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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Delaware is flagging non-essential businesses open during shutdown

Delaware Public Media

The state is enforcing Gov. Carney’s Emergency Order by issuing fines to people and businesses who do not follow social distancing rules.

State law enforcement officials say they issued two more cease and desist orders Wednesday to non-essential Delaware businesses for remaining open—a barber shop in Milford and a tobacco shop in Bear. That brings the statewide total to eight businesses flagged since the emergency order went into effect. 

Officials say one of the business owners was also arrested for a separate issue.

Letters warning of shutdown have also been issued to several businesses.

The state has also fined several individuals for not adhering to social distancing guidelines. This includes the hosts of a birthday party in Newark and individuals caught drag racing in southern Delaware.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings calls this time unprecedented.

“This time challenges many of our core values that we hold dear,” said Jennings. “For example: the right to assemble, the right to travel and even our freedom to engage in our own livelihood. But there’s really no greater value that any of us can give than to save lives.”   

Delaware State Police (DSP) are also operating a checkpoint on Naamans Road in Wilmington to stop and inquire about out of state drivers in Delaware. Additional checkpoints have been conducted at locations in Sussex County. Jennings says officer are asking out-of-staters to turn around, but are not “looking to make an arrest.”

Jennings says additional orders for new restrictions will be issued if law enforcement or the governor’s office note a new danger to the public. She cites Carney’s decision to largely shut down Delaware beaches after beachgoers were observed not practicing social distancing there.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings talks about enforcement going forward in the event further measures need to be taken to protect Delawareans from the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“That’s what happens when people don’t obey the order,” she said. “We hope that isn’t necessary in the future, and the measures that have been taken will suffice, but as situations develop, the governor has reacted and we have assisted in that process.” 

Failure to obey an emergency order in Delaware is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $500 and up to 6 months in prison.

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