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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 to end its COVID emergency order

Delaware Public Media

The order allowing unprecedented levels of authority in state government as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic is ending.

Gov. John Carney’s office announced Tuesday plans to lift Delaware’s COVID-19 State of Emergency Order on July 13.

The order has been in effect since March of last year. It was put into place after the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak which is linked to the deaths of more than 1,600 Delawareans.

The order afforded special emergency powers to state agencies, including the ability to shut down events, inspect businesses and require individuals to quarantine. It also allowed for special use of the Delaware National Guard, which Carney took time to thank on Tuesday.

“I don’t think they’ve ever had a mission like this in the history of the guard, going all the way back to its inception, as we’ve had in the past year of COVID-19," said Carney. "Whatever we’ve needed them to do, they’ve stepped up to the plate.”    

Carney adds that while those and other powers end, mask-wearing will continue to be required in venues like prisons and public transportation.

“So essentially the mask requirements won’t be part of the emergency, but they will be recommendations that we make for various venues,” he said.    

The emergency order completely shut down the state for several weeks creating a spike in unemployment. It halted in-person learning in schools for months and resulted in dozens of fines to Delaware businesses and the shutdown of others.

The decision to end the order comes alongside other states like Maryland, New York and California ending their orders.

In a statement, Carney said Delaware now has “the tools to prevent COVID-19 infection, serious illness and hospitalization,” and he continues to encourage Delawareans to get the COVID vaccine.

More than 68 percent of Delaware adults have now received at least one shot.

Carney has also made a new modification to the order lifting requirements of educators to wear masks in schools when children are not present. Both students and staff are not required to wear a mask when outdoors.

This story has been updated.


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