Local COVID-19 Guidelines for Dover, Delaware

Dover, Delaware, has been in phase two of reopening since June 15, 2020. Like most of the country, Dover is seeing an increase in cases. Fortunately, the number of cases in Dover isn’t as high in other parts of the United States. Here’s the latest on the main questions surrounding rules for businesses and patrons amidst COVID-19:

Q: What Is Dover’s Reopening Plan?

A: On September 8, 2020, Governor Carney announced that there are no current plans to move into phase three. He stated that the state would move to phase three as infection rates and hospitalizations improve. He stated that he didn’t want to make any further moves until citizens are healthy enough to loosen the restrictions.

Q: Is It Mandatory To Wear Masks In Dover?

A: As of April 28, 2020, it is mandatory for everyone over the age of 12 to wear masks while in public settings. Residents are not required to wear face masks outdoors as long as it is possible to social distance.

On October 23, 2020, the Governor announced that residents won’t need to wear masks when they go to the polls on November 3rd. He is worried that if voters are turned away from the polls for not wearing masks, it would be considered unconstitutional.

Q: Are Restaurants Open In Dover?

A: Yes, restaurants are open in Dover; however, the guidelines set by the state must be followed.

  • Customers must wear masks unless they are at their table eating or drinking. Staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Customers and staff must remain six feet apart at all times.
  • Booth seating needs to be spaced six feet, unless a plexiglass shield is installed. Free standing tables must be set at least eight feet apart.
  • Guests must remain seated unless they are going to the restroom or playing games.
  • If the establishment has games, they must be set six feet apart.
  • Customers must have a reservation to prevent groups from gathering to wait for a table.

Q: Are Gyms Open In Dover?

A: Yes, gyms are open; however, they must follow the guidelines set by the state.

  • Gyms can operate at 30 percent capacity.
  • Staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Members must wear masks if they aren’t involved in a vigorous workout. Weight lifting is not considered vigorous, and masks need to be worn.
  • Equipment needs to be spaced six feet apart to allow members to social distance.
  • When not working out, members and staff need to stay six feet apart.

Q: What Businesses and Services Are Open In Dover?

A: Now that Delaware is in phase 2 of reopening, all businesses and services are open. However, they all must follow the guidelines set by the state.

Q: What Does Delaware Define As “Essential Business” During COVID?

A: During phase one of the pandemic, there were certain businesses in Delaware that were considered essential. These include:

  • Healthcare facilities and hospitals
  • Farming
  • Grocery stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Gas stations
  • Banks
  • Utility companies
  • Government employees
  • Food and beverage delivery
  • Restaurants for pickup, delivery or drive-thru service only
  • Public works

Q: Are Large Gatherings Allowed In Dover?

A: Yes, large gatherings are allowed, but residents must follow guidelines:

  • Indoor events should not exceed 60 percent of the fire occupancy. If the location has no fire requirement, the capacity is one person per 30 square feet, or a maximum of 250 people.
  • If a gathering of over 250 people is planned, the host needs approval from the state.
  • Guests who are not members of the same household must stay six feet apart.
  • Face masks must be worn at all indoor gatherings. They are not necessary outdoors as long as social distancing is possible.

Q: How Can Delaware Keep Business Going During COVID?

A: The only way for businesses to keep going during COVID is to follow the stated guidelines.

  • Business owners should only allow the maximum number of customers in the building set by the state
  • Customers should wear masks at all times.
  • Customers should remain six feet apart at all times.
  • Business owners should post signs reminding customers to social distance and wear masks.
  • Stickers should be placed on the floor to help customers social distance properly.
  • The business should be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.


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