Delaware State Police enforce out-of-state travel restrictions amid coronavirus outbreak

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Delaware State Police conducted multiple checkpoints over the course of the weekend throughout Sussex County, as a measure to enforce Governor Carney’s order restricting out of state travelers entry into Delaware.

The checkpoints occurred between approximately 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., both days, and rotated between roadways which had been identified as having a high volume of out of state travelers.

The seventh modification of the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration specifically addresses the requirement for out-of-state persons traveling in to the State of Delaware to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The order authorizes any Delaware law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle driving within the state simply because it is displaying an out-of-state tag. This authorization does not apply to vehicles traveling on I-95, I-295, or I-495.

On Saturday, the checkpoints took place on Plantation Rd. south of John J. Williams Hwy., Coastal Hwy. southbound at Rt. 1A, and northbound Coastal Hwy., south of Bethany. A total of 1,507 vehicles passed through the three checkpoints with 1,284 being Delaware vehicles and 223 being from out of state.

On Sunday, the checkpoints took place on Rt. 113 in the area of Rt. 20, south of Millsboro, Rt. 24 in the Long Neck area and again on northbound Coastal Hwy. south of Bethany. A total of 1126 passed through the checkpoints on this day, 872 from Delaware and 254 from out of state.

As vehicles proceeded through the checkpoints, those displaying out of state tags were stopped, and the driver was then asked limited questions related to their recent travel and purpose for entering Delaware.

The driver was then informed of the Governor’s declaration and explicitly advised that if they are coming into Delaware from out-of-state, they are required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days or immediately return to their home state.

The interactions with both the Delawareans who passed through the check-point, as well as the out of state drivers who were stopped, were productive and non-confrontational. Those being stopped were appreciative in being made aware of the Governor’s order and what the requirement was.

During the interactions, troopers stressed that the primary purpose of the stop was to inform and to educate as opposed to it being a criminal enforcement initiative, although violating the order does constitute a criminal offense.

There were no citations issued or arrests made during the two day operation.

Directed patrols throughout the state are expected to continue. The purpose of the patrols and checkpoints is to achieve voluntary compliance with the order, through education and awareness. The stops are intended to serve the public welfare by helping to prevent and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.