State partners with beach towns to educate visitors

WILMINGTON — As southbound motorists crawled along Del. 1 Friday evening slowed by a Delaware State Police checkpoint north of Five Points, Gov. John Carney announced a new “Summer Safely” campaign to educate the public about the restrictions they’ll find at the beaches.

The effort seeks to reinforce the restrictions on the Delaware beaches and to encourage Delawareans to take the proper steps to mitigate COVID-19. Gov. Carney lifted State of Delaware restrictions that had limited beach access to walking and exercise starting at 5 p.m. Friday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

The key messages of the “Summer Safely” initiative are:
• Practice social distancing. Stay 6 feet apart
• Wear a face covering in public places.
• Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
• Stay home if you’re sick.

“We look forward to welcoming Delawareans back at the beach this weekend, but we all need to take basic precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Gov. Carney. “Wear a face covering in public settings. Keep your distance from others. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. I know it’s unusual, but we know that’s the best way to prevent transmission of the disease. Now’s not the time to let up.”

The campaign is a partnership with the beach towns, local Chambers of Commerce, the Delaware Tourism Office, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Delaware Division of Public Health, and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.
“The Association of Coastal Towns membership has worked cooperatively with Governor Carney, state officials and local leaders to ensure a consistent message is relayed to our residents and visitors this coming summer season,” said association Chairman Gene Langan. “The message being conveyed is to come enjoy Delaware’s beautiful beaches and do so safely. We are looking forward to an improving health situation in Delaware and welcoming back visitors to all of our beaches.”

The campaign began Friday with metal signage at entryways to the beaches, stickers on takeout containers, and decals on windows of retailers. Promotional tactics are to expand as the summer progresses.

A team of Beach Ambassadors in “Summer Safely” T-shirts was to greet beachgoers starting Friday to educate Delawareans about the proper ways to mitigate coronavirus and point individuals to resources when they seek additional information. The ambassadors have been trained by the Division of Public Health and the Delaware Tourism Office on how to address questions and the resources to provide members of the public. Beach Ambassadors also will use and distribute hand sanitizer produced by Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna.

“For many, travel will be different this year. As we enter this season, we join with state and local leaders to remind everyone to summer safely and hope Delawareans will use this opportunity to rediscover the landscapes and tourism businesses in their own backyards,” said Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. “The beaches are part of what makes Delaware such a special place to live in and travel to. We also look forward to welcoming back out-of-state visitors when it is once again safe to do so.”

Details on Delaware’s economic reopening are available through the governor’s website.