Main Street Newark

Newark City Council will consider stricter coronavirus limits on gatherings than what the state has imposed.

An emergency ordinance is on the agenda for council's meeting on the evening of Monday, August 24, 2020, that would restrict indoor gatherings at private residences to 10 persons or less. Outdoor gatherings at private residences would be restricted at 25 persons. Emergency Ordinance 20-06 grants an exemption for guests ages 14 and younger. 

Residents could apply to for a permit to host larger indoor or outdoor gatherings; it's unclear whether those permits carry a cost though those applying for permits have to agree to maintain proper guest information in the event contact tracing is necessary. 

The state's limit on outdoor gatherings is 250 persons. Gatherings over 250 persons require approval from the Division of Small Business. Indoor gatherings are restricted to useable capacity at 30 square feet per person up to a maximum of 250 people.

If passed, violators of Newark's emergency ordinance would face a $500 fine and 20 hours of community service for a first offense. A subsequent offense would carry a $1,000 fine and 60 hours of community service. A third offense brings criminal penalties with the possibility of jail time and a $1,500 fine.

A letter from the City Solicitor Paul Bilodeau to council and the mayor, attached to the ordinance, noted the reason for the proposed stricter limits is due to "numerous COVID-19 outbreaks that are presently occurring in college towns throughout the nation." 

The University of Delaware, which has gained a national reputation for being a party school, has already gone virtual for the fall semester.

Read the full emergency ordinance: