Associate News Editor
Associate News Editor
Gov. John Carney signed into effect a universal mask mandate for the state of Delaware in the face of a winter surge of COVID-19. This mandate also takes effect amid the university’s plan to transfer to an in-person format this winter session.
As of Jan. 11, all individuals kindergarten-aged and older are required to wear a mask while in any indoor space open to the public regardless of vaccination status. Mask requirements for public and private K-12 schools, which originally would have expired in February, have also been extended with this mandate.
The law exempts individuals from wearing masks when actively eating or drinking, outdoors, in office spaces when there is at least a six-foot difference between individuals, in houses of worship or during activities where wearing a mask is not feasible, such as dental appointments.
The state has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving. More than 25% of COVID-19 tests are positive.
This revision to the State of Emergency declaration cites major surges in hospitalizations across the state, which have burdened healthcare workers and impeded the ability for patients to get proper care.
“Our hospital systems are facing a crisis-level situation with record numbers of Delawareans seeking emergency care,” Carney said in the declaration. “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.”
The governor previously deployed 70 more members of the Delaware National Guard to assist with COVID-19 mitigation efforts such as helping with distributions of vaccinations, masks and tests, while also helping relieve hospital staff. In total, more than 300 members of the Delaware National Guard are assisting with COVID-19 response efforts.
“It’s time for everyone to pitch in and do what works,” Carney said. “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.”