Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Delaware, US, to lift restrictions on some businesses May 8, maintain stay-at-home orders until at least May 15.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Dover, Delaware
  • Wilmington, Delaware

This alert began 07 May 2020 14:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Delaware (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 15
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, movement restrictions

Delaware Governor John Carney announced the lifting of some restrictions for businesses to reopen, May 8, while maintaining orders for residents to stay home, except to perform essential tasks, through at least May 15. Starting 0800 May 8, retail businesses, including clothing, sporting goods, office supplies, books, music, and department stores, will be allowed to reopen only to offer pickup services for customers. Jewelry stores may open only for appointments. Haircare services will be allowed to reopen and offer in-store services, but only for workers at essential businesses, and limiting services to two appointments at a time. Workers and customers must wear face coverings at all times. Other nonessential businesses must remain closed through at least May 15. Employees at nonessential businesses can work from home whenever possible.

Additionally, authorities in Delaware maintain orders requiring residents to stay home, except to perform essential tasks, through May 15. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining a proper distance from others, or go to work at an essential business or service. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and companies and non-profits dedicated to food, security, transport, shelter, energy, and critical manufacturing are considered essential businesses and services, and may remain open.

Authorities have also extended other restrictions related to the COVID-19 response through May 15, including the ban on gatherings of ten people or more, and the requirement for all travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state. Lodging businesses, including hotels and short-term accommodations at residential properties, are closed to leisure guests until at least May 15. Lodging businesses can only provide services to people working in essential services, victims of domestic violence, and people displaced from their homes. Schools are closed for in-person lessons through the end of the academic year. All residents must wear face coverings in public places.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Delaware authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all non-essential travel in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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