Officials say they will move into 'Health Protection Condition Bravo' and will no longer require military members, civilians, contractors or visitors to wear masks indoors at the Pentagon complex in Arlington County.
FILE - Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Mask-wearing guidelines across the U.S. have been significantly loosened recently as COVID-19 cases drop.
Many school districts in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have made mask wearing optional.
The U.S. Department of Defense released the following statement:
The Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo effective immediately due to a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region over the past two weeks. Both Armed Forces Retirement Home campuses, in Washington, D.C., and Gulfport, Mississippi, will transition HPCON Bravo Plus.
Additionally, in accordance with new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the current CDC COVID-19 community levels for Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, Virginia, designated as "low," masks are not required indoors in the Pentagon Reservation for fully vaccinated or unvaccinated military, civilian employees, on-site contractors, or visitors.
Pentagon Reservation facilities not in Arlington County or the City of Alexandria, Virginia, will follow the CDC COVID-I9 community levels for the particular county where the DoD facility is located. Individuals may wear a mask in they choose regardless of COVID-19 community level. All personnel, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors if the COVID-19 community level rises to "high."
The Secretary of Defense's number one priority during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be protecting our workforce while performing our national security mission. Supervisors will continue to provide maximum telework opportunities and flexible scheduling to optimize the workforce while defending our nation, taking care of our people, and ensuring success through teamwork.
When local communities that are home to Pentagon Reservation facilities are at either "medium" or "high" COVID-I9 community level, onsite DoD contractor personnel, official visitors, and personnel with Pentagon Facility Alternate Credentials, will complete DD Form 3150, "Contractor and Visitor Certification of Vaccination," maintain a current copy, and show it to authorized DoD personnel upon request. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-l9, or who decline to volunteer their COVID-19 vaccination status, must show an electronic or paper copy of negative results from a U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized or approved COVID-19 test administered no earlier than 72 hours prior to their visit.
With the change to HPCON Bravo, some of the measures that will be in effect include:
- Organizations must maintain occupancy rates at less than 50% of normal occupancy in workspaces, unless exceptions are approved by the Director of Administration & Management;
- Commanders and supervisors will continue to provide maximum telework opportunities to all current telework eligible employees;
- Commanders and supervisors will ensure that applicable force health protection guidance on testing and isolation or quarantine procedures are understood and followed;
- The Pentagon Reservation will remain closed to the public for indoor tours; the 9/11 Memorial will be open;
- Medically vulnerable personnel will continue to be permitted to self-declare their condition and pursue telework, when possible, with supervisors taking precautions to limit their exposure while in the workplace;
- Gatherings on the Pentagon Reservation are limited to fewer than 50 persons, unless exceptions are approved by DA&M;
- The Pentagon Athletic Center will be open to all members by reservation only and will increase its maximum population (users and staff members) to 255 per 2-1/2 hour session. Maximum occupancy at the Mark Center Gym is 21 and 15 at the Taylor/Polk Building Gym per 2-1/2 hour session;
- Pentagon and Mark Center Conference Facilities, as well as other ceremonial areas (Hall of Heroes, corridor apexes) will be open and available for scheduling but are subject to limits on gathering;
- Physical distancing remains at six feet;
- Food court and concession options will be available with options for indoor seating; Military Department Executive Dining Facilities in the Pentagon may open at the discretion of their sponsors;
- Current COVID-19 open parking permits will be extended through April 29, 2022;
COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster shots, remain available through the DiLorenzo Pentagon Health Clinic. Symptomatic testing for those who become ill in the workplace remains available through DiLorenzo Pentagon Health Clinic; employees who feel ill before coming to the workplace should stay home and get tested through their primary care physician or local pharmacy.
DOD remains committed to protecting our people, maintaining mission readiness, and supporting the whole-of-government effort response to COVID-19. We are continually emphasizing to our people the requirement to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and encouraging everyone eligible to get a booster shot and take actions to protect themselves and those around them by employing protective measures, including practicing good hand washing, social distancing, wearing tight-fitting face coverings, and taking appropriate actions if feeling sick now. These can dramatically decrease the risk of infection and slow COVID-19's spread.
You can see the guidance memo from the Director of Administration & Management here.
For more information on the Pentagon Reservation response to COVID-19, visit https://www.whs.mil/Coronavirus/.
We encourage all DOD personnel to visit https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus for information on staying healthy during the pandemic.
CDC COVID-19 community levels are posted here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html.