May 5: Open on June 1?

Snapshot below from the Boardwalk web cam. Beautiful day at the beach.

Indirectly yesterday, I testified before the Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners. I wasn’t there in person, but I was watching the live feed over the Internet. I had distributed to the Mayor and to each commissioner, as well as to a few friends in the business community, a specific plan for reopening the City. Check out the video, specifically at the 20 minute mark, and again at the 2 hour 6 minute and 30 second mark:

Mayor and Commissioner’s Workshop Meeting May 4, 2020

The plan calls for a 25% reopening of Rehoboth Beach and other Delaware coastal towns by June 1. Officials will have to work out the mechanics of how to limit beach and boardwalk crowding to 25%, probably through a mix of measures starting with parking controls and street closures, with the most extreme measure being a complete closure of the City to vehicular traffic once capacity for the day is reached. If after a further two weeks the indications are positive, capacity on the beach and boardwalk would then be opened to 50%.

The tripwire under the plan is capacity at area hospitals. Currently, according to the Governor, Delaware hospitals are running at below 50% capacity, meaning they’re capable of handling severe cases without resorting to crisis care (gurneys in the hallways, triage for access to ventilators). According to the plan, if hospital caseloads exceed 50% capacity, the brakes will be applied.

It is unclear at this point if Rehoboth Beach will decide to implement this plan or something similar. The Board of Commissioners appears to be divided, with several favoring extreme caution, several others wanting a more rapid easing of restrictions. This plan falls somewhere in the middle, seeking to avoid a nightmare scenario of massive overcrowding that scares away many of our visitors and endangers residents, while also allowing modest numbers of guests to enjoy our community.

While the Governor’s current emergency proclamation effectively prohibits implementing plans of any kind, that proclamation expires May 15. He’s expected to open things up a bit, but not too much, with a new proclamation that by law can extend only a further 30 days.

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2020 05 05 at 8:30am

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