Gov. John Carney is taking new actions to loosen restrictions on public gatherings and advance an equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the First State.
The latest modification to Carney’s emergency declaration eases restrictions on businesses and indoor gatherings, bringing capacity restrictions back up to 50 percent capacity starting February 12th.
Restaurants and other businesses were restricted to 30 percent capacity, which received pushback from business owners and some state lawmakers.
The order also brings back youth and amatuer sports tournaments provided they follow DPH guidelines. It also ends the requirement to self-quarantine fort those that travel to out-of-state tyournaments or competition. But it still strongly encourages such quarantines.
The update order also requires all vaccine providers to report complete demographic information to the state within 24 hours.
All vaccine providers are also mandated to administer the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge, though insurance information can be collected. Vaccines have thus far been free for all Delawareans.
Failure to report demographic data could result in fines for the provider or loss of vaccination privileges.
The order also requires vaccine providers to make sure those receiving the vaccines are authorized to do so, ensuring they're in the right group. Anyone who knowingly vaccinations someone out of order faces licensing discipline by the state.
But there are exemptions in the case of extra vaccine doses. Sometimes a vaccine clinic has a few extra doses at the end of the day, and they can't be saved once taken out of frozen storage. If a provider can't find anyone in the right distribution group, the provider can offer the extra doses to anyone who wants them.
And Carney’s order allows everyone to vote absentee in the upcoming municipal elections this spring as a temporary way to allow absentee voting before a constitutional amendment opening up the option to all gets voted on by the General Assembly.
Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.