Pictures of a packed food court have prompted state health authorities to crack down on Covid restrictions.
The photos were taken at Delaware’s Christiana Mall in the US on Friday, when Black Friday sales were on, and shows shoppers enjoying their meals at the food court, with nearly every table occupied and few wearing face coverings.
The images prompted the Delaware Restaurant Association to call out the state’s governor for the double standards with its restrictions and advice regarding coronavirus.
“Governor John Carney – you say that you're ‘protecting lives and targeting restrictions where we’re seeing spread of Covid-19’ and to ‘avoid gatherings with anyone outside your household’,” the association said on Facebook.
“How exactly is allowing retail to overflow capacity on Black Friday ‘avoiding gatherings’?
“Will you accurately report the spread of Covid-19 tied to large social gatherings like holiday shopping, and visiting retail stores, malls, and indoor food courts?”
The post also questions whether contact tracers will ask whether people have dined in a food court, or if people will just be asked what restaurants they visited.
“We share these pictures not to point fingers at others, but to continue to ask for fairness across industries in targeted restrictions,” the post explained.
“We're following the rules and protecting Delawareans from further spread. Please ensure others do the same.”
Food court capacity to be lowered
In the comments one person was stunned the photo was taken in 2020, during a global pandemic, which has severely impacted the US, questioning whether people had “lost their minds”.
Others said the photos were “outrageous” and “scary” and even health authorities responded in a different post, saying the department was aware of the scenes.
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) shared an image of the food court to its Facebook page and said inspectors were at “potential areas of concern”, including Christiana Mall.
The post also explains food courts are subject to the same capacity limit as restaurants - 30 per cent, however following Black Friday that has now changed.
“While the Christiana Mall food court may have been technically under that limit, health officials are concerned about the volume of people they saw on Friday,” DHSS said on Saturday.
“In response, starting today, seating in the food courts will be capped at 100 people.”
US anticipates Covid surge after Thanksgiving
According to state data, there have been over 35,000 confirmed total Covid infections in Delaware, the last weekly state report said new cases were “elevated” and that 763 people have died from the virus.
The US has over 13.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 267,900 people in the US have died from the virus.
However, following Thanksgiving, the US is bracing for a disastrous worsening of the nationwide surge because of holiday gatherings.
Health experts pleaded with Americans to stay at home over Thanksgiving and not gather with people outside of their household.
Almost 1.2 million people passed through US airports on Sunday, which is the most since the pandemic gripped the US in March. This of course does not account for those who travelled by road to visit family and friends.
Following the holiday, several states have ramped up restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid.
with Associated Press
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