Face Coverings Required Regardless of Ability to Socially Distance

7 Dec 2020 | Communication Strategy & Operations Marine Corps Air Station New River

Effective Monday, Dec. 7, the Commanding Officer of MCAS New River hereby reemphasizes SEFDEF guidance and further requires all personnel to wear a mask inside installation facilities regardless of whether six feet of social distancing can be maintained.

On April 5, 2020, the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) issued DoD Guidance on the use of cloth face coverings which states in part, “all individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers (this does not include in a service member's or service family member's personal residence on a military installation).”  Since SECDEF published this memorandum, COVID-19 cases have spiked once in North Carolina and are in the midst of spiking a second time. In an effort to avoid the operational impacts of a second spike on MCAS New River, and the possibility of entering HPCON CHARLIE, masks are now required at all times. This new requirement applies to all military personnel, DoD civilians and contractors, family members and all other individuals on the installation. The only exception to this requirement is for those with medical conditions which prevent wearing a mask, children under two years of age and those who work in an office alone.

In addition to this requirement, I am also directing MCCS Lejeune-New River to have everyone sign-in to the gym and HITT Center on the air station to better assist our contact tracing efforts.

Individuals that develop COVID-19 symptoms should immediately self-isolate, avoid contact with others, and seek advice from medical to determine if further medical evaluation and COVID-19 testing is required. Per U.S. NAVY COVID-19 SOP version 3.0, individual accountability both on and off duty, and disciplined compliance with effective health protection measures such as cloth face covering use, social distancing, self-monitoring for illness, and aggressive space cleaning are the greatest influencers to preventing COVID-19 outbreaks.

If we want to avoid another wave of lockdowns and a potential return to HPCON CHARLIE, we cannot accept business as usual. We cannot get tired and it will take intrusive leadership at all levels. This requires brilliance in the basics: “masks, social distancing, hand washing” and the discipline to adhere to these simple protocols that have saved lives. Take care of yourselves and hold each other accountable.