Lifeguards positive for coronavirus

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has announced new state park beach restrictions effective Friday, July 3, and until further notice.

The restrictions are an attempt to reach Gov. John Carney’s goal of limiting interactions among people at the beach to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island State Parks will be limited to approximately 60% of the parking capacity. When the 60% capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks. These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by natural resources police, will not be managed based on a “one-in, one-out” policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.

At Cape Henlopen, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.

At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf fishing beaches, natural resources police officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach. They will close drive-on beach entrances if vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles mandated by the Governor’s emergency order.

Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas at all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach.

Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.

“Last weekend, we saw all our ocean parks go to capacity, we saw a number of people not wearing masks in bathhouse and concession areas where they were around others and we saw groupings of people and activities on our beaches, including in surf fishing areas, that clearly violated the requirements of social distancing,” department secretary Shawn Garvin said. “This limit on visitors to our beach parks is another measure to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

Two Delaware State Parks beach lifeguards have tested positive for the coronavirus and are now isolating at home. The Division of Public Health is conducting contact tracing. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to use "a strict cleaning protocol for public spaces and sanitizing of staff workstations."