Governor John Carney announced Delaware’s universal indoor mask mandate will end on Feb. 11 at 8 A.M.
Carney signed a revision to the state of emergency order on Feb. 7.
He also extended the mask mandates for schools, which will now expire on March 31 at 11:59 P.M. The mandate impacts students from kindergarten through high school in both public and private schools. Masks will also still be required in cold care facilities.
Carney’s office said this change will give parents time to get their children vaccinated and let districts develop their COVID-19 policies.
“The best way to keep your child in school learning, and to prevent them from getting sick, is to get them vaccinated,” Carney said.
“Delaware continues to have one of the lowest pediatric vaccination rates in the Northeast, specifically among younger children,” reports The Delaware News Journal.
The state’s indoor mask mandate went into effect on Jan. 11. Masks were required in grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, bars, hair salons, malls, and casinos. Churches and other places of worship were exempt from the mandate.
At the time, Carney called the state’s COVID-19 infection rate “a crisis-level situation.”
Delaware’s policy change came just before an announcement that New Jersey’s school mask mandate will end on March 7.
“Balancing public health with getting back to some semblance of normalcy is not easy,” said Governor Phil Murphy in a tweet. “But we can responsibly take this step due to declining COVID numbers and growth in vaccinations.”
Under the change, individual school districts in New Jersey will be permitted to set their own mask requirements.
In addition to vaccinating their children, Carney urged Delaware residents to get booster shots.
“We’re in a much better place than we were several weeks ago in the middle of the Omicron surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” Carney said during his announcement.
“I want to be clear about this point: COVID is still circulating in our communities,” the Democrat said on Twitter. “The virus still poses a risk of serious illness, particularly among those who are not up to date on their vaccinations.”