The Pentagon is again increasing its COVID-19-related restrictions amid a jump in positive cases in the region and more positive test results inside the building itself.
Beginning Nov. 26, the Pentagon will limit the number of workers inside the building and mandate face coverings if social distancing is not possible, as part of a shift to Health Protection Condition Bravo-Plus, Defense Department Chief Management Officer Lisa W. Hershman announced.
“The Acting Secretary of Defense’s No. 1 priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is protecting our workforce,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The decision to move to HPCON Bravo-Plus took into account health data provided by state, district, and local governments in the National Capital Region, as well as nearby military installations, and is based on a steady increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test results on the Pentagon Reservation since the end of August 2020, as well as an increase in cases in the National Capital Region since the middle of September 2020.”
The specific changes are:
- A goal of no more than 40 percent of the workforce in workspaces, with the other 60 percent teleworking.
- Continue maximizing telework for all employees toward the 60 percent goal, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations who should stay home until the health protection condition improves.
- Cloth face coverings mandatory when six-foot social distancing is not possible.
- Random entrance screening of 5- to 15-percent of workers, with all visitors screened.
- All gatherings limited to fewer than 25 people.
- Reduced numbers of people allowed in the Pentagon Athletic Club, with face coverings required in all areas except cardio, swimming, and showers.
- Increased parking available to reduce the use of mass transit.
- Food court options are take-out only.
“We are continually emphasizing to our people the need to take actions to protect themselves and those around them by employing protective measures, including practicing good hand washing, social distancing, wearing cloth face coverings, and taking appropriate actions if feeling sick now,” according to the statement. “These can dramatically decrease the risk of infection and slow COVID-19’s spread.”