coronavirus dining outdoors

Restaurants, retail shops, businesses, gyms, and houses of worship in Delaware will be relieved of most capacity restrictions beginning May 21, 2021.

However, those establishments must still operate under 3 ft. social distancing requirements, reduced from 6 ft., meaning capacity will still have some limitations. 

Masks will also remain a requirement in indoor settings.

Outdoors, Delawareans are urged to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, which says fully vaccinated people can take off masks outdoors. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We are excited to be at the point in our state’s efforts where we can lift these restrictions, but it’s important to remember that our efforts are not over and we are not out of the woods yet. There will still be some risk of transmission, especially in crowded settings, with the more contagious variants circulating at high levels in our state,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Division of Public Health. “So let’s enter this next phase of the recovery responsibly, wearing masks indoors and getting vaccinated if you haven’t.”

The CDC still recommends people wear masks outdoors in crowded spaces regardless of vaccination status. Masks may also be required outdoors in certain cities and towns. The Division of Public Health said it may require masks for crowded venues and large gatherings like concerts and sporting events. 

“COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities but we have the tools to prevent severe illness and hospitalization,” said Governor John Carney in a prepared statement. “Get vaccinated. And ask to your friends and family if they’ve gotten their shot. That’s the best thing you can do to protect yourself and those you love.”

Events of more than 250 persons, both indoors and outdoors, must still get plan approval from the DPH to ensure COVID mitigation strategies are in place. Additionally, customers must remain seated indoors and outdoors at bars and restaurants unless plans for dance floors have been approved by DPH. 

The changes will be formalized in an upcoming modification to Governor John Carney’s ongoing COVID-19 emergency order.

As of Monday, May 3, Delaware providers had administered 762,869 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 53 percent of Delawareans 16 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine.