The First State will take a significant step forward in reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic later this month, lifting capacity restrictions on most indoor venues.
Capacity restrictions at Delaware restaurants, stores, places of worship and other businesses end on May 21, allowing them to use as much capacity as social distancing requirements will allow.
The state is also shrinking social distancing requirments from six to three feet. But the state will still require masks to be worn indoors.
“The science is so supportive that masks make a huge difference and spread is higher indoors. So, for now, continuing mask wearing indoors is going to be important,” said Delaware’s Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.
Outdoors, the state is telling Delawareans to follow masking guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state notes the risk for COVID-19 spread increases in large crowds that include unvaccinated people. In those situations, the CDC recommends that everyone continue to wear a maske and the Div. of Public Health require masks for crowded venues and large gatherings including concerts, sporting events, etc.
State approved plans are also still required for indoor or outdoor events of more than 250 people and patrons at restaurants are required to remain seated unless the venue has an approved plan for a dance floor.
Gov. John Carney says he isn’t basing the level of restrictions on a specific percentage of the population getting vaccinated, but he adds the state is “leaning in” to get as many Delawareans vaccinated as possible.
“This is the biggest step towards loosening restrictions that we’ve had in the past year, and it’s primarily because of the number and rate of vaccinations,” said Carney at a press conference Tuesday. “We still need to do more.”
The changes to restrictiuons come as Delaweare's COVID-19 case numbers drop. The 7-day average of new cases is just under 227 while the average of positive test has dipped to 4.5%. Hospitalizations are also down to 128, the lowest mark since March 28.
Vaccine doses administered in Delaware are approaching 800,000. More than half of Delawareans 16 and older have received at least one shot. And just over 300,000 people are considered fully vaccinated.