Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed the 29th modification to the COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration, eliminating social distancing requirements and removing Delaware’s mask mandate effective May 21.
The change had been announced late last week.
Maryland did not wait a week and ended the mask mandate last weekend. That created some confusion in border areas.
At the weekly Covid-19 briefing, Carney admitted that the sudden change in mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control was confusing.
“We’re in a good place, Carney said, adding that he will continue to wear a mask in his morning visit to the Wawa market.
With 51 percent of the state’s population getting at least one dose of vaccine, cases have been declining in Delaware to a level not seen since summer 2020. The modification becomes effective at 8 a.m. on Friday..
The revised CDC guidance advises that fully vaccinated people can stop distancing and wearing masks in most places indoors and outdoors, except in certain crowded settings.
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in public settings and around those who live outside of their household.
The order continues to require mask-wearing on public transit, planes, in schools, health care facilities, and congregate settings like prisons and homeless shelters. The order also continues to require mask-wearing in state-owned buildings and facilities, including Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) facilities, Delaware State Service Centers, and the Carvel State Office Building.
Health care facilities are expected to continue to require masks.
Large retailers are making mask-wearing optional in states without mandates.
Any child under 2-years-old must not wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation.
The push continues to vaccinate Delawareans ages 12 and older. Click on the accompanying link for vaccination sites. de.gov/getmyvaccine.
“Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection against this virus and can feel comfortable getting back to the things they loved to do before this pandemic,” Carney stated. “For our neighbors who aren’t vaccinated, the message is clear. The Covid-19 vaccine is the best protection we have against the virus. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you and those you love.”
As of Monday, May 17, Delaware providers had administered 844,384 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
More vaccine hesitancy is apparent in Kent County, with Sussex County having the highest shot rate followed by New Castle County.
Carney advised Kent County residents to wear a facemask in public places, given the lower percentage of vaccinations.