Gov. Carney announces public engagement around economic reopening, recovery

WILMINGTON — Gov. John Carney on Thursday announced a statewide public engagement strategy focused on Delaware’s economic reopening and recovery effort due to COVID-19.

Starting on Monday, the Delaware Division of Small Business and the Delaware Prosperity Partnership will host virtual Recovery Town Halls with members of the General Assembly, small businesses, and local Chambers of Commerce, to begin collecting feedback from small business leaders about Delaware’s economic reopening.

• Small Business Recovery Town Hall – Monday, April 27 – 2 p.m. – Eastern Sussex

• Small Business Recovery Town Hall – Tuesday, April 28 – 6 p.m. – Southern New Castle

• Small Business Recovery Town Hall – Thursday, April 30 – 10 a.m. – Western Sussex

• Small Business Recovery Town Hall – Thursday, April 30 – 6 p.m. – Newark Area

• Small Business Recovery Town Hall – Monday, May 4 – 2 p.m. – Kent County

• Small Business Recovery Town Hall – Tuesday, May 5 – 6 p.m. – Wilmington Area

• Small Business Recovery Town Hall – Wednesday, May 6 – 6 p.m. – Northern New Castle County

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long will host similar, virtual town hall meetings with members of the public to collect feedback that will inform Delaware’s recovery effort.

• Recovery Town Hall – Wednesday, April 29 – 6 p.m. – Kent County

• Recovery Town Hall – Monday, May 4 – 6 p.m. – Northern New Castle County

• Recovery Town Hall – Wednesday, May 6 – 7:30 p.m. – Sussex County

• Recovery Town Hall – Thursday, May 7 – 6 p.m. – Southern New Castle County

Additionally, Gov. Carney has assigned S.W.A.T. teams from state government to work with industries most hard-hit by the COVID-19 crisis, including the restaurant industry, tourism, retail and the arts community.

“We’re still seeing increased infections of COVID-19, so this fight is far from over,” said Gov. Carney. “At the same time, we need to look forward. We need to plan for safely reopening our economy under a new normal. I encourage all Delawareans and Delaware small businesses to lean into this process.

“Visit to learn more about Delaware’s plan, and to offer ideas on how to safely restart our economy. Help get Delaware through this difficult time. Most importantly, continue to stay home. Stay safe. And stay informed.”

Lt. Gov. Hall-Long said she is looking forward to speaking to the communities.

“To successfully reopen will require all communities and sectors of our economy to participate,” she said. “I look forward to hearing from Delawareans and gathering their recommendations to keep people safe, and able to return to work, and make our state stronger and healthier.”

Several other state officials weighed in on reopening the state’s economy:

“While any effort to reopen our state has to be driven by science, we also have to begin the process of mapping out how to restart our economy in a smart, safe manner. Getting input from all corners of our state is an important part of that process,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “Having our business leaders at the table will ensure that their voices are heard and their thoughts, ideas and concerns are taken into account as we move forward through this challenging time.”

“I am glad the administration is seeking out the input of small business operators and that these meetings are starting quickly,” said House Minority Leader Danny Short. “We need a plan to put Delawareans back to work as soon as possible.”

“Our small business community is being hit hard by this public health crisis and they need our support more than ever,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride. “I’ve spent hours talking to business owners in my district who are facing incredible challenges that are impacting them and their workers. I’m hopeful these virtual town halls will give us an opportunity to learn from their struggles and ensure we are attentive to their concerns as we plan to reopen our state and address the economic recovery ahead.”

“This pandemic has had a terrible impact on our small business community. Given the seasonal nature of the economy here in eastern Sussex County, a lot is on the line over the coming weeks and months,” said Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker. “I look forward to joining with the governor and my fellow legislators to hear directly from local business owners and to plot a course forward for all Delawareans.”

“This is an important first step in getting our economy restarted,” said Damian DeStefano, Director of the Division of Small Business. “The Governor’s plan to address the complex task of reopening by focusing on customized plans for individual industries is the right approach to determine how to safely and effectively do so. We look forward to helping in this effort.”

“To safely and successfully reopen businesses throughout Delaware requires us to listen to the experiences, ideas and opportunities employers and businesses have. Hearing directly from CEOs, owners and site and operations leaders will not only help us to have a successful Phase 1 launch, but may also lead to new opportunities,” said Kurt Foreman, President & CEO of Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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