The primary purpose of wearing a cloth face covering is not to protect yourself – it is to protect others.
Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, the Delaware Division of Public Health is recommending Delawareans wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Those settings include grocery stores and pharmacies.
The guidance is for the use of cloth face coverings only. The primary purpose is not to protect yourself – it is to protect others. Medical or surgical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers.
Those who wear a cloth face covering should practice strict hand-washing before and after touching it. Face coverings are not a replacement for washing hands, practicing physical distancing and staying home.
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.
Those who are sick should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth if they must be around other people – even while at home.
“Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for existing guidance around hand-washing and social distancing,” said Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “Delawareans should stay at home whenever possible, only leaving for essential activities. Wash your hands. Keep 6-10 feet between yourself and others. In public settings like grocery stores, where social distancing is difficult, we are recommending that Delawareans wear cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
“Delaware’s response to COVID-19 has been driven by science, and will continue to be driven by science,” said Gov. John Carney. “Our goal is simple. We are working to prevent a surge in cases, protect hospital capacity, and save lives. The science tells us that wearing a face covering in certain public settings can help prevent transmission and spread of the COVID-19 virus. But wearing a face covering is not an excuse to spend more time in public. Stay home. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Wash your hands. Disinfect surfaces frequently. It’s important we all do our part to get through this.”
See DPH's full mask guidance document.