Total Wine

When Governor John Carney issued a stay-at-home order, he shut down non-essential businesses.  

Since then, there's been a lot of input on social media surrounding the high number of businesses that continue to be allowed to operate.

Delaware's Division of Small Business was tasked with quickly putting together a list of essential and non-essential businesses to accompany those orders. Damian DeStefano, director of the Division of Small Business, called it a "complicated" process of balancing necessity with public health for 300 industries.

"Our first priority was protecting the health and safety of our citizens, and then within that context, we did our best to balance public health and safety while keeping businesses, as many businesses operating, whenever possible," said DeStefano.

Several listeners asked WDEL why liquor stores permitted to stay open?

"We kept liquor stores open on the recommendation of our Department of Public Health," said DeStefano.

A spokeswoman for the Delaware DPH said keeping liquor stores open was a concern expressed by health care systems.

"We are all concerned that closing liquor stores could have an adverse impact on those struggling with substance use related to alcohol. There are concerns about individuals experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms turning to unsafe and unhealthy alternatives in an attempt to get the same affect they would get from consuming alcohol. It could also result in a surge of individuals seeking care at the emergency departments to manage withdrawal symptoms," said spokeswoman Jennifer Brestel.

Why florists?

"We kept florists opened for delivery only. We felt like they could operate much like restaurants under those restrictions that they could perform delivery services," said DeStefano. "They're also needed for certain essential events from time to time."

Pet grooming services were shuttered by the state--to the surprise of pet owners. But food services and supplies for pets remained open, along with boarding.  

"The boarding is about allowing health care workers to be able to do what they need to do," said Division of Small Business spokesman Michael Chesney. 

DeStefano said he looked at Pennsylvania and New Jersey's list of essential and non-essential businesses to guide Delaware's decision.

During the governor's emergency order, construction can continue--meaning more road projects can happen while Delawareans are ordered off them.  

"We designated the construction industry, both residential and non-residential, as essential. A couple reasons: we felt like, one, disrupting the construction industry could have significant consequences for the health and safety of our citizens," he said. "And also, we felt like this was an industry that could perform their work while adhering to state social distancing practices."

For those considered essential employees of a business, the Delaware Division of Small Business said no paperwork is required for you to perform your duties.

"People will be taken at their word, when they say that they work for an essential employer until there's reason to doubt that," said spokesman Michael Chesney. 

Businesses that are open are asked to adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

"Many business are making the choice that those staff who can work from home should, and any time we can limit person-to-person contact, it does help control the spread."

Here's the full list of Delaware's essential and non-essential businesses: