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Carney eases indoor gathering restrictions


As Delaware’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers continue to fall, Gov. John Carney eased more restrictions Friday, including limits on public indoor events and gyms.

Gov. John Carney at an April 2020 COVID-19 press conference. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

Under the latest order, capacity for public events and gatherings at businesses and other indoor spaces was raised from 10 people to 25 people, or at 50% of stated fire occupancy restrictions, whichever is less. Event organizers must submit a plan to the Division of Public Health (DPH) to host larger events for up to 150 people.

Outdoor gatherings are still limited to 50 people, or up to 250 with an approved plan from DPH. 

The limit for private indoor gatherings and events, such as birthday parties, remains at 10 people.

“We are making progress in our fight against COVID-19. Hospitalizations are down more than 50% from our winter peak, and Delaware providers have administered more than 164,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Carney said in a press statement. “But let’s keep doing what works until we can get enough Delawareans vaccinated.”

Event organizers must contact DPH at HSPContact@delaware.gov at least a week prior to the event ​for permission to host indoor gatherings of over 25 people, up to 150 people, or outdoor gatherings of over 50 people, up to 250 people. 

Businesses and other event hosts must continue to follow the state and local COVID-19 restrictions, including masking and social distancing requirements. Indoor gatherings with fewer than 25 people and outdoor gatherings with fewer than 50 people do not require a plan, but must follow all other applicable requirements.

In addition, Carney’s latest order raises capacity requirements for group activities in gyms to 15 attendees, excluding staff. Previously, gym classes were capped at 10. Gyms are still limited at 50% of fire occupancy requirements, and staff must allow 20 feet between classes. Social distancing and masks are still required.

As of Feb. 17, there are 197 Delawareans hospitalized and 18 in critical condition, according to DPH. There were 284 new cases reported.

At its peak and its deadliest, Delaware reported 474 hospitalizations in mid-January after the winter holidays. The state reported its single highest coronavirus case count on Jan. 6 at 1,241.

Wear a mask. Avoid large gatherings where this virus can spread. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Stay vigilant,” Carney said.


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