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Posted on: March 21, 2020

Governor Bans Short Term Rentals

Delaware Governor John Carney

Governor Carney Issues Updated State of Emergency; Bans Short-Term Rentals

Tenth update to emergency order also closes additional businesses to fight COVID-19


WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday issued the tenth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, banning all short-term rental units – including vacation home rentals, hotels, motels, and condo rentals – to help fight the spread of COVID-19.


Commercial lodging in Delaware will remain closed through May 15, or until the public health threat is eliminated. The order exempts certain Delawareans and essential workers who may need access to short-term rental units. That list of exemptions includes caretakers with family members nearby, health care providers, journalists, and Delawareans with public housing vouchers.


Victims of domestic violence who need alternative shelter also are exempted.


Monday’s order places additional restrictions on businesses, banning door-to-door solicitation and closing pawn shops, video game stores, and other electronics retailers.  


Click here to read the full text of Governor Carney’s tenth modification. 


Governor Carney’s updated order takes effect at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.


“All of Delaware’s restrictions are intended to prevent a surge in cases, preserve our hospital capacity, and save lives,” said Governor Carney. “This is not the time for a vacation or tax-free shopping in Delaware. Delawareans also should not go out in public unnecessarily. Stay safe. Stay home. Protect your neighbors. We’ll get through this – but it’s going to take all of us.”


Governor Carney’s emergency order, including its modifications, have the force and effect of law. Failure to comply constitutes a criminal offense. State and local law enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce the provisions of the State of Emergency.


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. Emails are encouraged due to potentially high call volume.


Delawareans with general questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 211, or 711 for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Questions can also be submitted by email at DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, visit


 WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, Governor John Carney declared a state of emergency in Delaware due to the serious public health threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and on March 21, 2020, modified the Declaration to close all Delaware beaches and grant stricter authority to local officials; and

WHEREAS, the Governor’s Declaration noted that the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services has determined that it is vital to prepare for possible community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and to take steps to avoid such transmission; and

WHEREAS, the average age of the residents of Bethany Beach is sixty-seven (67), a population that is especially vulnerable to the potentially deadly effects of the COVID-19 virus; and

WHEREAS, since schools closed in Delaware and other states and more people have been allowed to work from home because of the COVID-19 crisis, Bethany Beach has experienced a summer-like influx of non-resident property owners, families and visitors, thereby significantly increasing the risk of transmitting and spreading the virus among themselves and others in our community, including the most vulnerable in our population; and

WHEREAS, the declarations, warnings and advice from national and state officials and public health professionals have not been sufficiently effective in ensuring voluntary compliance in protecting against the transmission and spread of the COVID-19 virus in Bethany Beach; and

WHEREAS, the beach and boardwalk areas of Bethany Beach have attracted large numbers of people congregating and socializing in those areas, without regard to “social distancing” and other widely publicized advice of public health officials, thereby increasing the risk of infection among themselves and others; and

WHEREAS, limiting the transmission and spread of the COVID-19 virus and protection of everyone in our community, especially the most vulnerable, is a paramount responsibility and duty of the Town government of Bethany Beach.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to Article VII, Section 223-16 of the Town Code of Bethany Beach, I have determined, as Town Manager, that the present conditions on the beach and boardwalk, as described herein, pose a potential risk to the public health in Bethany Beach; and, further, that the beach and boardwalk should be temporarily closed during the COVID-19 emergency.

ACCORDINGLY, pursuant to Section 223-17 of the Town Code of Bethany Beach, it is hereby ordered that no unauthorized person shall be permitted on the beach or boardwalk within the Town limits of Bethany Beach, effective as of 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020.  This Order will remain in effect until rescinded.  Violators are subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $200, in accordance with Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, Penalties, in the Town Code.  

Signed and Dated:                                                    

Clifford M. Graviet

Town Manager, Bethany Beach

March 21, 2020

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