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Delaware’s COVID-19 Emergency Declarations and Related Orders


Since the initial State of Emergency declaration on March 12, 2020 Delaware Governor John Carney has issued several updates in response to the growing COVID-19 threat. Below, please find a list of these emergency orders and related actions -- including summaries and links to the orders and supporting documents -- starting with the most recent:


Twentieth Modification to the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
May 31, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Printable Signs for Businesses

  • Allows someone speaking/singing to an audience to not wear a face covering if they can face away from the audience, stand behind a partition or keep 13 feet distance.

  • The Fifth Modification (requiring Delawareans to shelter in place) and the Seventh Modification (related to the out-of-state traveler fourteen (14) day quarantine) are stricken and replaced with the 20th modification, ensuring social distancing (6 ft.), hand washing and regular cleaning of surfaces remains in place and face masks are still required. Vulnerable individuals are advised to continue to shelter in place.

  • Indoor gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited until after June 15, 2020; Outdoor gatherings are permitted for up to 250 people; and if someone wants to hold a gathering of more than 250 people, they need to submit a plan for consideration and approval to the State. 

  • The following businesses/locations may reopen: Commercial Lodging may reopen at 30% of fire occupancy requirements; Campgrounds may reopen but must ensure 6 feet distance from other individuals; Auction Houses (at 30%); Houses of Worship, but not to exceed 30% of fire occupancy requirements. 

  • All businesses must follow guidelines including requiring everyone to wear face masks, regular cleaning of surfaces, enforcing 6 ft. social distancing and more.

  • Businesses should also implement flexible and non-punitive sick-leave policies to facilitate compliance with this Modification. Such policies should follow any guidance from the CDC and DPH regarding COVID-19.

  • Symptomatic employees must not physically return to work until cleared by DPH.

  • Public meetings can be held in person but are encouraged to be done electronically and any in-person meeting must also provide a conference option for any member of the public body or the public who does not wish to attend in person.

  • Emergency unemployment rules are in effect until July 2, 2020

Nineteenth Modification to the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
May 22, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Allows florists to participate in curbside service. 

  • Allows food and drink establishments to apply to expand their outdoor seating for serving food and drinks.

  • Modified the out-of-state travel ban to ensure employees coming to work for essential businesses or one that is open for business and do not need to quarantine for 14 days.

  • Provides additional guidance around Phase 1 reopening on June 1st such as requiring that maximum capacity be 30% of stated fire occupancy.

Eighteenth Modification to the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
May 18, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Houses of worship and other places of religious expression or fellowship must be limited to 30 percent of stated fire code occupancy. Strict social distancing must be maintained. High-risk Delawareans, including those over 65-years-old, and anyone who is sick should not attend in-person services. Anyone 13-years-old or older must wear a face covering.

Seventeenth Modification to the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
May 14, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Effective May 22nd at 5pm, Delawareans and non-Delawareans who have been in the state for at least fourteen (14) days are permitted to use the Delaware beaches provided that beachgoers maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet from any person outside of their household while on the boardwalks or the beach. Individuals over thirteen (13) years old must wear a cloth face covering compliant with the Thirteenth Modification of the State of Emergency while on the boardwalk. 

  • Ice cream, water ice, custard, or similar shops, and ice cream trucks may operate by take-out, curbside, or delivery with certain restrictions.

  • Swimming facilities may operate with certain restrictions.

  • During the pendency of the State of Emergency declaration, 31 Del. C. 1101(b) shall not apply to medical assistance recipients’ contact information exchanged between the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance and the Public Health Authority.

Sixteenth Modification to the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
May 10, 2020
Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Suspends end-of-year evaluations for educators, professional development requirements and assessments due to the suspension of the school year caused by COVID-19.

  • Holds Delaware’s students and educators harmless for the shortened school year, also waiving the required learning hours for students and teacher days.

  • Extends the season closing date for the use of anchored gill nets to midnight on June 1.

Delaware’s State of Emergency Extended
May 8, 2020
Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Delaware’s original COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration was first declared March 12, 2020 and set to expire May 15, 2020.

  • This declaration extends the State of Emergency declaration and all modifications to May 31, 2020.

  • June 1st is the target date for reopening under Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening.

Fifteenth Modification to the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
May 7, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release on ElectionsPress Release on Small Business Steps

  • Reschedules Elections - The Delaware presidential primary election is rescheduled to July 7, 2020; elections for school board members in any Delaware school district are delayed to July 21, 2020; and states that municipal elections during the State of Emergency may be conducted at the discretion of the municipality. 

  • Clarifies Interim Steps for Small Businesses - Effective May 8, 2020, certain Non-Essential Businesses (retail stores) may transact business via curbside pickup. Jewelry stores, furniture stores and pawn shops may open by appointment only. Hair salons may also open for appointment only for Essential personnel only.

  • Childcare sites are authorized to provide childcare to “any employee of a business deemed essential or open for business, as defined by the Modifications to the State of Emergency.” With the exception of this provision, all childcares not designated as Emergency Childcare Sites pursuant to the 8th Modification shall remain closed.


Fourteenth Modification to the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
April 30, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Modifies the Sixth Modification of the Declaration of the State of Emergency to dd further protections for Delaware renters during COVID-19

  • Extends the application deadline for the Senior School Property Tax Credit Program to June 1, 2020

  • Effective May 1, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. E.D.T., all medical certifications of death in this state, pursuant to Title 16, § 3123 of the Delaware Code, shall be completed, signed, certified and filed electronically through the Delaware Vital Events Registration System (DelVERS).

Thirteenth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
April 25, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release; CDC guide to making masks
    Requires all individuals to wear a face covering (a cloth or fabric mask) while in public. This includes when visiting a health care provider, ride sharing, visiting grocery stores/businesses (even waiting outside), in an outdoor (or any) public area when feeling sick, and if maintaining social distancing of six (6) feet between individuals of different households is impracticable.

  • A “medical-grade mask” (N95, KN95, surgical, etc.) should not be purchased as long as they are still in short supply.

  • Children age two or under must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation. Children age twelve years or less are not required to wear a face covering.

  • All businesses as of May 1st must provide employees with a face covering to wear while working in areas open to the general public and areas in which coming within 6 feet of other staff are likely. Customers may not come in without a face mask, with certain exceptions (seeking medication, medical supplies, food, etc., in which case the business should provide alternate methods of pickup.

  • Businesses shall take steps to remind customers to wear face coverings by (a) posting the requirement at the entrance of the business, and (b) posting clearly visible signs inside the store to remind customers of the requirement to wear the face covering at all times when in the business.

Twelfth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
April 23, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Allows more out-of-state health care workers to assist in Delaware’s fight against COVID-19. The following provisions shall occur when a hospital activates its crisis standard of care and the Public Health Authority must grant written approval for the health system to operationalize its crisis standard of care before the following provisions go into effect: 

    • Any individual who at any time held an active license to practice medicine in any US jurisdiction, which is now inactive, expired or lapsed, may be activated to provide healthcare services on a volunteer basis in Delaware, if (1) the individual’s license was active and in good standing for the duration of the five-year period prior to the date it went inactive/expired/lapsed, (2) the individual’s scope of practice will be limited to primary care services, and (3) the hospital that will use the individual’s services has provided training appropriate for the tasks to be performed.    

    • A pharmacist, respiratory therapist, physician assistant, paramedic, emergency medical technician, practical nurse, professional nurse, registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse, or certified nursing assistant with an inactive/expired/lapsed license may be activated to provide healthcare services on a volunteer basis in Delaware if (1) the individual’s license/certification was active and in good standing for a five-year period prior to the date it went inactive, expired or lapsed, (2) the individual’s scope of practice is limited to examination, testing and treatment, and (3) the hospital that will use the individual’s services has provided training appropriate for the tasks to be performed.

    • These out-of-state providers must register with the Medical Reserve Corps to volunteer in Delaware.

  • Facilitates the issuance of marriage licenses by allowing the parties to communicate by video conference. 

  • Allows state agencies and members of the public additional time to consider rules and regulations, giving agencies discretion to extend public comment periods for 30 days from the date the State of Emergency is rescinded.

Eleventh Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
April 15, 2020
Additional Documents: Press Release, Educational material to give patients tested, educational materials for patients given a rapid testguidance for health care providers for use of rapid tests, rapid test brochure; Educational testing materials in Spanish; and the rapid testing information in Spanish

  • All health care providers who test for COVID-19 shall comply with the Public Health Authority’s guidance for the use of such tests and must provide each patient tested with educational materials developed by the Public Health Authority.

  • Adds “home health agencies and personal assistance service agencies” to the list of regulated facilities under the Eighth Modification of the COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration, Paragraph 2.c. (must follow Public Health Authority’s guidance for use of PPE).

  • Requires training of nursing facilities and long term care facilities staff and also requires stricter guidelines to prevent COVID-19 infections in nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities. These facilities shall:

    • Establish a cohort of staff assigned to care for known/suspected COVID-19 residents.

    • Designate a room/unit/floor of the facility as an observation area where newly- or re-admitted residents are kept for 14 days & observed for signs of COVID-19.

    • Designate a room/unit/floor of the facility to care for COVID-19 residents.

  • Returning residents to their nursing facility, assisted living facility, home, remains a priority. For facility residents admitted to or seen at a hospital for COVID-19:

    • The residents shall be allowed to return to the facility as long as the facility can follow the approved CDC recommendations for transmission-based precautions. 

    • If the residents must temporarily go to other facilities, such as an alternate care site, every effort must be made by the receiving and original facilities to transfer the residents back to their original facility as soon as possible, such as when transmission-based precautions can be discontinued if the original facility cannot effectively initiate these precautions prior. 

    • A negative COVID-19 test shall not be required prior to a resident’s return to a facility.

  • Authorizes any notarial act to be performed, in addition to methods authorized under current law, by utilizing audio-visual technology (remote notarization).

  • The press release announcing the order also indicates that Governor Bacon Health Center (GBHC) will serve as a non-acute alternate care site for patients who are discharged from the hospital and are unable to return to their homes in the community or in a long-term care facility due to caregiver or staffing challenges.

Tenth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
April 6, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release​

  • Suspends the requirements of both audio and visual technology for telemedicine requirements under Title 24 to allow for the use of non-smart phone or landline connections.

  • Waives the signage requirements under 2.b. of the Eighth Modification for those hospitals that are subject to the requirements of EMTALA.

  • Bans all short-term rental units – including vacation home rentals, hotels, motels, and condo rentals (with certain exemptions, such as for victims of domestic violence)

  • Bans door-to-door solicitation and closes pawn shops, video game stores, and other electronics retailers.

Updated DEMA/DPH Order
April 2, 2020

  • This joint order provides more flexibility across multiple licenses and certifications to allow trained students to treat patients under appropriate supervision during the COVID-19 crisis.

Ninth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
April 1, 2020

  • Restricts gatherings (cannot have 10 or more people gather until after May 15th). 

    • This does not apply to employees working at essential businesses. 

  • Requires businesses to strictly comply with social distancing. 

    • This does not apply to health care providers.

Eighth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
March 30, 2020

Seventh Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
March 29, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Anyone who enters Delaware from another state must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. 

    • This does not apply to travelers who are merely passing through Delaware; those who live out-of-state but commute to DE for essential work; those caring for members of family.

Sixth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
March 24, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Moves Delaware’s presidential primary to June 2.

  • Suspends residential foreclosures and evictions during COVID-19

Public Health Emergency Declaration
March 23, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Authorizes Delaware’s Public Health Authority (DHSS Secretary or designee) to utilize all available resources of state government as reasonably necessary to address this public health emergency.

  • Assess the need for supplies and capacity and purchase and distribute supplies.

  • Take actions needed to waive applicable state Medicaid program requirements, particularly for telehealth services.

  • Insurers subject to state regulation under Title 18 of the Delaware Code shall waive all prior authorization requirements for the lab testing and treatment of confirmed or suspected COVID- 19 patients.

  • Allows for the suspension of deadlines for non-essential healthcare facilities inspection and licensing activities.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Companion Order
March 23, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Nurses, doctors, mental health care providers, pharmacists and other health care professionals who have active licenses or certificates of good standing in any U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide in-person health care services in Delaware throughout the emergency, as well as telemedicine services.

  • Delaware health care professionals whose licenses expired in the last five years are authorized to provide health care services in Delaware, assuming their licenses were in good standing for the five-year period.

Fifth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
March 22, 2020

  • As of March 24that 8am, all Delawareans (except for essential businesses or those leaving the house for essential services, or to participate in an outdoor exercise) must shelter in place at their homes.

  • All COVID-19 testing must be made available to those that meet CDC testing requirements without regard to the person’s ability to pay. 

  • Has the effect of law and state and local law enforcement are authorized to enforce law.

Fourth Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration 
March 22, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press ReleaseList of Essential BusinessesFAQs

  • State offices remain open but employees should telecommute/work from home

  • Establishes some businesses as “Essential Businesses” and details those businesses, which includes those that employ health care workers. 

  • Physical locations of non-essential businesses should close as of 8am on March 24thand until the COVID-19 threat has been eliminated.

Third Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
March 21, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Delaware beaches closed until May 15th, or until threat of COVID-19 passes

Executive Order 38 on Child Care
March 19, 2020

Second Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
March 18, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Lifted restrictions on telemedicine to expand access by: ensuring patients do not need to present in person before a telemedicine service can be provided; DE residents do not need to be in DE at time telemedicine services provided; Any out of state healthcare provider who would be permitted to provide telemedicine services in Delaware if they were licensed under Title 24 may provide telemedicine services to a Delaware resident if they hold an active license in another jurisdiction.

  • Closes bowling alleys, movie theaters, fitness centers, gaming activity, etc.

  • Restaurants and brewpubs can sell alcoholic beverages. 

First Modification of the Delaware State of Emergency Declaration
March 16, 2020
Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Gatherings of 50 or more should be canceled;

  • Restaurants must only serve food through takeout and delivery

  • Restricts senior centers, nursing home/retirement facility, etc. to permit a gathering of more than 10 persons.

  • Individuals 60 and over or with underlying health conditions should avoid gatherings of 50 people or more

  • Authorizes DE Secretary of Labor to develop emergency rules to protect Delaware workers and ensure that unemployment benefits are available for Delawareans whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware due to a Public Health Threat
March 12, 2020

  • Additional Documents: Press Release

  • Directs DEMA and DPH to mobilize state agency resources to assist with Delaware’s response to the virus.

  • Requires the Delaware National Guard to take precautionary and responsive actions to assist with Delaware’s response to the coronavirus.

  • Advises event organizers in Delaware to cancel non-essential public gatherings of 100 people or more, to prevent community spread of coronavirus.

  • Allows the State of Delaware to conduct public meetings electronically.

  • Prohibits price gouging during the coronavirus outbreak.

DHA will update this list as more orders are released. For questions, please contact Christina Bryan at 

Last updated on 5-26-20.