Governor Carney Issues Stay-At-Home Order and Closure of All Non-Essential Businesses

Gobernador Carney

Sunday, March 22: Governor Carney issued two important orders that Delawareans need to know about:

All non-essential businesses Delaware are ordered to close.
All Delawareans are to stay at home whenever possible, subject to Governor Carney’s stay-at-home order issued Sunday night.

The orders go into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. They will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.

Click here to view a full list of essential and non-essential businesses and FAQs.

• If You Are an Essential Business, Below is Guidance to Keep Your Staff and Your Community Safe

The following COVID-19 infection control measures must be enforced for businesses providing essential services to remain open.

  • Teleworking must be maximized, especially for individuals at highest risk of poor outcomes, such as those over age 60 and those with chronic underlying conditions.
  • Follow all State and CDC guidelines and recommendations for social distancing for staff and customers. Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (with the exception being healthcare workers using appropriate PPE).
  • Screen all staff for symptoms and illness prior to entering worksite.
  • Separate sick employees from other individuals immediately.
  • Prohibit employees who have been told they must be isolated or quarantined from work until they have been cleared by DPH or a medical professional.
  • Have handwashing stations and / or hand sanitizer readily available for all employees throughout the day. Staff should wash hands with warm water and soap when entering and leaving worksite.
  • Enforce cough and sneeze hygiene, such as coughing into your elbow.
  • Follow all State and CDC guidelines and recommendations for environmental cleaning.
  • Prohibit visitors inside worksites unless they are providing essential services.

Employers must stress to employees that they are not to come to work when they are sick. We recognize that is a difficult ask – especially for small businesses – and for employees whose paychecks depend on every hour that they do work. But limiting public interactions of those who are sick is an important mitigation strategy to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Delaware.

This is a rapidly evolving situation in Delaware, in the U.S., and across the world. Recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are subject to frequent change.

Essential Services Screening Recommendations for COVID-19 Pandemic

To help protect the public against the spread of COVID-19, Governor John Carney and Delaware Division of Public Health Director Karyl T. Rattay, MD, MS, strongly recommend that all employers screen employees each day before work. Read the Essential Services Screening Policy, dated March 22, 2020


What Employers Can Urge Employees to Do to Minimize the Spread of Illness

In addition to encouraging Delawareans to get their flu shot, the Division of Public Health recommends these everyday measures to prevent the spread of all germs. This helps limit the spread of COVID-19.

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. If you use a tissue, dispose of it right away.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, including the backs of your hands and under your nails. If you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) until you can wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your face, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces at work, home or school.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid interactions with people who are well.
  • If you have an underlying chronic medical condition, consult with a health care provider about further steps you can take to protect yourself and others.

Recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever AND cough or shortness of breath.

  • Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms (like the common cold) to people becoming severely ill and dying.
  • Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
  • For employers who have had employees travel for either business or vacation:
  • Both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, are asked to stay at home for 14 days after returning from travel. That means no work or no school, and to avoid large gatherings.
  • Anyone who has returned from an area with positive COVID-19 cases or a country with a level 2 or higher travel alert in the past 14 days and has developed symptoms, such as fever and coughing or fever and shortness of breath, should contact their doctor immediately.
  • Any returning travelers within the last 14 days from those areas or countries who are not exhibiting symptoms are asked to call their doctor to for guidance on self-monitoring for symptoms and what to do if they develop symptoms.

Preparing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Division of Public Health (DPH) continues to prepare for community spread of the virus. DPH is working with many partners, including the Governor’s office, health care systems, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), state, local and federal agencies, schools, legislators and the business community.

In collaboration with our partners and the general public, our efforts are now focused on mitigating the impact of coronavirus disease 2019. Get additional information:

  • The Division of Public Health has a public call center for COVID-19 information, at 1-866-408-18991-866-408-1899. People with a hearing impairment can call 7-1-17-1-1.The call center is open seven days a week with a recorded message after-hours.
  • Or, email questions to


Delaware employers with questions about how they may be impacted can email, or call 302-577-8477 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ICYMI: Governor Carney gave a video briefing on Sunday, March 22 on the latest COVID-19 updates in Delaware. Watch the briefing on Facebook and Livestream.