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Delaware Gov. John Carney Orders Beach Bars To Close Ahead Of 4th Of July Holiday Weekend

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) -- Beach bars in Delaware have been ordered to close ahead of the 4th of July holiday weekend. Gov. John Carney made the announcement Tuesday afternoon and signed an executive in the evening.

The joys of summer were embraced a little too fully, according to Carney.

"Too many people have sacrificed too much for us to see another really dramatic uptick," he said. "From 18 to about 30 is where most of these new positive cases are occurring and they are mostly occurring at zip codes in the beach area."

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"We have also since that time learned of several lifeguardsm as well as a number of restaurant and bar employees, who have become positive," said state health director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

This week, COVID-19 tests were administered by the Delaware National Guard at the popular Dewey Beach restaurant and bar The Starboard.

Dewey Beach Mayor Dale Cooke told Eyewitness News that under the governor's order, patrons can still enjoy sitdown meals inside of restaurants. However, the bar areas will not be accessible.

"We would rather save lives than bring in a dollar," said AJ Borrero, general manager of the Bill Chill Surf Cantina in Rehoboth Beach.

He says the whole season has been hard on beach businesses but they understand and will simply wait it out ... again.

"When we are allowed to open back up, we are ready to open and make some money," Borrero said.

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Additionally, Rehoboth Beach commissioners voted unanimously to require face coverings in all public spaces. That includes streets, sidewalks, parks, the boardwalk, the beach and commercial establishments.

The requirement goes into effect on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Carney also added that the state will not move into Phase 3 of reopening. Delaware will remain in Phase 2, a decision New Castle County officials support.

"You can't have a healthy economy unless you first have a healthy community, so let's do the work we need to do together — not just the governor, not just me but all of us, to make sure we're wearing these masks, we're physically distancing, we're going out, getting tested at one of the COVID-19 testing sites," New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer said.

In Phase 3, large venues and restaurants would operate under limited physical distancing protocols.

In Philadelphia, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley is concerned about socializing in beach communities as well, both in Delaware and New Jersey.

He recommended today that Philadelphia residents not go to the shore this holiday weekend.

CBS3's Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.

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