No immediate plans to bring back mask mandate, Carney says

Charlie MegginsonHeadlines, Health

John Carney wearing a suit and tie

Gov. John Carney said booster shots will be essential to lessening the impact of a COVID winter surge.

Gov. John Carney has no immediate plans to reinstitute mask or social distancing mandates. 

Instead, the state will continue to rely on voluntary compliance, he said during a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. 

“I think the objective obviously is to get people to wear masks, to be socially distanced,” Carney said. “We currently don’t have a state of emergency to that effect — that doesn’t mean we couldn’t put one in place, obviously. But our objective really is to have voluntary compliance there. We have a lot of businesses that have put in place mandates in their business establishments and we support that.”

He said that all Delawareans — even those who are fully vaccinated — should wear masks indoors to combat the winter surge the state is facing. 

While the omicron variant has quickly become the dominant strain of coronavirus in the United States, the majority of the state’s cases remain delta variant cases.

“Probably the most important thing after getting vaccinated yourself is to wear a mask in when you’re indoors and in close quarters with others,” Carney said. “Be cognizant of the fact that we have this surge going on and be careful about places that you go.”

He emphasized low-vaccination rates in the 18-30 age group and said, in addition to getting those numbers up, booster shots will be essential to fighting the winter surge. 

“There’s a way that you can say ‘thank you’ to the nurses and first responders and frontline health care workers that we’ve relied on so much over the last two years to protect all of us, to provide needed health care for those that are sick, and they’re pretty simple,” Carney said.

“Get vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated, get boosted. Those younger age groups are now eligible. Wear a mask even when you’re vaccinated. We have experienced some of those breakthrough cases. They tend to be milder and so you may or may not know that you’re COVID positive and spreading it to others because you’ve been vaccinated, and make sure you socially distance.” 

Taking these precautionary measures, Carney said, is “really a matter of respect for folks around us and our love and care for our family members and friends.”

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