The third of three phases of pandemic related precautionary measures for Fort Rucker personnel was announced Friday, Jan. 15.
In a virtual news conference held in the Army Aviation Museum on post Maj. Gen. David Francis and Sgt. Maj. James Wilson announced the start of Phase 3 of holiday block leave and introduced General Order No. 9.
Francis is the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker Commanding General. Wilson is the command sergeant major of the Aviation Branch.
In a series of General Orders tailored to the ever changing COVID pandemic statistics, Francis has outlined precautionary preventive policies for soldiers regarding on- and off-post activities since the United States President declared a national state of emergency March 13, 2020.
Francis said Jan. 15 that Fort Rucker is now at Health Protection Condition Bravo which means that the Parker Elementary School on post will reopen for in classroom instruction.
In addition, the radius from Fort Rucker that personnel are authorized to travel has been expanded to 250 miles, without requiring an exception to policy.
Francis said that physical training for military personnel in small, socially distanced groups will resume and that out of area visitors will now be allowed.
“Personnel are authorized to dine indoor or outdoor at on- and off-post restaurants that enforce social distancing between tables and where employees and customers wear face coverings except when eating or drinking, according to General Order No. 9. “You’re going to be able to go to gyms, nail salons, bowling alleys and theaters, as well,” Francis said.
Still prohibited are on- or off-post bars, nightclubs, dance clubs, spas, massage parlors and tattoo parlors, according to General Order No. 9. “These restrictions apply to all, including personnel that received a COVID vaccine.”
While family members, Department of the Army civilians and contractors are “requested and strongly encouraged” to abide by the restrictions on military personnel, “failure to abide by this request may result in denial of access to the installation.”
Fort Rucker’s face mask policy requiring people to wear face coverings at all off- and on-post nonresidential facilities, regardless of social distancing remain in place, Wilson said. “Remember that COVID-19 mitigation measures are still in effect.
“I just want to remind everyone that COVID-19 is still a real threat, especially to our high risk population,” Wilson added. “Remain disciplined, remain dedicated so that we can continue to train.”
Daily status updates on operations and services on Fort Rucker are available on the post’s website and social media page. The newest updates are highlighted in red.
“You went on leave, you went to all points across the continental United States and some of you overseas, you did the right things,” Francis said. “We came back. We got a handle on the COVID situation, we’re right back to training and this is exactly how we wanted it to work out and it’s because of the discipline that you’ve executed.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Francis said adding that the military installation post “received and executed” a first tranche of the Moderna vaccine. “We are now ready to move forward, training and producing the best Army aviators in the world.”