Fully vaccinated people in Delaware no longer have to wear masks in most places, starting May 21, Gov. John Carney said Friday, allowing the state to fall in line with new national guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the CDC eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
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"Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection against this virus and can feel comfortable getting back to the things they loved to do before this pandemic," Carney said. "For our neighbors who aren’t vaccinated, the message is clear. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection we have against the virus. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you and those you love. In the meantime, Delawareans who are unvaccinated, including children, should continue to wear masks in public places."
His announcement came one day after Pennsylvania's Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam announced the CDC’s guidelines will go into effect immediately for the Keystone State.
As of Thursday, May 13, Delaware providers had administered 830,781 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 56 percent of Delawareans 16 and older have received at least one shot.
Health officials in Philadelphia, which sets its own COVID guidelines in addition to the state, have not yet revealed whether the city will follow the CDC’s new guidance on mask wearing.
New Jersey also has not yet made a decision regarding the new CDC guidance.