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Guidance for Face Coverings


Governor John Carney issued a modified State of Emergency declaration that requires Delawareans to wear face coverings in public settings, including in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and on public transportation.

  • A cloth face covering is not a substitute for existing guidance about handwashing and social distancing.
  • 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.

 Public Guidance

  • Delawareans wearing a face covering should practice strict hand-washing before and after touching the face covering.
  • Face coverings are not a replacement for washing hands, practicing physical distancing, and staying home.
  • If you are sick, wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people – even while at home.
  • The best defense against COVID-19 is frequent hand washing, avoiding being around sick people, staying home/physical distancing, and avoiding touching your face, mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands
  • Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings During COVID-19 Pandemic for Children:
    • Delawareans over the age of 12 are required to wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain
    • Any child 2-years-old or younger MUST NOT wear a face covering, due to the risk of suffocation.
    • Face coverings are recommended for children age 2-4 when feasible.
    • Face coverings are strongly recommended for children ages 5 and above as long as there are no health risks based on a child’s medical condition.
  • DPH Guidance on Singing and Other Loud Vocalization:
    • If engaged in activities such as singing, or yelling (e.g.: lifeguards, camp staff or coaches providing instructions), follow DPH Guidance on Singing and Other Loud Vocalization.
    • Ensure you are wearing a face covering, and following additional requirements in the Governor’s 20th Modification to the State of Emergency by staying at least 13 feet away from others, facing away from the audience, or stand behind a physical barrier or partition such as a sneeze guard if you are not wearing a face covering.  The same requirements are in effect whether the activity occurs inside or outside.
    • If face coverings are difficult to wear during an activity, consider using face shields in addition to distancing as an alternative.
    • If face coverings are available but not used, the reader, speaker, or singer must put the face covering back on and use hand sanitizer immediately after speaking, reading, or singing.

 Business Guidance

Effective 8:00 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 6 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 should provide alternate methods of pickup or delivery.

Learn how to make a face covering from the CDC

Instructions on how to make and wear a face coveringMore information from CDC 


Important to note:

  • Members of the general public should not to use medical or surgical masks. Medical-grade masks should be reserved for health care workers and first responders.
  • Individuals wearing a cloth face covering should practice strict hand washing before and after touching and adjusting the mask.
  • Face coverings are not a replacement for washing hands, physical distancing while performing essential activities, and staying home.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. Research has shown that certain more densely-woven fabrics may be more effective. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

The primary role of cloth face coverings are to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but may not show symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for washing hands, physical distancing while performing essential activities, and staying home, but they may be helpful when combined with these actions.

You are required to wear a face covering in public settings, including in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and on public transportation. Wearing a cloth face covering does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others. If you are sick, you should wear a cloth face covering, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people — even while at home.

Washing your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily is strongly recommended. Use a bag or bin to store cloth face coverings until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on or adjusting the mask, and avoid touching your face. Discard cloth face coverings that:

  • Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • No longer cover the mouth and nose
  • Don’t stay on the face
  • Have any rips or holes in the fabric

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