Face Coverings: What You Need to Know
Please note: Information related to COVID-19 changes quickly. These items were up-to-date when posted. The guidelines requiring face coverings in public are set by the State of Delaware. To learn more about Delaware's rules related to COVID-19, go to https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/
The main reason for wearing a mask or face covering is to reduce the spread of COVID-19. By wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, infectious particles in the air are prevented from entering your body. In addition, if you are a carrier of COVID-19, which you may not know if you are showing no symptoms, you are protecting those around you from becoming infected.
Every time we cough, speak, sneeze, or even sing, we are releasing particles from our bodies into the air. Some of these particles can hang in the air for minutes, which means, even after you have sneezed and walked away, someone else can walk through these particles. If you have COVID-19, then the person walking through the particles could become infected. Masks reduce this likelihood.
If you may have had contact with someone with COVID-19 or if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or sore throat, call your primary care physician to schedule testing. If you do not have a provider, call Beebe's Coronavirus Screening Line: 302-645-3200.
Masks protect you, me, and the community.
Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for washing hands, physical distancing while performing essential activities, and staying home, but they may be helpful when combined with these actions.
In Delaware, and most surrounding states, you are required to wear a face covering in public settings, including in grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and on public transportation. Beebe Healthcare also requires everyone in any of our care locations to wear a mask or face covering.
Wearing a cloth face covering does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others. If you are sick, you should wear a cloth face covering, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people — even while at home.
Here are some examples of when to wear your face covering and practice hand hygiene:
- Patrons should be wearing a face covering at all times except if they are seated at their table. That means trips to the bathroom and entering and exiting the building.
- If you are from different households, you may sit at a table together as long as you are socially distanced. Guests must all have seats, be seated, and remain seated unless going to the restroom, when they will put on their mask prior to leaving the table. Orders should be placed from a table and received at a table unless an alternative exists that ensures guests who are not of the same household are socially distanced at all times while placing and receiving an order.
- Remember to wash your hands or sanitize before and after eating.
- Businesses are required to have hand sanitizer or handwashing stations available for you.
- Restaurant owners and operators should sanitize regularly touched surfaces often – at least every 30 minutes. This includes door handles, chairs, and surfaces.
When you go to the grocery store, practice social distancing, use a wipe for your cart, and wash or sanitize your hands as soon as you get back to your car or when you arrive home. If you wait until you get home to clean your hands, be sure to also wipe down your steering wheel, car door handles, house door knobs and any surfaces you might touch while bringing your items into the house.
- Wear your mask the entire time while in the store.
- Be aware of directional signs. Some stores require patrons to only go down aisles in one direction. Pay attention to visual cues for social distancing while in line.
- Use plastic bags instead of reusable bags. If you use reusable bags, wash them after each use.
- Use credit cards instead of cash.
- Shop alone if possible. Avoid high traffic times of day if possible.
- Focus on choosing healthy food. By improving your own health, you have a better chance of not getting seriously sick if infected with COVID-19.
- Don’t forget your cell phone – disinfect it regularly.
- Different face covering rules apply for different situations, so this makes it critical to always have your face covering with you if you go somewhere unplanned or in case a rule has changed.
- Currently, face coverings are required in all outdoor spaces, including downtown in Lewes, Rehoboth, and Dewey. In Rehoboth, face coverings are also required on the beach, a rule which was imposed by local officials. When in the water, you do not need to wear your face covering.
- It’s important to follow the news and trusted sources to have the most up-to-date guidance. Valid sources include local newspapers and TV stations.
- When at a state park, social distancing is still crucial even though you are outside. Face coverings are the smart choice, too, and are required. This is especially important to protect you and your family if you are with a small group of non-household members.
- Use sanitizer before and after pumping gas.
- Use a credit card if possible.
- Remember to wipe down your door handle and steering wheel. This is a good practice to do each day.
- This includes your keys! Items like car keys and cell phones, that stay with us all day, should be one of those items you wipe clean and sanitize frequently.
- If you have to go inside to pay, remember this is like entering a grocery store, so wear your face covering, which is required, and social distance once inside.
- Depending on your workplace, you might have significant things to consider.
- Discourage the use of shared phones, desks, workstations, radios, and wearable technology. If these are unavoidable, they must be cleaned after each use.
- Avoid common areas such as break rooms.
- If you eat in a public setting, be sure to place your mask on a napkin instead of directly on a table. You can also place your mask in a pocket or handbag for safe keeping. Remember, when you get up from the table, put your mask back on immediately.
- Wipe down access cards or badges.
- Clean your computer keyboard and desk space frequently with sanitizing wipes.
- Remember to wear your mask!
- If someone is sick in your household, have them isolate to one room, and ideally have them use a separate bathroom.
- Clean frequently used surfaces regularly.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water many times a day.
- Cover your cough with a tissue or your elbow.
- Do not touch your face.
- Wipe down frequently used objects like your phone with an alcohol-based wipe.