Delaware will take action once the crowded restaurant photos surface; COVID raises concerns

NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) – According to AAA data, 50 million Americans are expected to travel this holiday weekend.

Although this is down from last year, there are still more than many health officials want to see.

When people set out to find some shops in Newark, Delaware, Action News talked to some about post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 concerns.

“I’ve seen a few test sites, and every time I pass, they’re so crowded. But I think I’m going to test,” said Wanda Williams Nunnally of Townsend, Delaware.

Dr. Erik Polan, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathy, says that if you haven’t traveled but seen people outside your immediate household, try to minimize your outburst and keep an eye out for your symptoms.

“I think it’s just keeping in touch with the people you spent the holiday with, minimizing the exposure, at least for the next week,” Polan said.

Action News talked to some people who visited family members.

“We see our kids so rarely that she won’t be missed and we were very healthy in all of this,” said Debbie Bailie, of Pensacola, Florida.

While Delaware does not require quarantine from state travelers, state guidance states that travel poses a greater risk of the virus spreading. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are quarantining non-state travelers.

All three states tightened restrictions in some way before the holiday.

On Friday, photos of busy restaurants at Christiana Mall on Black Friday were posted online by the Delaware Restaurant Association.

The post read, in part, “How do you support celebrating Thanksgiving only with your immediate household … but it also allows Hundreds of people to gather in common dining areas (without masks) as these pictures depict?”

“It was just a reminder of the fact that, as an industry, we ask for the same consideration that is devoted to all other industries,” said Carl Georigi, vice president of the Delaware Restaurant Association. He is also the CEO of Platinum Dining Group, which consists of six restaurants in northern Delaware.

Just this week, Delaware’s indoor dining capacity dropped from 60% to 30%, a blow to struggling restaurants. After the photos surfaced, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services imposed a 100-person limit on restaurant courts, citing concerns from Christiana and other malls.

“It’s helpful to know that the government has responded so quickly … It will be interesting to see how far the assistance goes, just to have a level playing field,” Georigi said.

A spokeswoman for Christiana Mall says that while the mall complied with state regulations on Friday, some of the tables were removed from the dining yard seating for the rest of the festive weekend.

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