Del. coronavirus recovery: Game on for sports tournaments

A youth baseball team practices this week in Pike Creek. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

A youth baseball team practices this week in Pike Creek. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Delaware reported 112 new COVID-19 cases Friday, raising the state’s total to 10,611. There were two more related deaths, raising the total to 433. Currently, 75 people are being hospitalized for the coronavirus.

Game on

Baseball, lacrosse, soccer and many youth and adult sports tournaments can resume in Delaware on Saturday morning once the operators receive approval by state public health officials, Gov John Carney announced Friday in an expansion of the state’s five-day-old Phase 2 reopening.

Tournament plans must include a method to collect contact information for all players, staff, coaches, officials and spectators, as well as team rosters and game schedules, in order to track the spread of the coronavirus in the event of an outbreak.

Not all sports have the go-ahead, however. Basketball is only permitted outside, and so-called high-risk contact sports such as football, wrestling, rugby, and hockey are not permitted.

“We want Delawareans to get outside and enjoy the summer. But everyone should keep in mind that COVID-19 is still active in Delaware,” Carney said in a news release directed not only at sports enthusiasts but all residents and visitors.

“Please wear a face covering. Stay at least six feet away from others outside your household. Wash your hands frequently. This is a deadly disease – especially for our most vulnerable – and that’s the best way to reduce our risk. Stay vigilant.”

In addition, hair salons, barbershops and nail salons can start operating at 60 percent capacity, as can other close-contact personal case providers such as makeup and tattoo artists and massage therapists.

The Grand is holding a drive-in concert series but it will be at the Wilmington riverfront — not its downtown concert halls. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

‘Drive-in concert series’

Arts and entertainment venues are getting creative in Wilmington as Delaware’s economy gradually reopens with rules aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Perhaps the most unique is The Grand’s new “drive-in concert series” that will start July 3.

Performing on that debut night will be The Rock Orchestra, a tribute band that will play songs by the Beatles. The 7 p.m. show won’t be at one of The Grand’s concert halls downtown but at the nearby riverfront in the parking lot of Frawley Stadium, where the city’s minor league Blue Rocks and many local amateur teams play baseball. The concert will be live but can also be heard on FM radio.

Here’s some rules for attendees:

  • Tickets must be purchased in advance.
  • Only passenger vehicles are allowed. That means no buses, party buses, limousines, bicycles or foot traffic.
  • Limit each car to four passengers.
  • Vehicles must be at least six feet apart.
  • Windows can remain open but patrons are encouraged to stay in their vehicles.
  • No food or beverage concessions will be open and alcohol is prohibited.
  • Concertgoers can sit in chairs in the adjoining parking space but must wear a face covering outside.
  • Public restrooms are not available.
  • Anyone who leaves cannot return.

Mark Fields, the Grand’s executive director, said the aim is to “create a safe, comfortable, high-quality experience that will blend the special joy of a live concert, the vibe of a drive-in movie, and the charms of a summer evening outdoors. “We hope that this series of concerts provides a way for our community to welcome live music back into a daily routine that has been dominated by Zooms and TV binge-watching.”

Mayor Mike Purzycki applauded The Grand for finding what he called a “groundbreaking way” to bring live music back to town. “Live music has been Wilmington’s lifeblood over the years, and its recent absence has been keenly felt,’’ Purzycki said.

Tickets are available by calling the box office at 302-652-5577 or online at

Delaware Art Museum reopening July 1

Along with live music returning in an innovative way, the The Delaware Art Museum is reopening on July 1 for members and on July 15 for the general public.

Physical distancing measures include shields at the front desk, cashless transactions and face coverings for visitors. The museum café will remain closed.

The two spring exhibitions — Layered Abstraction: Margo Allman and Helen Mason, on view until January 17, 2021, and Julio daCunha: Modernizing Myths, on view until November 1, 2020 — have been extended.

“These exhibitions examine and celebrate the artists and histories unique to the greater Wilmington area but applicable to the nation and abroad,” curator Margaret Winslow said.

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