions at 30 percent capacity.