Newark’s response to coronavirus
With 264 confirmed coronavirus cases in Delaware, the City of Newark plans to take necessary steps to halt the spread.
An emergency ordinance took effect on March 16, banning all gatherings of more than 10 people in the city.
The emergency ordinance will go on for 60 days or may expire earlier if Delaware Gov. John Carney eliminates his executive decision.
“I suspect it is going to go longer than 60 days because we still have unidentified victims of the virus out there,” Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton said. “If we do not take the necessary steps, we could find ourselves in a situation like Italy.”
Consequently, Newark’s city hall was closed to the public, and all public meetings and workshops have been cancelled through the end of April.
The city has recommended discontinuing religious gatherings until further notice.
As of today, the city has closed all playgrounds, as well as basketball courts at Handloff, Dickey, Folk, Kells, Phillips, White Chapel, Fairfield and Lumbrook Parks. Tennis courts are also closed with the exception of parks with single-court areas.
Furthermore, the City Council office will deliberate on important decisions like those of bill payments. The city also suspended walk-in services suspended to safeguard both visitors and staff members and people are encouraged to pay their bills online.
“The quicker we can cut back on the number of people congregating, the better,” Clifton said.
The state of emergency proclamation also announced that all restaurants, bars and taverns must remain closed. The only exceptions are takeouts, drive-thru and delivery, to prevent the businesses from completely shutting down.
“We just got a takeout from a restaurant in Newark,” Clifton said. “I want to help them survive, but in a sensible way.”
Clifton’s original plan was to let the restaurants remain open, with the exception of the bars. However, given the severity of the situation, he has decided against it.
The city will offer free 15-minute parking at all municipal lots and metered spaces on Main Street for people to quickly pick up items and meals from local retailers and restaurants.
Meanwhile, with the upcoming city elections just around the corner, the City Council is contemplating ways to make the entire process of voting as safe and healthy as possible for the voters.
Methods like sanitizing the voting machines and absentee ballots were among the many ideas suggested. According to Clifton, there is also the possibility that uncontested existing council members may be allowed to continue to serve.
“We need to practice social distancing,” Clifton said, “There is only one way to flatten the curve, keep people apart.”
Check back frequently for The Review’s latest coronavirus coverage at UDReview.com/Category/Coronavirus.