Coronavirus recovery: Delaware Park reduces horse-racing crowd capacity

The field of horses races down the front stretch on opening day at Delaware Park in Stanton, Delaware. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

The field of horses races down the front stretch on opening day at Delaware Park in Stanton, Delaware. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

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Delaware reported 10,889 cases on Wednesday afternoon, up 42 from the day before. There was one more death, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 505.

Delaware Park reduces horse racing crowd capacity

Hundreds of horse racing fans turned out last week for opening day at Delaware Park in Stanton. The races on Thursday marked the first live spectator sport to return in the state since the coronavirus shutdown.

Under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, the track is allowed to have 60% of its maximum capacity. That’s about 3,000 people, according to Kevin DeLucia, chief financial officer and senior vice president at Delaware Park.

But less than one week into the delayed racing season, track officials have reversed course and will now limit attendance to just 1,000 people.

They say the change is being made “to better monitor the compliance of the required COVID-19 patron safety protocols.” If compliance with those requirements, including mandatory face masks inside the clubhouse and grandstands, the attendance limits may be increased, track officials said in a statement.

While not addressing the track specifically, Gov. John Carney said he noticed some sporting events where safety protocols were not being followed. In his weekly briefing on Tuesday, Carney said there were some violations of social distancing and mask requirements at amateur baseball games over the past week.

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Senate approves nine COVID-19 bills

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent emergency orders, Carney issued several orders modifying some state rules to make it easier for struggling businesses to stay afloat. Some of those temporary orders have now been extended under legislation approved Tuesday by the state Senate.

One measure now awaiting Carney’s signature is a bill that would allow alcohol to be sold via take-out, curbside or drive-through service through the end of March 2021. Another allows state agencies to accept bids for permits and proposals electronically through next March.

Couples applying for a marriage license will be allowed to appear before an issuing officer who can witness their signature on a license application virtually, instead of in person. That change would remain in effect until June 30, 2021 if the House also approves and Carney signs it.

Wilmington Chorus camp goes virtual (for free)

The Wilmington Children’s Chorus won’t be able to hold an in-person camp this year, but the city is offering a virtual version of the camp to all kids in the city who have finished grades 2-8.

“We are so excited to offer our popular summer day camp in this new virtual format,” said WCC Artistic Director Kimberly Doucette. “Even though we can’t see our campers face-to-face, this is a great way to make music, learn new skills, and interact with others who love to sing.”

The camp, held July 6-24, will feature pre-recorded lessons and activities that will be made available online, as well as a chance to join in a collaborative live music making via Zoom classes with teachers for an hour each day.

This year’s camp is being offered free thanks to grant funding from the Delaware Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund.

The choir produces annual Candlelight Holiday Concerts and Spring Concerts and performs with the area’s top professional arts organizations, including The Delaware Symphony Orchestra and OperaDelaware. The choir holds auditions for new members, ages 8-18, in early September and January.

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