State Representative and Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf is now vowing to change Delaware Law to specifically allow dogs in restaurant outdoor areas. He writes on social media:
Last week, I posted about the Division of Public Health(DPH) FB post stating that they had a regulation that prohibits dogs from being in a restaurant including on outside patios. Your response was both fantastic and powerful! I disagree with DPH taking this position now after so many years of no enforcement. My position is that if a state agency has a regulation that has been on the books for years and it has not been enforced for years then they should just get rid of it.
I am 100% on the side of dog owners on this issue. I did contact DPH looking for answers as to how this came to be and DPH has insinuated that they would not be enforcing the animal ban while they review the regulation but many restaurants with outdoor patios are still wary of jeopardizing their business license based on a FB post or an email saying it won’t be enforced. I am in the process of drafting a piece of legislation to correct the problem. The legislation will leave the decision up to the owner of a restaurant with outside patios or eating areas if they want to allow dogs into their outside areas. I am already lining up co-sponsors and will be introducing the bill very soon. The problem is it won’t be heard on the House floor until we go back into session in January.
I have heard that a few restaurants are quietly allowing dogs on their patios again. I am not going to name them, and I hope no one else does either so as not bring them any attention in case DPH reverses their position.
Keep the faith, we will get this worked out!"
Last week Mr. Schwartzkopf explained his views on the Delaware Public Health department regulation,
"Like many of you, I was shocked to hear that Delaware Division of Public Health - DPH was promoting an existing regulation that pets couldn't accompany their owners to restaurants' outdoor seating areas.
That's because like many of you, I did the same thing for years, with Maddy joining me for breakfast at Sharky's. I know how residents and visitors thoroughly enjoy bringing their dogs with them to grab a coffee, bagel or sandwich and sit outside their favorite establishment.
I've reached out to DPH to learn more about this -- and to ask them to address restaurants and residents' concerns. If necessary, I will sponsor legislation to return things to the status quo, so everyone can keep enjoying the lifestyle we're accustomed to in our community.
Apologies for not jumping on this sooner -- I was out of town and only heard about this issue in the last couple days."