HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Department of Defense issued new travel restrictions Wednesday in response to COVID-19, a measure that will impact Hill Air Force Base.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced travel restrictions for 60 days for all service members, DoD civilians and families traveling to, from, or through Level 3 locations, as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC’s website, Level 3 countries have widespread, ongoing transmission of the novel coronavirus and include China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.
According to a DoD press release, the restrictions are effective March 13.
According to the release, the restriction includes all forms of travel, including Permanent Change of Station, Temporary Duty assignments and any government funded leave. The DoD says the Level 3 countries could change but will issue guidance that follows those changes.
Commanders can issue waivers to the policy as they determine necessary, the DoD says, to ensure mission readiness and address specific cases.
Also for the next 60 days, concurrent official travel to Level 2 locations — places with sustained, ongoing spread of the virus — will not be allowed for families of service members and civilian personnel.
During the restriction period, the DoD will implement enhanced health care protocols for traveler safety and will transition to the use of military or contracted aircraft for required travel to Level 2 or 3 locations. The department will require a screening and 14-day self-monitoring at home upon return for all DoD personnel who have traveled from, to, or through Level 2 or 3 countries.
The policy will be reviewed before the end of the 60-day period to determine whether it will be modified or extended, according to the release.
Micah Garbarino, spokesman for Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing, said base brass has already begun implementing the DoD guidance.
Hill’s 34th Fighter Squadron is currently deployed to the Air Force Central Command region, which covers the area from the Horn of Africa through the Persian Gulf region, into Central Asia, but Garbarino has said, it’s Air Force policy not to discuss exact deployment locations.