PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As we head into the holiday weekend, Delaware announced drastic new measures to protect people who visit their beach towns as an increase in COVID-19 cases are popping up in some communities. Rehoboth Beach is one of the communities that has seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
The beach town is mandating masks be worn almost everywhere starting Wednesday. The mandate goes into effect at 5 p.m. this evening and everyone over the age of 12 must wear a face mask in public.
Not only does that include in all commercial buildings, but also on sidewalks, the boardwalk, the beach, and on a bicycle.
But masks are not required for people who are actively in the ocean.
That decision was made after the Delaware beach town saw a rise in COVID-19 cases and after Gov. John Carney ordered the closure of beach bars in eastern Sussex County to limit the spread of the virus in beach communities.
“Too many people have sacrificed too much for us to see another really dramatic uptick,” Carney said.
Gov. Carney says too many people haven’t been following the health and safety guidelines and he says the recent spike in COVID-19 cases is being led by younger people.
“From 18 to about 30 is where most of these new positive cases are occurring and they are occurring at zip codes in the beach area,” Carney said.
Carney has also indefinitely delayed Delaware from entering phase three of its reopening plan.
Meantime in Philadelphia, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley is asking city residents to be mindful if going down the shore for the 4th of July holiday weekend. This includes both New Jersey and Delaware beaches.
He says the uptick in COVID-19 cases is not necessarily coming from beachgoers, but from those who are not following social distancing guidelines while in public, for example at bars and restaurants.