By CBS3 Staff


REHOBOTH, Del. (CBS) — Delaware Gov. John Carney is closing the state’s beaches in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The closures went into effect at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The beach closures will last until May 15 or until the threat of COVID-19 has been eliminated.

“We need everyone to take this situation seriously. We saw too many people on the beaches yesterday and we weren’t seeing the kind of social distancing that we need in order to slow the spread of coronavirus,” Carney said in a statement. “This was a difficult decision, but we need folks to follow the rules to keep all Delawareans safe. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces frequently. Stay home, especially if you feel sick and even if you have mild symptoms. We will get through this together.”

Coronavirus Update: Latest On COVID-19 Cases, School Closings And Cancellations Across Delaware Valley

The public is prohibited from accessing the beach except to exercise or walk their dogs where pets are permitted. Local officials may choose to enact tighter restrictions.

There are currently 45 COVID-19 cases in Delaware.

Earlier this week, Carney announced the closures of all gyms, movie theaters, spas and bowling alleys as Delaware is under a state of emergency.

Carney says the state will offer several testing sites beginning Monday.

In New Castle County, tests will be offered at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Saint Francis Hospital in Wilmington and at Wilmington Hospital.

In order to get tested, you must have symptoms and have a prescription from a doctor.

Individuals with general questions about coronavirus can call DPH at 1-866-408-1899 or email them at DPHCall@delaware.gov. Individuals with hearing impairment can call 7-1-1.