Jamie Mack Bars Reopening

Looking to hit the beach for Labor Day weekend, and hoping to grab a drink there? The good news is, at least in some places, you can. 

"Patrons will be able to sit at a bar to get service in the zip codes that were previously not allowed to do that," Division of Public Health's Chief of Health System Protection Jamie Mack said Tuesday, September 1, 2020. "They must have a reservation, they must order food. This isn't a situation where we're just going to sit and have a few drinks. We do recognize that maybe the initial shutdown in that area had a heavy impact on some smaller establishments that rely on patrons sitting at the bar for dinner as part of their table service, essentially. So this allows them to get back to some of that."

The "good news" was possible thanks to beach facilities taking precautions that hadn't been in place when the bars were shut down a few weeks ago, Mack said, and he's glad they're able to open ahead of the holiday weekend "in a safe way."

Seats at the bars will be required to be socially distanced, facemasks and all other guidance and restrictions for indoor dining must be followed, and only individuals from the same household can sit together. 

Mack said over 400 compliance checks have been conducted at a variety of food and business establishments over the previous month, and they weren't "as patient with some of the facilities as we had been in the past," Mack said. 

"We do have some good news in terms of reopening a bar service for somebody that's come in to eat, as well as to have reservations," Governor John Carney said. "We've also seen that, with the enforcement that [Mack has] done, [he's] closed places down...We're just going to have to be a little bit harder on enforcement, as we have, and ramp that up a little bit."

Carney warned those who didn't take public health guidance seriously that they'd be shut down until they fell in line. 

"We have all these folks that are following the rules, that have compliance within their establishments, that could get hurt by the few who continue to thumb their nose at it," he said. "If you do thumb your nose at it, then we're going to find you and close you down. We expect this weekend--this is a test for us. I know that people can pull together and follow the guidance, and it really comes down to wearing your face covering and it's a simple thing to do."