Photos of the bustling food court at Christiana Mall on Black Friday drew criticism on social media and led to a public health response.
Going into effect immediately, the food court is now limited to 100 people – and not 30% of the facility’s capacity, according to governor spokesman Jon Starkey.
“DPH supervisors are in a potential area of concern [Friday], including Christiana and Concord malls as well as outlets on the beach, “Starkey said. Food stalls in malls are subject to the same 30 percent capacity limit imposed on restaurants. While Christiana Mall’s food court may technically be below that limit, we are concerned about volume people we saw. “
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services posted the same message to its Facebook page.
Steve Chambliss, Senior General Manager at Christiana Mall, told WDEL that the food court is in place.
“We listened to the concerns of our community and, at the direction of the Ministry of Health, have reduced the number of tables in space for the remainder of the weekend break. As we are in uncharted territory, we will continue to review and make adjustments to our program to provide a pleasant shopping environment. safe for buyers. “
The new restrictions come after the Delaware Restaurant Association posted a photo on Facebook with a message to the governor:
“Governor John Carney – You said that you are ‘protecting lives and targeting the restrictions where we see the spread of COVID-19’ and to ‘avoid meeting anyone outside your home.’ How exactly to allow retailers to flood capacity on Black Friday to “avoid gatherings?” Will you accurately report the spread of COVID-19 associated with large social gatherings such as holiday shopping, and visiting retail stores, malls, and indoor food courts? How do you advocate celebrate Thanksgiving only with your immediate family … but also allow HUNDREDS of people to gather in the public food court area (NO MASK ON) as these photos illustrate ?? Would you contact a tracker from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) asking about whether people eat in the open, the food court area? Or just the restaurant? We need the right data from contact tracing – not just pointing fingers where people have been. “
Delaware Restaurant Association executive director Carrie Leishman has been quite vocal about the latest round of restrictions reducing restaurant capacity back to 30% amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, which are seen across the country. Leishman has questioned the data on restaurant-related infections and said his industry is being used as a “scapegoat.
Restaurants have lost an estimated $ 900 million since the start of the pandemic and closed in March, impacting one in ten Delaware people who make up First State’s 50,000 restaurant industry workforce.