Coronavirus recovery: Delaware poised for Phase 2 of ‘gradually turning the lights on’

State officials encourage business to earn what Gov. John Carney calls the

State officials encourage business to earn what Gov. John Carney calls the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" for meeting safety benchmarks. (State of Delaware)

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As of Friday morning, Delaware has reported 10,173 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases and 414 related deaths. Currently, 100 patients are hospitalized.

Restaurants, saloons, malls, churches, hotels, museums and most other business in Delaware will be able to double the number of people they can have inside their facilities to 60 percent of capacity starting Monday as the Carney administration begins Phase 2 of coronavirus recovery.

In addition, convention centers and meeting spaces can open as long as they don’t have more than 50 people inside. Summer camps and summer schools can operate too. All parents can now send their children to daycare, which had been limited to employees deemed essential.

Not every business can have 60 percent of capacity, however. Hair and nail salons and other personal-care providers such as massage therapists and makeup artists must still limit their facilities to 30 percent of capacity.

Some industries also remain closed, such as sports facilities and related venues including bowling alleys, arcades, and playgrounds.

“We’re gradually turning the lights on as we ramp up,’’ Gov. John Carney said while reminding residents and merchants to be strict about physical distancing and mask-wearing to contain the spread of the virus that has infected more than 10,100 residents and contributed to the deaths of more than 400 since the first case was recorded  three months ago.

“It’s not time to be complacent and not time to declare victory and move on,’’ said the governor, who extended the State of Emergency order he put in place March 12. “It’s to time to lean into getting a real return on the tremendous costs that has been borne by the broader society and in particular by certain businesses and certain employees that weren’t able to get income during the last several months.”

Carney is also encouraging companies to meet 10 benchmarks for safety to earn what he’s calling the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

It’s a sticker with the words COVID-19 Customer Protection Standards above a heart that business can put on their windows.

Damian DeStefano, the state’s small business director, said more than 600 businesses have already earned what he called the “window cling.”

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