Gov. John Carney on Saturday ordered the wearing of facemasks in public settings under the 13th modification to his State of Emergency declaration.
The order includes employees and customers/patients and becomes effective on which is effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28. Businesses have until May 1 to comply.
The order includes grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and public transportation, a release stated.
Health officials here and elsewhere have recommended the use of facemasks, with governors in neighboring states ordering the use of the protective measure.
Carney had held off on the order, but stated in a Friday press briefing that it was under consideration. The order would come on the same day that a demonstration is slated by opponents of the state’s stay at home order.
Carney’s order does not require children aged 12 or younger to wear a face covering. Any child 2-years-old or youngermust notwear a face covering, due to the risk of suffocation.
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“Now is not the time for Delawareans to get complacent,” said Carney. “We face a very serious situation, with additional cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations statewide. All of our actions are guided by science, and intended to save lives. 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. Delawareans should stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out for essential work or essential items. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. You will only increase your risk – and the risk to your family, friends, and neighbors.”
Under Carney’s modified order, businesses must also take certain steps to keep their employees and customers safe.
By 8 a.m. on Friday, May 1, businesses must:
- Require employees to wear a face-covering while working in areas open to the public and in areas where coming within six feet of other staff is likely.
- Provide, at the business’ expense, face coverings and hand sanitizer for their employees.
- Deny entry to individuals who do not have a face covering – or if one is not available for them.
- If any business denying entry is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, the business must provide alternate methods of pickup or delivery.
Delawareans are urged to use cloth face coverings and reserve medical-grade masks for use by health care workers and first responders. Medical-grade masks include N95, KN95, surgical, or other masks that would be appropriate for a health care setting.
Delawareans wearing a face covering should practice strict hand-washing before and after touching the face covering, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).
Face coverings are not a replacement for washing hands, practicing physical distancing, and staying home. Delawareans who are sick should wear a face covering over their nose and mouth if they must be around other people – even while at home, health officials emphasized.
“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. Wash your hands. Keep 6-10 feet between yourself and others.”
Carney’s State of Emergency has the fullforce and effectof law. Thestay-at-home order, andmandatory quarantine for out-of-state travelers, remain in place. Violations of the emergency order, orany of its modifications, are considered a criminal offense.