Jun 09, 2020
In the 17th modification of his COVID-19 State of Emergency Declaration, Governor Carney opened Delaware beaches and boardwalks on May 22nd, 2020 with the regulation that face coverings are required on boardwalks. Since that time the Rehoboth Beach Police Department has made numerous efforts to educate the public and promote compliance with the declaration. Electronic signboards were placed at every entrance to the city and signs, like the one pictured, have been placed at every entrance to the Boardwalk. Additionally, our officers have educated thousands and distributed face masks to over 3,000 individuals on the Boardwalk since May 22nd; however, yesterday our officers were faced with a defiant lack of compliance and subsequently issued the first civil citation associated with this regulation. Unfortunately, for those involved, this incident was widely circulated on social media resulting in multiple inquiries to the police department.
At around 12:30 PM a seasonal cadet standing at the Delaware Avenue entrance to the Boardwalk, near Funland, observed a 56-year-old Lancaster, Pennsylvania man approaching the Boardwalk without a face covering. The cadet informed the man that he was required to wear a face-covering on the Boardwalk. The man replied telling the cadet that he would have to follow him and make him. The officer attempted to stop the man and he refused walking away onto the beach. The officer remained on the Boardwalk for a brief period addressing other individuals who were now upset and yelling at the man about his failure to comply with the mask regulation.
A full-time officer arrived and accompanied the cadet onto the beach where they located the Lancaster man. The officers attempted to obtain the man’s identification and he advised he did not have it with him. Officers asked the man for his name and information and he gave them a false name and state of residency. The man then refused to provide any further information and after numerous warnings were subsequently taken into custody and detained. After multiple requests and various efforts encompassing an over an hour, the man agreed to provide his information, was issued a civil citation, provided a mask, and released.
The Rehoboth Beach Police would like to thank those individuals who made the effort to seek clarity, as well as, the officers involved who showed tremendous patience in the face of defiance.
Photograph of the “FACE MASK REQUIRED” sign posted on the Boardwalk at Delaware Avenue, the location of the incident.