For the second time in just over a week, the Delaware Division of Public Health is asking people at the Delaware beach resorts, particularly in Rehoboth and Dewey, to get tested for Covid-19. Officials say the recommendation comes after about 100 persons tested positive in Rehoboth last Thursday. Testing in Dewey last Friday also identified another dozen persons as Covid positive.
Testing events have been scheduled for today at The Starboard restaurant and for Thursday at the Epworth United Methodist Church outside of Rehoboth. Additional community testing sites in the beach area are likely to be scheduled in the next week or so. Registration is open at http://delaware.curativeinc.com. The Starboard event is already booked, although they may be able to accommodate some who arrive without appointments.
Beebe Healthcare is also partnering with the Delaware Restaurant Association to offer testing today and tomorrow to staff of any food establishment in the beach area. Testing is scheduled for today at Big Fish Grill and tomorrow at Touch of Italy outside of Rehoboth. No pre-registration is required. Anyone with questions can call (302) 738-2545.
Several Dewey and Rehoboth restaurants have temporarily closed while others cut back on service this past weekend — probably the busiest weekend so far this summer — and several remain closed still today.
HammerHeads Dewey Beach, which voluntarily closed both of its locations last Thursday, placed a statement on its Facebook page Sunday stating that all of its employees were required to get tested. “As of today,” the post reads, “we have been notified of a few positive test results of Covid-19. Fortunately, most of our staff has tested negative.”
Steve “Monty” Montgomery from The Starboard said Sunday that many of the restaurants are closing for a short period of time to enable the staff to get tested. “I think Delaware restaurants have taken this crisis very seriously and this latest round of temporary closings only proves that, making sure our employees are safe is a great step forward,” Montgomery added.
He expects many restaurants to switch to carryout service again while waiting for test results while some will limit hours and others will continue with their normal schedules. “Nobody is at fault here,” Montgomery points out. “It’s just the opposite. Business owners are working with so much uncertainty all while trying to do things correctly and safely. With so many more people testing, more people now in our area, of course the numbers of those testing positive are climbing. With so many younger people who are asymptomatic, it’s easy to spread without folks realizing it,” he added.
Woody’s was among the first to announce changes on its Facebook page. Last Wednesday the restaurant posted a statement that it “has decided to move to carry-out only until we feel it’s safe for my staff and customers to be in the restaurant. It’s not a decision I take lightly and the safety and well-being of my staff and customers outweighs all other decisions.”
But on Saturday, Woody’s announced that it would also be discontinuing carryout and closing “because of increased anxieties within our beach community regarding Covid… This allows for the actions needed to be taken to prevent the spread of this virus and promote the health and safety of our families, coworkers, customers, and fellow industry members.”
As a result, Woody’s gave away 350 uncooked crab cakes which they were planning to sell to carryout customers. Many waited in a long line on Sunday.
The State of Delaware has issued this Travel Advisory for the Delaware Beaches.