Delaware Sets June 1 as Date for ‘Phase 1' Reopening, Expands Testing

Gov. John Carney said the June 1 date is contingent on residents continuing to stay at home and containment of a hotspot in Sussex County.

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Delaware will begin its first phase of a statewide economic reopening on June 1, Gov. John Carney said Friday, contigent upon some positive developments through the end of May.

A stay-at-home order will remain in effect through May 31, and a hotspot of Covid-19 cases in Sussex County must be contained successfully if the state's reopening is to begin, Carney said.

Specifics about what the June 1 reopening will look like were not detailed Friday, but Carney promised to explain more next week. Some small businesses are expected to reopen in the weeks ahead.

"All Delawareans – myself included – are ready to get our economy going again. But our response to COVID-19 has been driven by the science since Day 1 and will continue to be driven by the science," Carney said. "The good news is our numbers in New Castle and Kent counties continue to move in the right direction. That means Delawareans are doing their part. They’ve stayed at home and practiced social distancing."

Delaware is also rolling out, beginning May 8, an extensive testing system for state residents, with the capacity to test up to 80,000 monthly. That will be an increase of four times the current amount of testing being conducted.

Testing will still be prioritized for the following:

  • Any symptomatic individual.
  • Anyone with known exposure to COVID-19.
  • Vulnerable Delaware populations, including elderly Delawareans and members of low-income communities.
  • Certain front-line essential workers

Carney said another announcement next week will give details on an expanded contact tracing test system.

Some small businesses, meanwhile, will begin to reopen this month, though with strict rules in place.

"Over the next couple weeks, we will build on the interim steps we took today, allowing certain small businesses to safely operate curbside, or by appointment only," Carney said. "We have heard the voices of small business owners loud and clear, and expect to move forward with a rolling reopening of Delaware's economy. We will not hesitate to allow additional businesses to open before June 1, if we can do so safely."

Delaware health officials said Friday that an additional 11 state residents died of the COVID-19 disease, bringing the total fatalities to 213. More than 6,000 residents have been infected.

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