Armed Forces News

Army Spc. Montana Naccarato of Mount Gretna, Pa., assigned to the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment, checks a motorist’s identification at a drive-through COVID-19 sampling site outside the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., April 6, 2020. (US Army photo)

All uniformed personnel and civilians who work on military installations are now required to wear cloth face coverings while in spaces where they cannot maintain six feet of social distance.

Family members and contractors are also required to cover their faces. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper issued the directive April 5, following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Local commanders and supervisors have the authority to grant exceptions, which are then “submitted up the chain of command for situational awareness,” Esper wrote.

While the military community awaits specific health-protection guidance from the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the individual services will determine what type of coverings are suitable.

“As an interim measure, all individuals are encouraged to fashion face coverings from household materials, such as clean t-shirts or other clean cloths that can cover the nose and mouth area,” Esper stated.

There will be no plan to issue supplies like the N95 respirators or surgical masks to the general populace, Esper said, because these items are in short supply and are direly needed by medical personnel and others.

People wearing facemasks may be asked to lower them when crossing security checkpoints, so that guards can verify identification.

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