Adding to our series of daily posts (What Now!?, Campaign Report, Daily Delawhere), we will now be publishing a regular (maybe not daily, but probably daily) post on the latest happenings and announcements regarding the Coronavirus here in Delaware.
Number of Confirmed Cases in Delaware – 26
Of the Delawareans diagnosed with COVID-19, 19 are from New Castle County, three are from Kent County, and three are from Sussex County.
Of these cases, 14 are male and 12 are female. The individuals range in age from 18 to 80. Three individuals are currently hospitalized; one is critically ill.
Delawareans with general questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call DPH at 1-866-408-1899 (711 for individuals who are hearing impaired) from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday or email DPHCall@delaware.gov.
For more information, visit de.gov/coronavirus.
The Milford Muncipal Election scheduled for April 25 has been postponed until Saturday May 9. The election will still be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the City Public Works Facility, 180 Vickers Drive, Milford.
The Delaware Department of Labor is extending and expanding unemployment benefits during this crisis.
Workers will be eligible to receive benefits if an employer needs to curtail or shut down operations temporarily because of the coronavirus outbreak or the resulting declaration of a state of emergency.
Individuals who have been instructed by a doctor to self-quarantine will be eligible, as will parents or guardians forced to quit or take unpaid leave from their jobs to care for children due to the emergency closure of schools and workers who have been forced to quit or take unpaid leave to care for a loved one who has contracted coronavirus.
An individual who becomes sick from the virus and is unable to work may be eligible for benefits. Part-time workers may also be eligible.
Claims can be submitted at https://ui.delawareworks.com/ and questions can be answered at email@example.com or 302-761-8446.
Governor Carney has provided an update to the emergency declaration that now requires the closure of bowling alleys, movie theaters, fitness centers and health spas in a continued effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Delaware. Any business that remains open is strongly encouraged to have hand sanitizers or hand washing stations available for its employees and patrons. These updates go into effect at 8 a.m. tomorrow, March 19, and will last until the State of Emergency is rescinded. These additions joins the other Emergency restrictions announced earlier, which are as follows:
- Restaurants, bars and taverns shall only provide food and beverage service through take-out, drive-through, hotel room service, and off premises delivery.
- Bans public gatherings of 50 or more people for eight weeks or until the State of Emergency is rescinded.
- Closes gaming activity at Delaware casinos.
- Restricts senior center, nursing home/retirement facility, assisted-living facility, etc. to permit a gathering of more than 10 persons that includes any person aged 60 or over, or any person with an underlying health condition that puts any person in attendance at increased risk if exposed to COVID-19.
- Authorizes Delaware Emergency Management Agency and Delaware Division of Public Health to cancel gatherings for public health reasons.
Click here the full modified State of Emergency declaration and additional details.
From the Attorney General’s Office regarding price gouging: “With COVID-19 and a State of Emergency reshaping daily life in Delaware, Attorney General Kathy Jennings reminds consumers to stay vigilant about businesses illegally raising prices to take advantage of the public’s anxiety.
“We will not tolerate preying on people’s fear and uncertainty in a public health emergency,” said Attorney General Jennings. “More than ever, we need to support one another. Exploiting a pandemic for profit is not just shameful and dangerous—it’s also illegal.”
Governor Carney’s March 12 Declaration of a State of Emergency explicitly prohibits price gouging, defined as a 10 percent or greater increase in prices above normal levels, except when the increase is attributable to increased supplier costs:
No entity doing business in this state shall engage in price gouging as a result of this public health emergency, which shall mean an excessive price increase of goods or services offered for sale beyond the sale price in the usual course of business immediately prior to the date of this state of emergency, unless the increase is attributable to additional costs imposed on the supplier of such goods or services, such price not to increase more than 10% from the cost customarily applied in the usual course of business prior to this state of emergency. A violation of this paragraph shall be deemed an unlawful practice under § 2513 of Title 6 of the Delaware Code and a violation of Subchapter II of Chapter 25 of Title 6.
Consumers should report suspected price gouging to the Delaware Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Unit through a formal complaint. Consumer complaint forms can be found at de.gov/consumer and should be submitted along with any supporting documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Consumers with additional questions can contact the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 220-5424.
Governor John Carney today announced the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) to provide financial relief for restaurants, bars and other hospitality industry businesses that employ thousands of Delawareans.
“Restaurants, bars, hotels, and other hospitality-related businesses, and their workers, are among those most seriously impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Delaware,” Governor John Carney said. “We’ve limited restaurants to takeout and delivery services and asked all Delawareans to avoid being out in public unnecessarily. Many people from other states have postponed non-essential travel, meaning they are not coming to Delaware for vacations or business. We feel it is crucial that the state step in to assist these businesses and their employees.”
The no-interest loans are capped at $10,000 per business per month. The money can cover rent, utilities and other unavoidable bills but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with payments deferred for nine months. The Division of Small Business will administer the program using existing state funds and is aiming to have an application available later this week. Eligible businesses must have been in operation for at least a year, have annual revenue below $1.5 million and be in certain hospitality-connected industries.
Email email@example.com to learn if you qualify or call 302-739-4271 with additional questions.
Assistance is also available for Delaware workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Carney approved the following changes to Delaware’s unemployment benefits program for the hospitality industry:
- The Department of Labor (DOL) will begin processing unemployment claims as they are received with the goal of benefits becoming available within a week.
- DOL will allow part-time income while collecting benefits, as long as employees can demonstrate their decreased hours and earnings.
- DOL will not classify tipped employees as minimum wage earners as long as their tips are reported as wages.
Businesses applying for assistance through Delaware’s HELP program will need to prove they meet the eligibility standards. This includes providing documentation to show the business has been current for at least 80 percent of payments over the past 12 months, and not past due on its most recent payment on any bill for which it is applying for relief. This can be done through proof of payments or a letter from the entity to which the money was due. The program announcement comes as the state also awaits official confirmation from the U.S. Small Business Administration that it has received the Economic Injury Declaration which Governor Carney formally requested on Monday.
More information will be available later in the week on sending in application information for HELP. In the meantime, businesses can reach out to the Division of Small Business with questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting http://www.delbiz.com.