In a move Gov. John Carney referred to as “baby steps,” Delaware will allow some small businesses to reopen as early as Friday, following a nationwide trend of states slowly loosening restrictions put in place to slow the coronavirus pandemic.

Small retailers — including department, stationery, and book stores — will be allowed to reopen using curbside pick-up, as long as social distancing guidelines can be maintained. Jewelry stores will be permitted to do business by appointment only.

Retailers allowed to reopen Friday include:

  • Clothing stores
  • Shoe stores
  • Sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments
  • Book, periodical, music stores
  • Department stores
  • Tobacco and vape stores
  • Other general merchandise stores
  • Office supply, stationery, and gift stores
  • Used merchandise stores
  • Consumer goods rental

"I understand how hard this has been for Delawareans across our state. We’ve tried to find ways to ease the pain without compromising public health,” Carney said in a statement. “But even these limited steps allowing businesses to offer additional services will require strict compliance with safety standards, especially social distancing. We cannot afford to go backwards and see new cases and hospitalizations spike. Getting used to a new normal won’t be easy, but this is the first step to being able to reopen our economy.”

Hair dressers will also be allowed to reopen, but will only be permitted to provide services to essential employees. Strict guidelines must also be in place, including limiting the number of appointments and completing temperature checks of employees. Both employees and customers will be required to wear face masks, and staff must wear disposable gloves.

Drive thru movies are also permitted under Carney’s order, but patrons must remain inside vehicles and social distancing must be maintained at all times. Golf carts will be allowed to return to golf courses, but with a limit of one rider at a time.

Carney pointed to positive trends in coronavirus cases in Delaware, which increased by just 83 confirmed cases over a 24-hour period, despite ramped-up testing around poultry plants in the southern part of the state. As of Tuesday afternoon, the state had 5,371 confirmed cases, about half in Sussex County, and 187 deaths.