Stay-at-home order issued in Delaware starting Tuesday; COVID-19 cases jump to 87

Delaware Gov. John Carney on Sunday issued a stay-at-home order, closing “non-essential” businesses to attempt to blunt the intensity of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Carney’s emergency declaration takes effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Under the order, Delaware’s 975,000 residents who otherwise don’t work at the exempted businesses will be allowed only to leave their homes to get groceries or a prescription or see a doctor. They also can engage in other activities essential to their health or that of their family members, including their pets.


Residents can also participate in outdoor activities, but must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

The Democratic governor said in an online video that the new restrictions are needed to stem the rate of community spread and to help hospitals handle an expected increase in patients. Violating the order can be a criminal offense, according to his amended emergency declaration.


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Neighboring states have taken similar actions, Carney said, “and we don’t want Delaware to become a destination for residents of other states seeking a more permissive environment.”

Similar orders have been issued in New Jersey and New York. Philadelphia has announced similar restrictions. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses be shuttered.

An earlier emergency declaration from Carney prohibited public gatherings of 50 or more people, but he said not enough people were heeding those warnings. Carney on Saturday had closed the state beaches because too many people were visiting them.

“I understand that these restrictions will have real consequences for real people, but the consequences of not imposing these restrictions are way too serious,” Carney said.

Six individuals are hospitalized and three are critically ill, the Delaware Division of Public Health reported.

Early in the outbreak, at least seven of the COVID-19 patients were tied to the University of Delaware community. 



There are currently 87 COVID-19 cases in Delaware. Below is a breakdown of cases by county:

– New Castle County: 58
– Kent County: 9
– Sussex County: 20


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.