Governor Carney Updates COVID-19 Order, Eliminates Capacity Restrictions Effective May 21

School bus restrictions updated; Masks still required indoors; Delawareans should follow CDC mask guidance outdoors; larger events still require plan approval from DPH


WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed a new COVID-19 omnibus order, the Twenty-Eighth modification to the original state of emergency order, updating school bus distancing requirements, eliminating most business capacity restrictions effective May 21, and formalizing additional changes announced last week.

The text of the order will be accessible here later today.

Beginning with summer programming, schools should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on school buses when transporting students. The CDC advises schools to create distance between children on school buses when possible, and to follow masking and other COVID-19 safety precautions.

​This marks a change from the current restriction that requires schools to maintain a minimum of 3 feet of distance between students on a bus, which has resulted in a 23-person cap on school buses. The change should allow more students to return to in-person instruction starting this summer. Click here for details.

Additionally, Governor Carney’s order formalizes the following, effective at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, May 21:

  • All capacity restrictions inside restaurants, retail, gyms, other business establishments and houses of worship will be lifted. Facilities can use as much capacity as social distancing requirements will allow.
  • Masks will still be required indoors to prevent spread of COVID-19.
  • Outdoors, Delawareans should follow masking guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Risk for COVID-19 spread increases in large crowds that include unvaccinated people. In those cases, the CDC recommends that everyone continue to wear a mask.
  • Social distancing requirements will move from 6 feet to 3 feet.
  • Customers must continue to remain seated indoors and outdoors at bars and restaurants unless a plan for dance floors and other areas is approved by DPH.
  • Events over 250 people indoors and outdoors will still require plan approval from DPH to ensure compliance with basic precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19.

“Delawareans have worked together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and we still have more work to do. But we have the tools to prevent severe illness and hospitalization,” said Governor Carney. “Get vaccinated. Visit to find options near you. Ask 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.”

As of Monday, May 11, Delaware providers had administered 816,090 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 55 percent of Delawareans 16 and older have received at least one shot.