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'We Face A Difficult And Challenging Winter': Delaware Announces New Coronavirus Restrictions As Cases Surge

DOVER, Del. (CBS) -- Delaware announced Tuesday sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to surge in the state. Gov. John Carney is limiting the number of people allowed for indoor and outdoor gatherings as the number of coronavirus cases closes in on 30,000.

The restrictions go into effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23. The restrictions include:

  • Indoor gatherings in homes must be capped at no more than 10 people.
  • Indoor gatherings outside of homes must be limited to 30 percent of the venue's stated fire capacity, up to a cap of 50 people. This includes all events, such as weddings, funerals, services in houses of worship, performances, political gatherings, and events in public spaces including fire halls.
  • Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people. Up to 250 may be allowed with a plan approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health.
  • Restaurants must operate at no more than 30 percent of fire capacity indoors, with allowances for additional outdoor seating.
  • Delaware youth sports organizations, teams and venues prohibited from hosting or participating in tournaments with out-of-state teams, effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The order includes a provision prohibiting Delaware teams from traveling across states lines for tournaments.

"These are difficult decisions, but we face a difficult and challenging winter," Carney said. "COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in Delaware and across the country. Nearly 250,000 Americans, including 739 Delawareans, have already lost their lives to this virus. Our focus must be on protecting lives."

Carney said the state will continue to support families and small businesses who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

"Let's all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask. Celebrate the holidays with immediate family only. Stay vigilant," Carney said.

Bobby and Jessica Hardaway are out for the first time in months.

"We knew there would be less people out," Jessica Hardaway said.

The duo has been extremely cautious as she's expecting her first child.

"Overall, I'm very happy they're upping the standards. I think it will be very helpful and more safe," she said.

Gov.  Carney laid out a new mandate limiting indoor dining to 30% capacity. With Thanksgiving just over a week away, he's also discouraging gatherings of more than 10 at home.

"Social environments, parties, dinners, having the guys over to have beers and watch the football game inside," Gov. Carney said.

"It'll be private and just the two of us but we'll enjoy," Bobby Hardaway said.

Stitch House Brewery has a maximum capacity of 180 people. Owner Daniel Sheridan says it's been an uphill battle trying to recover these past few months.

This and other indoor spaces will be capped at 50 people.

"If they think it's going to work I hope it doesn't go much past January or February," Sheridan said.

Over at Dimeo's Pizza, business has slowed dramatically but they're staying hopeful.

"For lunchtime, I'd say at least 80% down but thank God at night time we do more deliveries," Uben Tinto said.

Gov. Carney says he's trying to strike a balance between increasing economic activity and improving the health of the community.

Nearly 740 people have died from the virus in Delaware. Over 150 people are hospitalized.

This comes as Philadelphia and New Jersey have instituted new restrictions to help stem the spike in coronavirus cases.

CBS3's Alecia Reid contributed to this report.


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