Delaware's new indoor mask mandate now in effect | What you should know

The new rules require people to wear masks in most indoor public settings. The mask mandate began Tuesday at 8 a.m.
WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Delaware's indoor mask mandate is now effect.

Governor John Carney signed the indoor mask mandate to begin 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11.



The new rules require people to wear masks in indoor public settings, including convenience stores, grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, bars, hair salons, malls, and casinos.

"Our hospital systems are facing a crisis-level situation with record numbers of Delawareans seeking emergency care. We need all Delawareans in the fight as we face this winter surge of COVID-19 to make sure our hospitals are not overrun," said Carney.

"I know we're all exhausted by this pandemic. But at the level of hospitalizations we're seeing, Delawareans who need emergency care might not be able to get it. That's just a fact. It's time for everyone to pitch in and do what works. Wear your mask indoors. Avoid gatherings or expect to get and spread COVID. Get your vaccine and, if eligible, get boosted. That's how we'll get through this surge without endangering more lives."

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The new mask requirement requires people to wear masks in indoor public settings, including convenience stores, grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, bars, hair salons, malls, and casinos. It begins Tuesday at 8 a.m.



At the Brandywine YMCA, staff will be updating signage.

"This isn't the first time that we had to go through with wearing the masks, and we're going to quickly adapt to make sure that we can be there to support our community," said Senior Executive Director Caroline Cross.

That also means offering masks and reminding guests that masks must stay on, even while working out on gym equipment.

"It's just something that we really have to make sure that we're doing as a public effort," Cross said.

Businesses are also being encouraged to offer customers masks.

Delaware Small Business Chamber President Bob Older said the mask requirement alone is not a problem.

"They're not putting restrictions as far as how many people can be in a store or how many people can be around. They are not closing businesses, which is a big thing for all of us," Older said.

The mask requirements in K-12 public and private schools and child care facilities, which had been set to expire in early February, will be extended, Carney said.

SEE ALSO: Delaware hospitals say they are in a 'crisis;' urge public to get vaccinated


Both the public and school mask requirements apply to anyone kindergarten age and older. Children aged 2-5 are strongly encouraged to wear masks in public indoor settings, including schools and child care facilities. Children under 2 years old should not wear masks due to the risk of suffocation.

Masks are not required outdoors or while eating or drinking in restaurants and bars, but otherwise should be worn, officials said. Churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the mask requirement.

SEE ALSO: Gov. Carney declares state of emergency to fight COVID-19 winter surge

Carney deployed 70 additional members of the Delaware National Guard to assist with non-clinical operations inside Delaware hospitals statewide beginning Tuesday.

In total, more than 300 members of the Delaware National Guard are assisting with COVID-19 response efforts.
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