Face coverings are required for everyone Kindergarten age and older in K-12 schools (public and private), early learning facilities, and State of Delaware buildings. Individuals ages 2 and up as of Jan. 11, 2022, in accordance with Governor John Carney’s order, are required to wear a face covering while visiting any indoor business or space open to the public.
Unvaccinated individuals and children ages 2 and up not eligible for the vaccine should continue to wear face coverings.
- A “face covering” means a type of mask or respirator recommended by CDC guidance available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/types-of-masks.html..
- Businesses must require customers and employees wear a face mask in indoor public settings as of Jan. 11, 2022.
What masks offer the best protection?
- For your best level of protection, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well, is most comfortable for you and that you will wear consistently every time.
- Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection.
What Should I Know About Respirators?
- While all masks and respirators provide some level of protection, properly fitted respirators provide the highest level of protection.
- If a respirator is worn properly and can be used for extended periods, individuals may opt for the increased protection against COVID-19.
- Some respirators may be harder to tolerate or wear consistently than others.
- A mask or respirator will be less effective if it fits poorly or if you wear it improperly or take it off frequently
- A well-fitting mask may be better than a poor-fitting respirator. Some respirators may be less comfortable leading to less correct use.
- It is important for respirators to form a seal to the face to work properly. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask. Gaps can be caused by choosing the wrong size or type of respirator or when a respirator is worn with facial hair.
- High quality respirators are important if you are older, immunocompromised, not up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccinations, or in higher risk situations
- For a list of FDA-approved masks visit https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/n95list1-h.html
- NIOSH and OSHA have developed a video and factsheet demonstrating how to determine if the respirator fits properly (user seal check) and how to properly put on and take off a respirator.
Where are face coverings required?
- Any child under the age of two (2) must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
- TRANSPORTATION: When they are an employee or rider on public transportation, or a school bus, paratransit vehicle, taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
- SCHOOLS AND CHILD CARE FACILITIES: Staff, students and visitors kindergarten age and older in K-12 and early learning facilities are required to wear face coverings indoors — regardless of vaccination status.
- STATE BUILDINGS: Staff and visitors in state buildings and facilities are required to wear face coverings.
- LONG-TERM CARE: Face masks are required of staff, vendors, contractors, and visitors to the facility, regardless of vaccination status. Residents of such facilities should wear face coverings as recommended by the CDC.
- BUSINESSES: As of Jan. 11, 2022, individuals older than two years old must wear a face mask in public indoor settings.
What about medical conditions?
- Individuals who have a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a face covering can request a reasonable accommodation from the business, school, or individuals responsible for indoor/outdoor spaces open to the public to enable full and equal access to services, transportation, and facilities open to the public. A requested accommodation that would endanger any third party or create any likelihood of further infection is per se unreasonable and therefore not required. A reasonable accommodation does not include simply allowing a customer inside without a face covering. Reasonable accommodations could include curbside pickup, delivery, or pick up by appointment.
- CDC: Information for fully vaccinated individuals – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC: Use of Masks to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Get More COVID Data
For more data on Delaware COVID cases, testing and outcomes, including demographic breakdowns, go to My Healthy Community