delaware state police

CLAYMONT, Del. — Delaware state troopers are cracking down on out-of-state drivers

State police were active Friday outside the Total Wine & More in Claymont, which is located along the Delaware-Pennsylvania border. Troopers were given full authority to pull over any vehicle with out-of-state tags.

It's all part of heightened measures by the state to limit the number travelers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. John Carney issued a travel ban earlier this week, imploring drivers that now is not the time to visit Delaware. The travel ban applies to persons making trips to stores such as the Total Wine & More, which was buzzing earlier in the week with many Pennsylvania residents stocking up on their favorite bottles of alcoholic beverages since Pennsylvania's state stores are closed. 

Friday was a different story as there weren't nearly as many vehicles with Pennsylvania plates in the store's parking lot.

When asked to comment on Delaware State Police's increased safety measures, one trooper declined comment to the Daily Times. The officer referred to the statement issued by Master Corporal Michael Austin, spokesman for Delaware State Police, on Thursday evening.

The statement, which can be read in its entirety on Delaware.gov, includes the following language:

"The primary intent and goal of the Delaware State Police is to uphold their sworn duties by providing information to the public that we serve, in order to gain voluntary compliance with the mandates, and to promote, and further ensure public safety and health.

"The seventh modification of the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration specifically addresses the requirement for out-of-state persons traveling in to the State of Delaware to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"This order authorizes any Delaware law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle driving within the state simply because it is displaying out-of-state tags. During the stop the officer may ask limited questions related to the driver’s recent travel. The driver then must be informed of the Governor’s declarations and will be explicitly advised that if they are coming into Delaware from out-of-state, they are required by law, to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Delaware, or immediately return to their home state."

Troopers are conducting searches on non-interstate roadways identified as having a large volume of out-of-state travelers. This includes Naamans Road which extends from Upper Chichester in Delco through Wilmington.

"Again, the intent of this order and the purpose of the stop is to achieve voluntary compliance. These stops are intended to serve the public welfare," Austin said in the statement. "Now is not the time to visit Delaware. As a state and a nation, we are facing a serious situation that is getting worse each day. Our goal is to limit a surge in COVID-19 cases that would overwhelm our hospital system. Per the order, we must control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our Delaware communities coming in from other states."

The enforcement should further dissuade Pennsylvania residents from breaking the law.

Pennsylvania prohibits its residents from purchasing alcohol from another state and returning home with it. While the law is not always enforced, violators could face fines of $10 per can of beer or $25 per bottle of liquor.

Gov. Tom Wolf has since modified his announcement to close all liquor stores in Pennsylvania, which went into effect March 17 in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

This week the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board re-opened its online shopping store, although its website is struggling to keep up with traffic."

"Due to overwhelming demand, the online store is not available at this time," a message on the Fine Wine & Good Spirits website reads. "Please try again tomorrow or in the coming days. We apologize for the inconvenience."

While Fine Wine & Spirit in-store operations are closed, beer distributors remain open in Pennsylvania.

Delaware's travel order does not apply to out-of-state drivers on I-95, I-295, or I-495. Drivers are allowed to pass through to another state.

Further exceptions apply to motorists who leave their home state to go to work for essential businesses as designated by the state of Delaware, to care for a family member, or visits to a pharmacy, veterinarian or primary care physician.

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