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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.

Take-out beer, closed bowling alleys and more telemedicine options under updated emergency order

Tom Byrne/Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney is taking new steps to try and slow the spread of new coronavirus cases in the First State.



Carney announced this Wednesday that he is expanding his State of Emergency order to include closing bowling alleys, movie theaters, fitness centers and health spas. 

The order also allows restaurants, brewpubs, taverns and taprooms that previously sold alcohol to do so with takeout and drive-through food orders. Alcohol cannot exceed 40 percent of the total sale.


The governor says the goal remains minimizing a bigger spike in cases locally.


“For anyone out there that doesn’t think this is serious, I hope that our actions over the last few days have indicated how wrong that thinking is," said Carney.

Carney has also set up a loan program for restaurants, bars and other hospitality-related businesses to help them survive being unable to offer service beyond take-out. The state has also taken a variety of steps expand eligibility for unemployment benefits and get people signed up quikcly.


“Before this crisis is over, we will see other industries shaken as well. And our normal way of life will be altered in a very serious and significant way," said Carney. "We will do our best to help everyone – everyone in our state - every business and every employee – through this.”

Carney has also made changes to expand access to telemedicine. Under the updated emergency declaration, Delaware residents do not need to be present in-person before telemedicine services can start and do not need to be in the state at the time the telemedicine services are provided. The changes also loosen restrictions on out-of-state telemedicine providers to begin serving Delawareans. 


Delawareans could take out alcohol starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Other changes go into effect at8am Thursday.


Carney adds he state is examining its hospitals’ situation – and how “surge capacity” could be created if they are suddenly faced with a high volume of cases.

“We’re looking at the possibility of standing up hospitals outside the regular hospitals to create that capacity," said Carney. "It is a big concern of all the governors.”


Carney says they are also already looking at scenarios where schools remain closed for a longer period of time than two weeks.

And when asked about more extreme measures, like regulating when people could shop for groceries, Carney suggested nothing is off the table.


"Nothing sounds crazy or out of the question at this juncture,"said Carney. "But what we're encouraging people to do is jus go an but what you need."


Delaware public health officials reported 10 additional cases of COVID-19 Wednesday— 5 in New Castle County, two in Sussex County and the first three discovered in Kent County.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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