The city of Lewes is expanding its face mask rules to cover a patchwork of the town.
Lewes City Council was cautious to prevent what happened to Rehoboth Beach over 4th of July weekend. In its meeting Monday, council members decided to expand mask requirements to cover additional locations.
The move is a response to complaints from the public that people are not wearing masks when parking in the beach parking lots, using the public restrooms or walking in high traffic areas.
Face masks were previously required in the downtown district. Now people must also wear masks at the Beach 1 and 2 inlets, the Canal Bridge and the Roosevelt Inlet.
But Deputy Mayor Fred Beaufait has doubts about the new regulations, calling them confusing.
“It just bothers me that we’re saying this spot and this spot and this spot but you have a number of people walking down 4th street for example. You have a number of people walking up and down Ocean View," he said. "I don’t understand why we would just pick spots rather than us saying okay, we want you to wear a mask if you’re out in the public or in public places.”
Beaufait said it would make more sense to create a mask regulation that covered the entire city, saying it would be less confusing for residents to figure out where they needed to wear their masks.
The other council members disagreed, saying Gov. Carney’s order already requires masks in places where people can’t stay 6 feet apart.
Councilman Rob Morgan brought up some residents concerns that the exemption to wear a mask for medical reasons has become politicized.
“It’s been pointed out in the comments that if you’ve got a health problem wearing a mask, you really shouldn't be inflicting your problem on other people in the downtown area.”
The council agreed it should modify the medical exemption to align with the governors, which requires those seeking the exemption to provide a doctor's note.
The new regulations went into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.