Newark drops strict gathering limit as new coronavirus cases fall statewide
As coronavirus cases in the First State continue to drop, one of the state’s largest cities has relaxed its restrictions on gatherings.
The City of Newark kept a stricter limit on social gatherings than the state for months, banning gatherings of more than 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors without a permit.
City Council members voted Monday to void that ban, but debated whether to drop it immediately or on June 1, as University of Delaware students leave campus.
Councilwoman Dwendolyn Creecy, whose father contracted COVID, advocated for keeping the limit in place until then.
“I almost lost my dad,” she said. “So to me, a week—eh. It’s not really a big deal.”
But Councilman Travis McDermott said that argument doesn’t follow the science.
“Now this has morphed into, we don’t want the kids to party,” he said. “But the intent of this ordinance was to stop the spread of the coronavirus. So if that was the intent, then it would be my suggestion that this ordinance become effective immediately.”
Council ultimately voted to drop the restrictions immediately.
They’ll go back into effect if the City sees a rate of new cases higher than 125 per 100,000 residents, or a test positivity rate above 6% for two weeks in a row.
In the past week, the City has averaged a rate of around 9 new cases per 100,000 residents.
Newark’s gathering limits now revert to Gov. John Carney’s most recent Emergency Order, which allows indoor public gatherings of up to 250 people without approval from the state.