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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

As COVID restrictions end Friday, Carney urges honor system for the unvaccinated

Delaware Public Media

Delaware is removing almost all mask requirements and social distancing rules.

The move is in line with the latest CDC recommendation that says it’s safe for people who have been vaccinated to lose the mask. 

Gov. John Carney made it official Tuesday: Delaware will no longer require masks except in large congregate settings like prisons and public transit. The state is also removing social distancing requirements except in schools. The new rules go into effect Friday.

The CDC’s recommendation for ending COVID restrictions only extends to people who have been vaccinated, but Carney says the state will not police mask wearing and social distancing among unvaccinated people. 

“Yeah it does concern me that some that are not vaccinated will not wear a mask when they are in public and put others at risk,” said Carney. “I guess there’s good and bad in that. They’re not putting people that are fully vaccinated at risk, but they’re putting other folks that are not vaccinated at risk. My concern as governor is for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.”  

Carney adds it continues to be the state’s priority to vaccinate as many people as possible.  

The COVID-19 Emergency Order - which allots special emergency powers to state agencies - still remains in place.  Carney says it will be ended as soon as possible, but adds there are still restrictions that need to remain around things like evictions and rules for local governments. 

“They’ve adapted to that, and we have changed those restrictions throughout the year. And nobody will be happier to strip off all of those emergency orders than I will,” Carney said.    

Neighboring New Jersey is keeping its indoor mask rule in place. Carney says he thinks it’s a “close call” and that it will be interesting to see how New Jersey does with compliance and enforcement.

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