Delaware restaurants can apply for outdoor seating; churches can have outside gatherings as reopening proceeds

Gov. John Carney announced Saturday that restaurants can apply for outdoor seating and churches may conduct outside gatherings under a revised state of emergency.

“We want everyone to enjoy Delaware’s great restaurants, bars and craft breweries, but we’re asking that you do so safely, in a way that protects our neighbors and members of all of our families,” Carney said in a statement. “We know Delaware’s hospitality industry has been hit especially hard by this crisis.”

All Delaware food and drink establishments may apply to their local municipal or county jurisdiction with plans to expand outdoor seating, officials said.

The Delaware Office of Alcohol Beverage Control also will review plans submitted by applicants with liquor licenses, officials said. Delaware restaurants and bars are scheduled to open their indoor spaces at 30% of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning June 1.

To help businesses prepare for reopening, Delaware launched a new Business to Business Toolkit to help connect businesses with vendors selling masks, gloves and other protective supplies, officials said.

The toolkit includes a listing of self-reported information from suppliers that responded to Carney’s Community Call-to-Action. Businesses are advised to take an appropriate level of caution in verifying the vendor information before contracting for products or services.

Carney also updated guidance for churches and other communities of worship.

Churches and houses of worship may conduct outdoor services without limitations on gathering sizes, as long as they follow social distancing and other basic health precautions, including around hand washing and face coverings, officials said.

Communities of worship must post signage detailing basic health precautions, including information about social distancing, frequent hand washing and the use of face coverings.

Churches and houses of worship also should discourage attendees 65 and older from attending services because of their greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and falling seriously ill, officials said.