Dover AFB authorizes use of face masks

DOVER — Col. Matthew Jones, commander of the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, in line with guidance from the Department of Defense, has authorized the wearing of face masks while in uniform for air base personnel in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Dover AFB edict follows The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance Friday recommending cloth face coverings in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain or transmission is perceptibly higher such as grocery stores, post offices and entry points.

“These are extraordinary times,” Co. Jones said, “but what I know most is that you will again rise to the occasion, not as individuals, but as members of our wonderful Team Dover community.”

Barbara M. Barrett, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, posted a video for airmen across the country to view.

“Today our nation faces an unprecedented threat,” Secretary Barrett said. “COVID-19 presents a challenge we have not faced before. We will get through this together. Thank you for everything you do to make this the world’s greatest air force.”

While a more specific way to wear face masks is currently under development for airmen, Dover AFB personnel were issued the following guidance from the Department of Defense and Col. Jones.

• Masks should be self-procured and remain conservative in nature while in uniform. Face covers in uniform are expected to adhere to neatness, cleanliness, safety, uniformity and military image standards. Commanders are empowered to use good judgement for these standards.

• Individuals are encouraged to research proper cleaning and fitting techniques for reusable cloth masks.

• Do not use surgical or N-95 respirators unless performing duties as a health care professional.

• Masks do not replace the federal, state and county guidelines to practice physical distancing and shelter-at-home directions to minimize exposure. Limit movement to essential travel only.

Dover AFB access changes

In addition to the mask guidance, Col. Jones directed new base access procedures.

Effective Wednesday, retired military members, their dependents and approved Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) holders will only be allowed access to the installation on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when they will have exclusive access to the commissary and pharmacy (once reopened).

On those days, retirees, their dependents and VHIC holders will also have shared access to other base facilities, including but not limited to the Base Exchange, shoppette and base post office. This policy does not apply to the housing side of base.

Active-duty members and their dependents will only have access to the commissary on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and access to the pharmacy on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. This group will have access to other base facilities throughout the week.

Dover AFB remains in Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Charlie. Members and families are encouraged to practice prevention measures already in place, including following strict personal hygiene, social distancing, staying home except for essential errands or work and contacting their healthcare provider if they develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

For the latest base-specific information, visit www.facebook.com/DoverAirForceBase or www.dover.af.mil/coronavirus. State-specific information can be found at https://de.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with additional questions can email 436AW.PA@us.af.mil.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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