Delaware residents are now required to wear face coverings in public settings, according to Gov. John Carney's latest modification to his state of emergency declaration.
The order, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday, deems settings like grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor's offices and public transportation, as mandatory places to wear these face coverings. This also includes outdoor public spaces like parks and golf courses, "if maintaining social distancing of six (6) feet between individuals of different households is impracticable," according to the order.
The face covering directive does not apply to children 12 or younger.
It also requires businesses to follow a number of additional requirements starting May 1, including requiring employees to wear a face covering while working in areas open to the public or when coming within six feet of other staff.
Additionally, it requires businesses to provide face coverings and hand sanitizer to their employees, as well as deny entry to people who do not have a face covering.
“Now is not the time for Delawareans to get complacent,” Carney said in a statement Saturday.
“Wearing a face covering in public settings is important to prevent transmission of this disease. But wearing a face covering is not permission to go out in public more often."
Carney's announcement reminded Delaware residents that they should use cloth face coverings, leaving medical-grade masks for health care workers and first responders who are in great need of them during the pandemic.
Delaware residents should wash their hands before and after touching their face coverings.
“Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for existing guidance around hand-washing and social distancing,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “Delawareans should stay at home whenever possible, only leaving for essential activities.”
All other requirements of the state of emergency, including Carney's stay-at-home order and mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers remain in place. Breaking those orders is considered breaking the law, Carney said.