Delaware beach bars to close again Friday; Phase Two to continue indefinitely

Beach bars in Delaware will close Friday, ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, after an uptick in several COVID-19 metrics, Gov. John Carney announced.

“We have a little bit of a fire that’s been starting in our beach communities and we need to put it out,’’ Delaware’s governor said at a news conference Tuesday.

Carney also put off indefinitely the state’s planned move into Phase Three of the lifting of safety restrictions.

“We’re in better shape” than states such as Texas and Florida, where cases are getting out of control, Carney said, but though the 14-day trend for hospitalizations looks good, the number of new cases and the percentage of tests that come back positive are “gradually moving upward.”

The governor said that the largest recent increase in beach areas comes among people ages 17 to 18, followed by those between 18 and 30.

He placed some of the responsibility on “the complacency that we see,” especially among younger people, about following guidelines regarding social distancing and masks.

Carney said the state will stay in Phase Two “until we get a better handle on where this surge is coming from, and we nip it in the bud.”

Three lifeguards in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, the town announced.

Delaware’s health officer, Dr. Karyl Rattay, said that there have been clusters of cases among lifeguards and restaurant workers near the beaches, as well as full-time residents of those communities.

At a recent testing event in Rehoboth Beach, 9.5% of more than 1,000 people tested came back positive, and while the age range was 17 to 72, the average age was 29.5, she said.

At a recent small testing event of 92 restaurant workers in Dewey Beach, 14.8% came back positive, she added. Most were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, which is good news for them but not necessarily the people they come into contact with.

The news comes on the same day that health officials in Loudoun County, Virginia, have identified a group trip to Myrtle Beach as one of the main factors in an outbreak among young people in that county.

Carney said the outbreak in beach communities was “not quite as serious yet” as that among poultry plants in the state, but that young people in beach communities live, work and hang out together, which facilitates the spread of COVID-19.

“Wear a face mask … mostly out of respect for others,” Carney said. “Too many people have sacrificed too much for us to have another uptick.”

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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