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CLIENT ALERT: Beginning Friday, Delaware Employers Must Supply Face Coverings to Employees

April 29, 2020

Governor Carney’s most recent modification to the Delaware state of emergency declaration requires that, no later than May 1, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., all Delaware businesses provide employees with face coverings for use “in areas open to the general public and areas in which coming within 6 feet of other staff are likely.” This requirement aligns with the Governor’s directive that, effective April 28, all Delaware residents wear face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and any outdoor public spaces if maintaining social distancing is not practical.

We recommend that Delaware employers with employees on site reinforce social distancing guidelines and require the wearing of face coverings in elevators, hallways, copy / supply rooms, kitchens, breakrooms, restrooms, and any other work areas where employees are likely to come within six feet of other employees.

The face coverings contemplated by the Order are not medical-grade masks. Rather, the Order requires a “soft cloth or fabric covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth,” such as a bandana or scarf. The Order discourages members of the public from purchasing medical-grade masks to ensure those supplies are available to health care providers.

Businesses also must post reminders of the face-covering requirement to customers, and businesses are permitted to deny entry to any customer or individual who refuses to comply. Businesses that provide medication, medical supplies, or food must provide an alternate method for such customers to pick up the goods (such as by delivering purchases to the parking lot). Customers also should be permitted to enter without a face covering if the customer states that they have a medical condition that inhibits such usage.

One other noteworthy aspect of the Governor’s Order is that it requires employers to provide hand sanitizer for employees. A complete copy of the Order is available here.